Best Brandy For Sangria (Our 8 Top Picks)


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As the saying goes ‘you only get out what you put in’. If you use a low-quality brandy in your precious sangria, you cannot expect it to miraculously win a gold medal taste award any time soon. We have searched high and low for the best brandy for sangria, and have discovered eight spirits to turn you from zero to hero.

What Is The Best Brandy For Sangria?

The best brandy to use for sangria should be rich, complex, and full-bodied. In particular, brandy or cognac that has smooth caramel notes coupled with ripe fruits and spices brings out the best of the traditional sangria combination of red wine and fruit.

What Actually Is Sangria?

Sangria is a refreshing combination of red wine, brandy, sugar and chopped fruits that is classically Spanish. Served chilled in a large jug with ice, sangria makes a fabulous late-afternoon beverage. There are so many different recipes that no two barmen will make it the same way. The fact it is slightly different every time is why I love it.

Brandy Vs Cognac

Although cognac connoisseurs would argue the differences until the sun goes down, brandy and cognac are essentially the same. Both are made from fermented fruit juice (usually grape), then distilled and aged for a specified period.

As with the sparkling wine vs champagne debate, cognac must be made in the Cognac region of France, while brandy can be made pretty much anywhere, even in my garage. (it’s a charming garage btw). Does this affect your choice of spirit for your beloved sangria? Absolutely not, as both are perfect.

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Best Brandy For Sangria

The best brandy to use for sangria should be smooth with plenty of depth, but not overpowering. Although using Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac is probably overkill, here are eight fantastic spirits capable of elevating your sangria to iconic status.

1. Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva Brandy

Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva Brandy
Credit: Osborne

Overview

  • Distiller: Carlos I
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: Spain
  • Colour: Amber

Review

Carlos I winery was founded in 1772 by Thomas Osborne, whose incredible skill and knowledge of brandy making has been passed down through 5 generations.

The magic is due to the careful selection of both the grapes and casks. Couple this with the traditional alquitara distillation techniques that have been further perfected over the years, and you have something special.

Carlos, I Solera Gran Reserva Brandy is a blend of brandies aged in casks that previously contained sherry. Silver Medal Winner in 2015 at the International Wine & Spirits Competition confirms this is no ordinary brandy.

On the nose: Notes of vanilla, dark chocolate, fruits and a slight nuttiness.

On the palate: Begins with smooth vanilla notes and overripe fruits. The mid-palate is darker and deeper with notes of slightly bitter dark chocolate, oak, and a nutty combo of almonds and walnut. The finish is silky smooth with a touch of ripe fig.

The bottle of Solera Gran Reserva is striking, to say the least. Beautiful lines and quality labelling makes this my favourite bottle in this selection of brandies & cognacs. Would make a fantastic gift on its own.

Summary

Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva is the king of Spanish brandies. Its incredible depth and complexity completely transforms sangria and take it to another level. Highly recommended.

2. Courvoisier VS Cognac Brandy

Courvoisier VS Cognac Brandy
Credit: Courvoisier

Overview

  • Distiller: Courvoisier
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Deep Golden

Review

Courvoisier is a brandy producer that has been around since the French Revolution.

Emmanuel Courvoisier and Louis Gallois (the mayor of Bercy at the time) opened a wine distillery on the outskirts of Paris. Their reputation for producing fine brandy was so great that even Napoleon Bonaparte himself visited their establishment.

Courvoisier VS is a relatively young cognac that consists of grapes grown in the Fins Bois and Petite Champagne regions. A gold medal winner in the 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition further proves the quality of Courvoisier VS Cognac.

On the nose: Notes of sweet fruits and floral.

On the palate: begins bitter-sweet with notes of caramel and a hint of tobacco. The mid-palate is delightfully fruity, nutty and slightly sweeter than the opening. The finish is woody and smooth.

Presented in a stylish squat battle with elongated neck, finished with a striking Courvoisier with VS reminding you that this is no ordinary cognac/brandy.

Summary

The in-depth notes of fresh fruits coupled with rich oaky notes make Courvoisier VS an excellent addition to sangria.

3. Martell VS Single Distillery

Credit: Martell

Overview

  • Distiller: Martell
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Light Amber

Review

Jean Martell left his home of Jersey and travelled to France to immersive himself to mastering the alchemy-like art of fine cognac production. 300 years of Cognac passion and know-how has been meticulously passed down the Martell family tree for generations.

Martell VS Single Distillery combines a blend of Eaux de Vie from just one of its distilleries to produce a more luxurious cognac that is extremely well-rounded.

On the nose: Sweet caramel, citrus, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon with an additional floral aroma

On the palate: Begins with sweet caramel and vanilla but soon transitions to a more citrusy/spicy combination of lemon, nutmeg and cinnamon. The mid-palate becomes slightly drier with bitter-sweet dark chocolate notes. The finish is refreshingly dry.

Presented in a classic style bottle with the Jean Martell family’s bird-shaped coat of arms embossed into the glass. Looks high-class.

Summary

It is the rich fruitiness of Martell cognac coupled with the spices of cinnamon and nutmeg that makes this such a transformative addition to any Sangria. Love the dry ending.

4. Vecchia Romagna Etichetta Brandy

Vecchia Romagna Etichetta Brandy
Credit: Vecchia

Overview

  • Distiller: Vecchia
  • ABV: 38% (76 Proof)
  • Country: Italy
  • Colour: Deep amber

Review

Vecchia Romagna has been making premium Italian brandy since 1820, when Frenchman Jean Bouton opened his distillery in Bologna, Italy. Adopting a more Italian name to keep in with local tradition, the brand has gone from strength-to-strength.

Vecchia Romagna Etichetta is a brandy made from fermented Italian Trebbiano grapes which are then distilled in a traditional copper pot still. The distilled brandy is then aged in small oak casks for 3 years before bottling.

On the nose: Cinnamon, coffee and citrus.

On the palate: Begins strongly yet with a smoothness, notes of cinnamon and coffee are most apparent with a slight hint of citrus. Mid-palate introduces the sweetness of honey combined with mild spices. The finish is dry, and the overall experience is that of a complex brandy.

Presented in an eye-catching oval-shaped bottle with the deep amber hue of the brandy contained inside.

Summary

Vecchia Romagna Etichetta Brandy gives a distinctly warming and aromatic personality to sangria with a dryness that works so well with the traditional sweetness of sangria.

5. Asbach Original 3 Years Old Brandy

Asbach Original 3 Years Old Brandy
Credit: Asbach

Overview

  • Distiller: Asbach
  • ABV: 38% (76 Proof)
  • Country: Germany
  • Colour: Deep Amber

Review

Asbach is a German brandy distiller who has has been producing one of the finest brandies since 1892. Originally founded by Hugo Asbach in the German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, their production process has changed little in the 130 years since.

Asbach Original brandy uses traditional distillation methods with copper-stills and is then aged in oak casks for 3 years before bottling.

On the nose: Spicy with hints of vanilla and fruits.

On the palate: Fairly sweet to begin, although more like the darker sweetness burnt sugar. The mid-palate is most interesting where it becomes spicier, woody, with fruity notes of plum. The finish is drier than the opening with notes of almond. A well rounded and complex brandy.

Presented in a very German looking bottle with lions logo and decorative lines running up the centre of the bottle. Looks very different to most other bottles and stand will undoubtedly stand out in your drink collection.

Summary

Asbach Original 3 Years Old Brandy is complex and oh-so-smooth. The combination of vanilla and deep fruits really adds something special to sangria.

6. St-Remy XO French Brandy

St-Remy XO French Brandy
Credit: St-Remy

Overview

  • Distiller: St-Remy
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Luminous Amber

Review

It was not all plain sailing for St-Remy in the early days. The late 19th century saw the great phylloxera epidemic destroy most of the vineyards in France, including the St-Remy Charente vineyard. In 1886 St-Remy established themselves in Machecoul and began producing fine French brandy.

St-Remy XO is a multi-award-winning French brandy that is refined, rich and complex. As the name states, this is an XO brandy (Extra Old) which is ages in oak casks for over 4 years to ensure a full-bodied brandy.

On the nose: Woody notes, vanilla, ripe fruits and honey

On the palate: As soon as you sip this beauty neat, you know it will make your sangria sing. Opens deeply with notes of vanilla, wood and spicy ginger. The mid-palate is elevated by sweet fruits of apricots, figs and dates. The finish is long, mildly spicy, and dry. Bravo!

Presented in an incredibly stylish dark bottle with the St-Remy lion’s logo proudly displayed on the front.

Summary

With an intensity that rivals that of the far more expensive variety of French brandy, this is a vibrant and complex addition to ensure a quality sangria that stands head and shoulders above others.

7. Raynal Three Barrels VSOP Brandy

Three Barrels VSOP Brandy
Credit: Raynal

Overview

  • Distiller: Raynal
  • ABV: 38% (76 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Light amber

Review

Founded by the Pinet Casillion company back in 1814, this family-run business, Raynal, is still based in South West France and produces several excellent brandies.

Three Barrels brandy is made from premium french grapes that are fermented then distilled using a copper pot still. The resulting brandy spirit is then aged in French oak casks for 4 years to gain the title VSOP Brandy, giving it a fuller body.

On the nose: Fragrant vanilla, caramel, raisins and roasted almonds

On the palate: Opens gently with a fruity sweetness and hints of almond. The mid-palate has a smooth combination of caramel, vanilla that is well balanced by notes of crisp green grape. The finish is clean with mild peppery notes and a nip of ginger that lingers ever-so-slightly.

Presented in a traditional style brandy bottle with three barrels embossed into the glass. Looks far more expensive than it actually is.

Summary

Although one could argue that Three Barrels perhaps lacks the depth of St-Remy XO, it is such incredible value. This is a velvety smooth French brandy that has the body to make your sangria ping.

8. Soberano 5 Brandy

Soberano 5 Brandy
Credit: Soberano

Overview

  • Distiller: Bodega Gonzalez Byass
  • ABV: 36% (72 Proof)
  • Country: Spain
  • Colour: Deep Amber

Review

It is hardly surprising that Soberano is one of the most popular brandies in Spain. Not only is it full-bodied and jam-packed with flavour, but it is also one of the cheapest on our list.

Soberano 5 brandy is a 2015 Bronze Medal Winner at the International Wine & Spirits Competition. Produced from fermented airén grapes and distilled in column stills. The brandy is then aged in American oak casks for 5 years. This ensures an exceptionally smooth delivery coupled with an exciting mix of spices and woody tones.

On the nose: Rich, spicy with hints of caramel and almond

On the palate: A smooth start with a sultry caramel/toffee combination. The mid-palate becomes spicier with notes of cinnamon, ginger and oak. The finish is long with additional spice, black pepper and slightly bitter dark chocolate. Beautiful.

Presented in a discreet bottle with a black label that sports gold lettering and the Soberano crown logo. The delightful contents emit a deep amber glow drawing you in like a moth to the flame.

Summary

Soberano 5 Brandy is a smooth and rich, full-bodied brandy with a delicate combination of spices that can elevate your sangria from generic to energetic!

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The Perfect Sangria Recipe

glass of sangria

Although there are a trillion sangria recipes on the internet, this one is simple and sheer perfection.

  • 750 ml of Garnacha wine
  • 100ml of Brandy/Cognac
  • 100ml of sugar syrup
  • Chopped Fruit (Apple, Orange, Lemon)
  • Ice
  • Mix contents into a large glass jug, stir & serve.

Conclusion

I strongly feel that the best brandy to use for sangria needs to be able to stand up on its own two feet. That’s why each brandy and cognac that made it onto this list is also incredible to sip neat.

So the next time you hear a barman saying they chuck in any old brandy into sangria as it does not matter, just raise a knowing eyebrow and make your way to the next bar. Fancy a fruitier French apple brandy in your sangria? then check out my article on 8 vibrant calvados.

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