Brandy is made by distilling wine or fermented fruit mash in a still. Brandy is generally made of grapes, and when made with other fruits is referred to by the name of the fruit used, such as apple brandy.
In addition to grapes, apples, peaches, plums and berries are acceptable fruits to use for brandy. To make brandy, wine is processed through a still to separate the alcohol in the wine from the water. The still is heated on a stove, which causes the liquid in the pot to evaporate. Because alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, the alcohol begins to evaporate first. The alcohol condensation rises to the lid of the still, and the liquid travels out by means of a tube that transports it to the cooling coil. The cooling coil, which is inside another container, collects the alcohol and cools it, returning it to liquid form. The first portion of liquid processed through the still is toxic, and is not kept.
The usable portion of brandy will smell like the fruit used to create the wine. Brandy can be used immediately after being distilled but will have a harsher taste than brandy that is aged for a month or two.