Brandy, of all alcoholic drinks, seems to be the most refined and noblest. Many people like it, however, not everyone knows how to drink it to feel its quality and aroma. If you do it as a real aristocrat, you can differentiate between various brandies and enjoy the process, you have acquired a very sophisticated art and can be proud of it.
The first most important rule for the beginners is to remember that you should not drink brandy in the same way as juice or beer - you should ENJOY it. Fifty percent of the pleasure it gives you is based on the elements of its aroma. Therefore, try to concentrate on them with your senses of smell and touch.
It is important to know that there are special brandy glasses. A brandy snifter is a short-stemmed glass with a wide-bottomed main that narrows at the top. The narrow opening is specially meant for trapping the aroma of the drink in the glass. The aroma of the best brandies remains in the glass up to eight days after they have been drunk. And the round shape enables to cradle the glass in your hand, thus, warming brandy a little and making its qualities manifest themselves. A brandy snifter can be of different sizes - from 2'' to 12'' - and differently designed. It should be perfectly transparent for you to see that the brandy is of high quality.
Start the rite of drinking brandy with pouring it into a brandy snifter. Fill 1/3 of its volume. Then, holding the glass by its stem, look at the color of the drink. It can speak for its maturity: the greater the maturity is, the darker is the color. Anyway, you will find it so magically beautiful that it will be difficult to take your eyes from it.
To check how transparent the drink is you should be able to see your fingers on the other side of the brandy snifter. After that, turn the glass a little and pay attention to the drops, trickling from the sides of the snifter. The bigger is the drop and the thicker its trace, the more mature the brandy is.
Then, take the glass to your nose and draw a deep breath. The bouquet of brandy can be constituted of various aromas: fruit aromas (cherry, apricot, peach, plum, fig, quince, orange), flower aromas (violet, lime, lavender), spicy aromas (cloves, ginger, vanilla), nut aromas (peanuts, almonds) or wood aromas (oak, pine-tree, cedar). There can also be aromas of fried bread, smoke and coffee.
Put the glass on the table and let it stand for some time. Then try it - make a sip and hold it in your mouth to feel all the shades of its aromas. Concentrate on the taste of the drink, and when you have enjoyed it, take another sip.
Usually, brandy is drunk after meal with nothing except, perhaps, for nuts or a slice of peach. Citrus fruit are not good for brandy, since they prevent from feeling the peculiarities of the bouquet. Another thing that is not recommended is warming the brandy snifter, only with the warmth of your hand. Its constituents can evaporate under high temperature, and what will remain will be far from real brandy.
If you follow all this pieces of advice, you will acquire the taste for drinking brandy properly.