Skip to main content

Step Up to Drinking Spanish Brandy

step up to drinking spanish brandy lepanto gran reserva
Image used with permission by copyright holder
There’s a fairly regular evolution in a young drinker’s tastes. You start off on beer and then make your way to cheap wine—this typically occurs before heading off to college. After that, it’s usually vodka (read: freshman year and lots of mixer and chaser experiments) followed by gin and then tequila (though, these two can be reversed and are usually involved in your first forays into bars). Next up tends to be a long whiskey/bourbon phase (senior year of college through year 25 or 26). The bourbon phase segues into the late-20s habits: more expensive wine drinking, more adventurous cocktail drinking, and, of course, an appreciation of scotch. After completion of each of these phases, that leaves one in the 30-35 year old age range.

Brandy doesn’t normally fit into that evolution unless you are a truly enlightened individual. Regular brandy drinking doesn’t fit into your life until you really know something about liquor—how to drink it properly, when to drink it, and what you are looking for while you drink it.

Within the brandy liquor family, there are several different varieties. Perhaps one of the best known is cognac, which comes from the Cognac region of France and made from double distilling wine. Armagnac also comes from France (the Armagnac region in the southwest of France) and was the first distilled spirit in the country. Recently, pisco, which is made in Peru and Chile, has become very popular to use in cocktails. As opposed to traditional brandies, it is clear and not amber colored.

There is also Brandy de Jerez, which is a Spanish Brandy from the city of Jerez. The Moors initially discovered Brandy de Jerez while they were distilling wine (which they could not drink for religious reasons). Over the years, the production was streamlined and consolidated until it became a commercially successful business. Brandy de Jerez is also used in sherry (which is what “jerez” translates to in English).

RELATED: Special Release Scotches From Deanston and Bunnahabain

Gonzalez Bypass, founded in 1835, is perhaps the best-known sherry and brandy distiller in Spain. Brandy de Jerez comes in three classifications: Brandy de Jerez Solera (aged for a year), Brandy de Jerez Solera Reserva (aged an average of three years) and Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva (aged an average of ten years).

Gonzalez Bypass’ Soberano is a Brandy de Jerez Solera. There is a young, lively quality to its flavor. The richer notes of caramel, smokiness and an underlying sweetness are suggested, but don’t come fully to the front. Brandy is traditionally a dessert drink and this would make an excellent complement to a richer chocolate dish as well as a cappuccino, latte or café con leche.

Meanwhile, the Lepanto is a Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva. This is a full-bodied, extremely flavorful liquor. There are long, sweet notes with each sip that range from caramel to vanilla to dark cherry. There is dull alcoholic buzz to each sip that tickles and fades on the back of the tongue. It is a highly enjoyable drinking experience that should come with a piece of apple pie and very good vanilla ice cream.

This is probably more than you’ve read about brandy in your entire life. But perhaps that’s only because you haven’t reached the brandy stage in your alcohol evolution. Maybe now you’re ready.

Editors' Recommendations

Matt Domino
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Domino is a writer living in Brooklyn. His fiction has appeared in Slice and The Montreal Review, while his non-fiction…
Drink up at the very best bars in all of America
Where does one go in America for the very best bar experience? These 24 joints, turns out
best bars platform 18 centrury grand phoenix

Sometimes, the job of a drinks writer is harder than others. Selecting the best bars in America, for example, is no small task. There are so, so many choices and so many of them have a lot of positives going for them.

But the very best of the bunch are great because they provide a little bit of everything. The space is inviting, the cocktails are incredible, the wine and beer selection is often off the charts, and, quite simply, you never want to leave. Out list is a nice collection of all kinds of watering holes, from newly-devised spots with clever approaches to longstanding joints with a proven reputation.

Read more
Move over, Mary: Bloody Maria is the best hangover drink there is
Ease that hangover and upgrade your cocktail game at the same time with the help of your new friend, Maria
bloody maria hangover drink recipe mexican small 2

It's a brand new year, and while that comes with a glittering heap of possibility and optimism, for some of us, it can also ring in a slightly shaky, headachy morning. If what you really need to get your year started right is a little hair of the dog, we feel you. We've been there. And we've got you covered.

Sure, a Bloody Mary is the typical choice in this crisis — it's flavorful, passable as a breakfast (or at least brunch) beverage, and does the job just fine. But if you stop to consider the spicy, savory, warm flavor profile of the drink's ingredients, cool and calm vodka doesn't really make a lot of sense. Vodka certainly has its place, but not in this cocktail. Tequila is a much better fit in the peppery, sweet heat of this tomato juice drink.

Read more
This is What Distillers are Drinking Right Now
Melissa Heim profile.

As drink enthusiasts, we love to know what the pros are stocking their fridges with or ordering while at the bar. So far, we've picked the brains of brewers as well as sommeliers. Only seems logical that we would reach out to a few distillers, while we're at it.

What we discovered is that some of the top distillers out there are a lot like us: They like to collect spirits, enjoy sparkling wine, and have a nice cold beer or cup of tea when the time is right. Because these individuals are embedded in the industry, they tend to spot trends before the rest of us getting a picture of what they're enjoying in the glass can inform our next trip to our favorite bottle shop or watering hole.

Read more