Brandy at Cape Grace

The Scots have whisky but we’ve got brandy. South Africa has a rich history of brandy making dating back 350 years when the Dutch distilled the first brandies aboard ships in the Cape.

In recent years, local brandy has shed its fuddy-duddy image and become fashionable – it’s no longer just a drink that you’d buy for your Dad but one would choose!

There’s no doubt that South African brandy is on the international radar, winning awards and making its mark. Van Ryn’s 12 year old brandy is the most awarded brandy in South Africa. It has won the” Worldwide Best Brandy” at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition three times in the past decade.

Locally made pot still brandies are as good as French cognac, as they are made in the same way but governed by even stricter production regulations. South African pot still brandies must be aged for at least three years in small French oak casks while cognacs have to be aged for a minimum of two-and-a-half years in casks which do not have a size specified.

Pot still brandies are bottled at minimum alcohol strength of 38%v/v (the lowest for a spirit in South Africa) and contain 100% pot distilled brandy. They are complex and smooth and are ideally best enjoyed neat, over ice or with a dash of water.

Blended brandies are a blend of pot still brandy and grape spirit and are produced in a style to make these brandies highly accessible and versatile – great for enjoying in long drinks with ice and a mixer or in cocktails.

The best way to taste brandy is

  • Serve it in a brandy balloon.
  • Contrary to popular believe it should not be heated as this can causes the loss of precious volatile flavours in the brandy. It should be tasted at room temperature
  • Unlike wine, never swirl brandy in the glass.
  • You can also add a dash of still water when tasting brandy but ensure that it pure, unchlorinated water.
  • Hold it at a slight distance from your nose, inhale gently before taking a small sip.
  • Let the brandy slide over the different parts of your tongue to release the taste gradually
  • Enjoy responsibly

Bascule Bar, although famed for its whiskies, also offers a great selection of Cognac, Armagnac and Brandy.

Share with us your preferred pot still or blended brandy.

Blog post by Jane Broughton

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