My first association with brandy was as something Saint Bernard dogs carried in barrels around their necks as they rescued people. Then, I grew up and discovered wine and mixology. From there, I realized brandy was so much more than something to keep you warm on a chilly night. Just like my journey, there's a world of brandy waiting for you, too, from classic French Cognac and Armagnac to delicious fruit-flavored brandies. Our best brandy picks are a combination of quality and price, and there's a little something for everyone, regardless of your brandy preference or knowledge.
Our Top Brandy Picks
Make a quick pick from this list or scroll through to find a more in-depth look into these best of brandy choices.
- Best Overall: Jollité Armagnac VSOP
- Best Cognac: Courvoisier Sherry Cask Finish Cognac
- Best Brandy for Cocktails: Deau Cognac VS
- Best Splurge: Hine Antique XO Premier Cru Cognac
- Best Calvados: Berneroy XO Calvados
- Best Brandy de Jerez: Domecq Carlos I. Imperial Brandy de Jerez
- Best Pisco: Caravedo Mosto Verde Pisco
- Best Pomace Brandy: Knight Gabriello Grappa di Brunello
- Best American Brandy: Copper and Kings American Craft Brandy
- Best Blackberry Brandy: Hiram Walker Blackberry Brandy
- Best Peach Brandy: Christian Brothers Peach Brandy
- Best Apricot Brandy: Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie
1. Jollité Armagnac VSOP
Armagnac was my first introduction to just how good a classic French brandy could be. And while Armagnac tends to be more affordable than Cognac, it can still be pretty spendy.
Fortunately, Jollité VSOP Armagnac is both delicious and affordable. A double win. It's warm and smooth with delicious notes of caramel, orange peel, and vanilla; it's the go-to brandy both for sipping and for cocktails.
The experts at Wine Enthusiast gave this affordable French brandy a whopping 97-point rating, and it's a smooth, vanilla-scented brandy that's warming and delicious for sipping straight.
At $38, this is hands-down one of the best-value Armagnacs on the market.
2. Courvoisier Sherry Cask Finish Cognac
Since excellent Cognac can cost hundreds of dollars per bottle, when you find a top example that's also affordable, grab it. Immediately. That's what I did with the Courvoisier Sherry Cask Finish Cognac. This smooth Cognac is elegant and nutty, and the vanilla and toast of the oak on the finish rivals far more expensive examples.
Wine Enthusiast listed this Cognac as its favorite Cognac of 2019, and it's easy to see why. The magazine rated the Cognac 95 out of 100 points, and it will only set you back about $50. It's a nutty brandy with notes of spice and dried fruit that make it the perfect spirit for sipping or to include in Cognac cocktails. Like other Cognacs, it can be difficult to find, and the high praise it receives from reviewers can make it pricey on the secondary market.
It's a great first Cognac to try - affordable and smooth.
3. Deau Cognac VS
There's a rule of thumb in cooking and cocktails that you should never add a booze ingredient that you wouldn't drink by itself. And Deau Cognac VS is a decent sipper if a little simple in flavor profile. But that simplicity makes it a clean addition to your mixed drinks, although some may want a little more complexity from their Cognac.
The clean flavor profile makes it a star for mixing, and it only costs $22.
4. Hine Antique XO Premier Cru Cognac
The Hine Antique XO Premier Cru Cognac won't set you back a house payment, but it's a reasonable splurge at $299. The brandy is a blend of about 40 eaux-de-vie made from Champagne grapes, and it has notes of nutmeg, jasmine, and caramel. This isn't a mixing Cognac, it's a sipping brandy. Enjoy it neat, warmed simply by your hands holding the glass for best enjoyment. It's the perfect sipping cognac. Its report card notes would read "smooth and flavorful" and "a pleasure to have in glass." Don't mix with others, though. It's too good for that.
5. Berneroy XO Calvados
Baked apple flavors with plenty of spice make Berneroy XO Calvados a standout. It's a beautiful sipper, or add it to a cocktail for a hint of apples and spice. It's a surprisingly nutty and spicy Calvados. If you're looking for a taste of fall in a glass, meet your new favorite. Expect to pay around $55.
6. Domecq Carlos I. Imperial Brandy de Jerez
Domecq Carlos I. Imperial Brandy de Jerez is aged in sherry casks, giving it the nutty flavors that make sherry wines so appealing. The 40% ABV Spanish brandy is delicious and fragrant with notes of caramel, coffee, fruit, and spice. Try it in a sangria! Sherry fans will love this brandy and its affordable $60 price tag. It's a priceless addition in your collection for both sipping and mixing.
7. Caravedo Mosto Verde Pisco
I'm admittedly not a huge pisco fan, but I do like a good pisco sour from time to time, and the Caravedo Mosto Verde Pisco makes an excellent pisco sour. It's a clean, Peruvian-style pisco that adds nice spice, earth, and fruit notes to the cocktail with a little funky extra. It blends beautifully with the traditional sweet and sour ingredients. Expect to pay around $45 for a bottle.
8. Knight Gabriello Grappa di Brunello
A number of brandies are considered pomace brandy, including the well-known Italian brandy, grappa. Pomace brandy is distilled from leftovers of the winemaking process-- and Italians know winemaking.
Knight Gabriello Grappa di Brunello is double distilled from Italian Brunello di Montalcino wine grape pomace, and it's aromatic, smooth, and flavorful. If you're a grappa fan, it's gorgeous neat or on the rocks. This is a smooth and accessible grappa, with the soft, and reasonably subtle flavors. Put it on your shelf for about $44.
9. Copper and Kings American Craft Brandy
Copper and Kings American Craft Brandy is uniquely American; it's aged in used Kentucky whiskey barrels, which gives it a distinctly bourbon-like flavor. Since I'm a whiskey lover, it's probably no surprise this one lands firmly at the top of my American-made brandy list. Drink it neat, just like you would a good glass of Tennessee whiskey. This is an unexpected brandy with sweet and smoky whiskey flavors. The unique, complex flavor profile, with its smooth and smoky notes, makes it worth more than the $42 price tag.
10. Hiram Walker Blackberry Brandy
Hiram Walker blackberry brandy hits the sweet spot between affordable, easy to find, and flavorful. That's what you call a triple threat, all for $13. If you like fruit-flavored brandies, you'll get a little taste of summer with Hiram Walker's blackberry brandy. It's smooth and deeply flavored.
11. Christian Brothers Peach Brandy
If you're a fan of juicy, summer-ripened peach flavors, then you'll enjoy Christian Brothers Peach Brandy. It's got enough peach flavor for sipping, but you can also craft some interesting peach cocktails with an affordable brandy (it only costs $12). It offers intriguing possibilities for creating a nearly endless menu of peach cocktails. Smooth and affordable? That's just peachy.
12. Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie
Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie is a true apricot brandy; it's distilled from crushed apricots instead of having apricot flavor added. It's an eau-de-vie, which is an unaged brandy distilled from fruit. The brandy comes from Austria, and it has a lightly floral bouquet and delicious apricot flavor. It's also affordable at $35. Sounds like this is the time to get creative with cocktails.
Tempting Brandy Brands to Draw You In
Whether it comes from France, Spain, the United States, South America, or anywhere else in the world, delicious brandy is a true pleasure. And with a variety of styles, flavors, and price points, you're sure to find a brandy that suits your taste and budget, whatever your drinking approach may be - sipping it neat or adding it to classic cocktails.