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Sunday, 26 May 2013


In 1305 Arnaldus de Ulla Nova, a professor at the medical school of Montpelier, distilled the first brandy to be thought of as a drink. Previous similar distilled wines were used for medical purposes only. 

Brandy gets its name from the Dutch “brandewijn”, meaning ”burnt wine” as it is derived by boiling the wine.

Dating back to the 1600's, thermometers were filled with brandy instead of mercury.

Queen Anne’s chronic brandy addiction is said to have contributed to her chronic losses of children in pregnancy. The Queen  suffered from a condition known as “sticky blood” and none of her 17 children made it into their teens.

A fine brandy has been distilled from wine in the region around Cognac in the Charente region of France since the mid 17th century. The name “cognac” came to be applied to this quality brandy by 1783.

King George IV of England was partial to cherry brandy, which he liked to sit up late at night drinking. A heavy drinker, the phrase "drunk as a Lord” is said to have originally referred to him.

In 1829, when Mrs. Lydia Child wrote The Frugal Housewife, hair care was quite different from what it is now. New England rum was considered to be excellent for cleaning the hair and keeping it healthy; brandy was supposed to strengthen the roots.

Daniel Webster spent nearly three decades in one federal office or another. As he approached the end of his distinguished career he grew increasingly dependent on alcohol, regularly drinking brandy and water while speaking. In 1851 this practice caused him trouble at a ceremony marking the completion of the Boston-Montreal Railroad. Then secretary of state, Webster ignored the point of the ceremony and delivered a rambling speech on American history. The governor general of Canada, one of the honoured guests , was so enraged by the performance that he almost stormed off the platform.

Winston Churchill had a seemingly enormous capacity for brandy. Such was his passion for it that the Nazi Goebbels caricatured him as a drunk. Churchill's marathon drinking sessions, usually started late and went onto the early hours of the following day. "When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast." he once quipped to King George VI

In 1943, during World War II, German bombs struck the Vatican wine cellar and broke about a hundred bottles of fine cognac. There was a pool of liquor six inches deep, and the Swiss soldier who discovered the damage fetched his fellow soldiers to make good use of what might have been a tragic waste.

By Harold Wilson's second term as the British Prime Minister, his dependence on brandy was becoming increasingly evident. He was prone to rambling in cabinet meetings and sometimes forgets to sum up.

St. Bernard dogs have never carried small casks of brandy around their necks on rescues, as popularly believed. Sometimes, however, they are posed with casks to please tourists.

On a bottle of brandy VSOP stand for "Very Special Old Pale."

A popular drink in Cambodia is a Tarantula Brandy. The concoction includes rice liquor and freshly dead tarantulas.

Source Book Of Lists 3, Christianity Today

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