Beside wine and beer, what other alcohol is South Africa famous for? If you’re a brandy lover, you’ll know the answer – it’s South African Brandy! So, let’s take a closer look at South Africa’s liquid gold currency.
What is brandy?
Let’s start at the beginning. Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine and it is usually enjoyed after dinner as a digestif. Different varieties of brandy can be found across the world’s famous wine regions. As South Africa is world-renowned for their wine, it is not surprising that our brandies are also internationally acclaimed.
Like red wine, the more aged the brandy the more it matures. If a brandy is VS (Very Special) it has three stars and it has been aged for at least two years. This tends to be the average type of brandy you will find. VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) brandy is aged for at least four years and XO (Extra Old) has been aged for at least six years. Vintage brandy is usually aged for about a decade.
South Africa’s famous spirit
South African brandy has an international reputation and a long history. The first brandy in South Africa was distilled aboard a Dutch Ship in 1672 in the Table Bay harbour. Brandy production is a complex process and South African law prescribes that it only be made from the highest quality wine. Today the South African Brandy Foundation represents more than 95% of South African brandy producers.
South Africa’s Van Ryn’s 12-Year Old Distiller’s Reserve took the Worldwide Brandy Trophy in 2016 for the fifth time at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London. In 2017 South Africa’s KWV 15-Year Old Potstill Brandy took the Worldwide Brandy Trophy Award and in 2018 KWV 10- Year Old Barrel Select Brandy, KWV 12-Year Old Barrel Select Brandy and the KWV 20-Year Old XO Brandy won gold medals at the International Spirits Challenge.
Brandy’s health benefits
Brandy has a long history of being associated with health benefits including soothing coughs and sore throats, boosting the immune system and being used as a sleeping aid. It has even been reported to slow the growth of cancer cells and have anti-ageing properties.
If you are suffering from a cough and an on-going cold, this tried and tested brandy toddy, could help you on the path to recovery:
Hot toddy recipe
60mls of brandy
60mls of honey
1 cinnamon stick
A few pieces of clove
120mls of hot water
An extra 120mls of hot water for warming your mug
Bring 120mls of water to the boil and pour it into your mug to keep it warm
Cut a thick slice of lemon and pierce it with some pieces of clove
Pour the water from your mug and add the brandy
Then add the honey, lemon juice, lemon slice with the cloves and cinnamon stick
Pour 120mls over the mixture
Stir and sip slowly until you feel better
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