They say a little of what you fancy does you good, and if you find yourself fancying an occasional nip of brandy, you may be surprised to learn that this well-loved drink can actually health benefits of brandy. Long renowned as a home remedy for the common cold, brandy is also believed to have a good effect on other health conditions—provided it’s taken in moderation.
What is brandy?
Brandy is a spirit distilled from wine (or sometimes from a fruit ‘mash’) to create a warming drink. After initial distillation, the liquid is aged in wooden casks, which gives most brandy its distinctive amber color. Originally created in the 16th century, its name is derived from the Dutch for ‘burnt wine’—probably a reference to the distillation process. Most brandy contains 50% alcohol by volume.
Brandy is made in several areas around the world. French brandy is probably the most famous (going under the name of ‘cognac’), but there are many other versions, such as Greek Metaxa, or the clear spirit known as ‘grappa’. There are also numerous fruit-based brandies, such as apple brandy (made from cider), apricot, cherry, and the well-known Balkan plum brandy Slivovic. Some fruit brandies have a sweeter flavor, but others are very potent.
Taking brandy to aid a cold or flu
A warming brandy can bring much-needed relief when you’re struggling with the symptoms of a cold or flu. Its antibacterial properties help to fight throat inflammation and other areas of infection. A delicious hot toddy is one of the most popular ways to take brandy for a cold, combining it with honey and lemon (both of which are also known for their healing properties). Meanwhile, brandy and ginger wine make a great combination that harnesses the health benefits of brandy of both ingredients, and a few sips of neat brandy can soothe a sore throat.
Brandy to help prevent cardiovascular problems
Brandy slows down the action of platelets in our blood, keeping our cardiovascular system functioning efficiently. In 2007, Thrombosis Research reported the results of a scientific study that showed that Armagnac (a French brandy aged in oak casks) had a beneficial effect on human platelets.
Brandy can boost our immune system
Brandy contains antioxidants, which play an important role in controlling free radicals in our immune system. It’s believed that this benefit may come from the copper used in the distillation process. 30 MLS of brandy contains antioxidants equivalent to your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, with better quality brandies having the highest levels.
Brandy may play a role in fighting some cancers
Some scientists are currently investigating whether the phytonutrients in brandy could play a role in fighting certain cancers, such as bladder and ovarian cancer. Although research into this is at a very early stage, the results look promising.
Delicious ways to enjoy brandy
Many connoisseurs believe the only way to enjoy brandy is to drink it neat, in order to get the full benefit of its distinctive taste. However, many others enjoy the benefits of brandy flavor but find the spirit rather strong when drunk alone, so they may prefer the benefits of brandy when combined with other drinks. Brandy and soda is a classic after-dinner drink that’s said to aid digestion, but you can use other mixers such as dry ginger or tonic water.
Brandy-based cocktails are also a firm favorite. The Metropolitan combines brandy with vermouth and sugar syrup, the Brandy Alexander includes fresh cream and crème de cacao, and the classic Champagne Cocktail not only tastes delicious but features a stream of bubbles rising from a sugar cube at the base. So-called French coffee features a mouth-watering black coffee with brandy, plus a layer of heavy cream floating on the top—the perfect beverage after a meal.
Brandy is also an important ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes. Steak au poivre with a brandy and cream sauce is a staple in many homes, as are vegetable dishes such as brandied mushrooms. Sweeter options include brandied fruits (a superb accompaniment to high-quality ice cream), brandy butter to serve with traditional plum pudding, and, of course, the wonderful French classic—crepes Suzette.
Naturally, consuming too much alcohol can have very serious consequences for your health. However, an occasional tot of brandy won’t harm most people, and it tastes delicious too.
Also read:- Does Alcohol Really Affect Women More Than Men?