Where do we begin with apple brandy, which in my opinion is probably the perfect combination of my two favorite things – apples and brandy. There is really no way to go wrong with something like this, right? Maybe not, but there is definitely ways to go better; 10 ways to be exact, and that is what this list is here to do. Set you on the right track to finding the absolute best combination of two of the most perfect flavors on Earth, apples and brandy!
I think it is important to start off with a brief lesson on just what exactly brandy is, and what makes it so much tastier with apples. Simply put, brandy is an alcoholic beverage that is distilled from wine. Apple brandy therefore is brandy distilled from fermented apples and apple juice, in other words hard apple ciders. Because it is distilled from these apple ciders, it retains a lot of the sweet and tart flavors that are found within the original beverages.
This list will be looking solely at the flavor end of finding the best brandy (and in some cases applejack); which brandy will retain the smoothest apple flavor, while still trying to keep from breaking the bank – $40 or less. So without further distractions, lets get started!
1. AppStrawBrandies Regular Apple – $12.99
With a price that won’t break the bank at all, this is definitely a good brandy to start off with when wanting to try a slice of the apple craze. With a light, natural apple flavor and fragrance that is backed by a hint of vanilla, this brandy has just the right amount of sweetness to make your taste buds dance without being overly sweet, and smooth enough to go down without any kind of after bite.
2. Captain Apple Jack – $16.99
This isn’t a pure brandy, but more of an applejack – an apple brandy that has been amped up by the addition of neutral spirits. Nonetheless, this one definitely deserves to be on this list for its amazingly smooth apple flavor coming from the sixteen pounds of apples that is somehow squeezed into the bottle. This beverage is known to have a very smooth and mellow fragrance as well as a distinctly fruity apple flavor.
3. Laird’s Apple Jack – $18.99
Another applejack to find it’s way on to the list, but seeing as how this one is the father of apple brandies in America, it had to have it’s own spot. Boasting flavors of apple cider, caramel, and cinnamon, what is there not to love about this brandy.
4. Copper & Kings Floodwall Apple – $37.99
A little more expensive but still worth the splurge. This brandy hits you with love as soon as you open the bottle with a smell similar to a wonderful crossover between apple pie and bread pudding. There is nothing but vanilla, baking spices, and the sweet smell of raisins. The love doesn’t end there though with the taste only expanding further on that grandma’s kitchen theme. Caramel apples, cocoa, brown sugar, walnuts – what could there possibly be in that combination not to drool over?
5. Christian Brothers Apple Brandy – $29.99
I have to warn you on this one, it is good. Super smooth and easy to drink. Retains a lot of apple flavor, almost too much apple in the overly sweet, syrupy kind of way. But nonetheless, a must have when it comes to apple brandy. I would say this is a good one start with, or a good one for someone who isn’t real big into the whole “tastes the alcohol in the drink” thing.
6. E&J Apple Brandy – $28.99
Smooth, smooth, smooth. Delicious, delicious, delicious. I would love to leave it at that, and I think that completely explains it; but just to entice you even more, I will leave you with one more bit of information. With a nice crisp apple flavor, mixed with vanilla and caramel, this drink almost taste like a green apple Jolly Rancher if you can believe it.
7. Westford Hill Apple Brandy – $36.00
Subtle, delicate, mild, all great words to describe the apple flavor found within this brandy. But don’t let that fool you, that apple flavor is there, and comes through in many different layers within this drink. Starting off with a hint of a tobacco and apple mixture, and ending with a wonderful cinnamon-vanilla apple that lingers on the tongue. This is a great drink for someone who already knows they like brandy, not so much for the first timer.
8. Black Star Farms Spirit of Apple: Apple Brandy – $24.50
If you are a fan of the granny smith apple and the complex sour, bitterness that comes with it, then this brandy is for you. Not an over whelming about of bitterness, but enough to conjure up memories of biting into one of those beautiful green apples. The flavor does however lessen towards the end into a nice vanilla flavor leaving you wanting more. Reminding you of a caramel apple in liquid form.
9. Harvest Spirits Cornelius Applejack – $34.99
With a spicy, sweet honey and apple flavor, that mellows out towards the end with a smooth vanilla feel, this brandy is definitely for those who are a fan of a warm spiced apple cider around the holidays. This drink is sure to be a winner with the family while sitting around the fireplace remembering times gone by, but don’t let that fool you, this drink is good enough for year-round sipping.
10. Josiah Bartlett Barrel Aged Apple Brandy – $32.99
Apples, clove, vanilla, apricot, sounds like the making of some amazing pies and breads, but also some good brandy as well. With a lingering clove and vanilla taste that can have a butterscotch/caramel flavor, this apple brandy is far from sweet. Even though there is a sweet, ripe apple flavor, and it mixes wonderfully with the natural brandy flavor of this drink, this is another one for those who enjoy the dry spiciness of brandy.