Sherry vs Brandy: What’s the Difference? (2023 Updated)
Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Lydia Martin
Choosing the perfect spirit might be difficult with so many options available nowadays. Among the many available spirits on the market are Sherry and Brandy. Although they differ in many ways, some drinkers think they are the same. But are they really the same?
Our team spent 48 hours researching the differences between Sherry vs Brandy to clarify your confusion.
Brandy & Sherry Quick Comparison
Sherry is a fortified wine created from white grapes from southwest Spain’s denominated area. Sherry comes in various types, from light and dry to darker and sweeter. Palomino is the most common grape used in the manufacture of these wines.
Meanwhile, Brandy is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from wine or fermented fruit mash. The word refers to the grape product; brandies prepared from wines or fermented mashes of other fruits are usually identifiable by the name of the fruit. Brandies are produced in different parts of the world.
The Difference Between Sherry & Brandy
Origin & History
The first difference between Sherry vs Brandy is their origin and history. Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine with a characteristic nutty flavor. It originally came from the Andalusian region of Jerez de la Frontera, with Sherry being an Anglicization of Jerez.
Moreover, brandy was first commercially distilled from wine in the 16th century. Cognac, from Charente-Maritime and the Charente and départements of France, is often regarded as the best of all brandies, while Armagnac, from the Gers area, is also highly regarded .
During the fermentation of Sherry, a coating of yeast called flor forms on top of the wine, protecting it against oxidation and spoilage. Destilado is used to fortify the Sherry, manufactured by distilling wine, mainly from La Mancha.
Simple distillation of wine produces brandy. The distillation will take place in a pot to separate the water and the alcoholic vapor, cool, and condense back into liquid form. The procedure is done twice.
Sherry is aged in a solera for at least two years. Large solera systems may contain scales for many barrels. It is stacked with the newest barrels on top and the oldest scale, also called “the solera,” at the bottom.
On the other hand, unaged brandy is matured in wood barrels. Brandies aged in oak barrels are usually golden or brown—some brandies, notably Spanish, mature in solera barrels, changed annually.
Taste & Flavors
Sherry is made in several ways, ranging from dry to sweet, mild to strong. Dried fruit, nutty, and saline notes characterize most sherries.
The taste of brandy varies according to the fruit from which it is manufactured and its age, but they are often fruity and sweet. The more a brandy ages, the more oaky and mellow its flavor becomes .
Brandy’s color ranges from greenish to golden to topaz. Brandy’s color intensity varies from light to dark but is never blurry or opaque. Color correction with flavorless caramel and barrel aging affect brandy color.
On the other hand, the color of Sherry varies depending on its type. Cream Sherry is a sweetened Oloroso made using Pedro Ximenez grapes. It’s a dark or extremely deep mahogany hue. It has a round, crisp, and velvety fragrance.
Alcohol By Volume Level
Most brandies are between 70 and 120 proof. This range indicates that alcohol makes up anywhere from 35 to 60% of the drink. Brandy is quite potent when compared to a standard beer or wine.
On the other hand, Sherry is an alcoholic wine with a range of alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 15% to 22%.
Also Read: Brandy vs Bourbon
Price & Value
Dry Sherry, particularly manzanilla, costs around $15 to $16 for a full bottle. Moreover, the most expensive Sherry is the Massandra Sherry 1775, the world’s oldest wine. It was auctioned in 2001 at Sotheby’s London and cost about $43,000.
Gautier Cognac 1762 is the most expensive bottle of brandy, selling for roughly $144,525 at auction. However, the regular brandies cost as low as $30. The cheapest brandy today, ranging from around $6 to $7.
Can you substitute Sherry for brandy?
Yes, Sherry can be a substitute for brandy. Wine, brandy, and Sweet vermouth – any of these alcohols can be substituted for brandy in an equivalent amount. Look for sweeter wines (red or white will both work).
Why is Sherry not the same as brandy?
Sherry is not brandy because it is a fortified wine, while brandy is a distilled beverage from fermented juice.
While both liquors are commonly served as an after-dinner drink, you can’t truly compare Sherry vs brandy because they’re very different in many ways. Sherry is a fortified wine that contains a lot of alcohol. It’s made from fermented grape juice.
In comparison, brandy is a distilled beverage. It is from wine or fermented fruit juices. Like wine, standard brandy is created from grapes. Other fruits, such as apples, apricots, and cherries, can be used, as well.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.