1. Brandy is the liquor of heroes, and extreme cold calls for extreme bravery.
Eighteenth-century writer Samuel Johnson — a man of strong opinions about proper drinking behavior — famously said:
“Claret is the liquor for boys; port, for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy…There are, indeed, few who are able to drink brandy. That is a power rather to be wished for than attained.”
-quoted in The Life of Johnson by Boswell
2. If you’re feeling under the weather, ginger brandy concoctions are the ultimate home remedy.
Brandy may not “cure” a flu or cold, but it can definitely help ease the pain while you wait for sickness to run its course. Just a whiff helps clear the sinuses, and a generous shot of Blackberry Brandy is said to give Robitussin a run for its money.
Since ginger root is a known antioxidant and immune booster, warm ginger brandy elixirs are the ultimate boozy cold-busters. Try this recipe for a Soothing Hot Ginger Toddy with Homemade Ginger Liqueur. For a simpler brew, mix ginger brandy with hot water, lemon, and a bit of honey.
3. When chilled to the bone, anything synonymous with “liquid fire” is a fantastic idea.
British Baptist minister Robert Hall insisted that the more “appropriate name” for a glass of brandy and water is “a glass of liquid fire and distilled damnation.”
-Gregory’s Life of Hall, reported in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
Consult this guide for brandy-warming best practices and proper snifter etiquette.
4. Brandy is an iconic solution for freezing your butt off.
Thanks to the artistic imagination of English painter Edwin Landseer, legend holds that Augustine monks hung brandy barrels around the necks of St. Bernard rescue dogs to revive frostbitten pilgrims in the Swiss Alps.
The science behind brandy’s longterm warming properties is sketchy at best, but at a healthy 35-80% alcohol content, a snifter of the stuff is sure to get those blood vessels dilated and bring a rosy flush to your cheeks.
5. Being snowed in presents ample sexy time, and there is no better moment for the aptly named “Between the Sheets” cocktail.
With just a twist of citrus to cut the hard liquor, this rum-infused variation on the Sidecar is sure to heat things up.
6. The same can be said for the “Honeymoon” cocktail, just in time for a snowy Valentine’s Day.
This classic recipe is a sour, boozy blend of apple brandy, the cognac-based Benedictine liqueur, and Triple Sec (or Grand Marnier) that predates Prohibition.
7. Gloomy weather invites melancholic brooding, best solved by — what else? — brandy! Just ask the master of macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe:
Poe famously had a penchant for apple toddies while studying at the University of Virginia in the 1820s. His roommate at West Point even told Harper’s Magazine that the oft drunken author was “seldom without a bottle of Benny Haven’s best brandy.”
If you need to “escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom,” as Poe once wrote, mix yourself his brew of choice.
8. If you’ve taken your indoor boozing a bit too far, fight fire with fire with a “Corpse Reviver” — a fierce hangover cure.
Described first in 1871 as a blend of brandy, maraschino, and bitters in The Gentleman’s Table Guide, the “Corpse Reviver” now has countless recipe variations that, according to The Savoy Cocktail Book, are “to be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed.”
Perfect for post-storm recovery.
9. Drinking brandy is patriotic retaliation against nature’s cruelty.
Big storms take a toll on local economies, BUT drinking brandy can help!
Unlike wine, vodka, and other predominantly imported alcohols, about 60% of brandy sold in the U.S. is made in America.
THAT’S RIGHT: Drinking brandy can help support a storm-torn economy!
10. Nothing screams “snowed in” louder than some hot chocolate, except, of course, hot chocolate *spiked with brandy.*
Give this zesty Spanish-inspired recipe a whirl for a less-than-innocent cup of cocoa.
11. A treacherous winter wonderland outside is best appreciated when drinking a “Brandy-kissed Snowflake,” inside.
Take advantage of the toasty indoors with this chilly vanilla-based ice cream milkshake, spiked with brandy and white creme de cacao.
12. Cabin fever can spawn a rebellious itch. Relieve your snowed-in frustrations with a peachy “Wild Ruffian.”
Cognac (brandy from the Cognac region of France) gets fruity with some peach preserves and mint — a combination divined by mixologist Lynn House of the Blackbird restaurant in Chicago. Try this bad boy here.
13. Since movie-watching is the quintessential indoor pastime, why not pair a classic film with a classic brandy beverage?
The Waldorf Astoria bar dedicated a cocktail to Charlie Chaplin that was recorded in Old Waldorf Bar Days (1931), by Albert Stevens Crockett. This three-ingredient drink is as simple as its inspiration is silent, and perfect for one of these silent film drinking games.
14. Feeling sluggish after so much lazing and boozing? Not to worry! Brandy boasts surprising benefits for heart health and immune function.
Researchers claim that a 30 milliliter shot of brandy has an antioxidant potential comparable to the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C.
Plus, the low incidence of heart disease in Gascony (the production site of Armagnac brandy) led scientists to discover that brandy may serve an anti-platelet function much like the prescription drug Plavix. This is credited to Armagnac’s oak barrel distillation process.
Since angostura bitters also have digestive properties, try this “Bittered Sling” armagnac tonic. L’chaim!
15. Finally, “B” is for blizzards, and “B” is for brandy, but “B” is ALSO for Beyoncé, who (incidentally) enjoys brandy.
After being stuck inside for more than a few hours, chances are you’ve exhausted Youtube’s highlights of the Queen Bey and are looking for new ways to occupy yourself with Beyoncé fodder.
One solution? Drink with her — if only “in spirit” — by pouring yourself a glass of her husband’s signature cognac.
At the very least, sipping it straight could be the best preparation for a raucous snowball fight. Stay safe!