Brandy made for drinking has about 50 percent alcohol by volume. For brandy that is used as an additive to other alcohols, such as sherry, the volume is much higher, at between 80 to 95 percent by volume.
Brandy is a distilled liquor, often made from wine, although it is also derived from other types of fruit besides grapes. It is usually aged, and heat is applied during the distillation process. Brandy is an old drink as it was distilled commercially by the Dutch as early as the 1500s. One famous brandy is cognac, which is made in France.
Brandy, along with other alcohols, such as whiskey, was believed to be an effective medication in the past. In fact, during Prohibition, doctors were allowed to prescribe it legally to patients. However, by that time, the belief that it was beneficial to patients was dwindling.