Chapter 6

BRANDY AND EAU DE VIE

THE word brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn (burnt wine), which is how the straightforward Dutch traders who introduced it to northern Europe in the sixteenth century described wine that had been “burnt” or boiled to distill it.

The origins of brandy can be traced back to the growing Muslim Mediterranean states in the seventh and eighth centuries. Alchemists in the region experimented with distilling grapes and other fruits to make medicinal spirits. Their knowledge and techniques soon spread beyond the borders of the territory, with grape brandy production appearing in Spain and probably Ireland (via missionary monks) by the end of the eighth century.

The French-style Charentais still at McMenamins ...

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