Brandy is the alcohol distilled from fermented fruit juices, including wine. Derived from the Dutch word brandewijn, meaning “burnt wine,” brandy may be distilled from any fruit. The results are the myriad bases for countless varieties. Measuring in at around 80 proof, grape-derived brandies include cognac, Armagnac, grappa, and Jerez. Other fruit brandies derive their flavors from the fruit from which they are made, including apple, cherry, peach, and so on. Unlike other cocktails that require the best of spirits, you should never waste a fine cognac in a brandy drink —drink it straight.

from Quirk Books: