Brandy and cognac are both alcoholic beverages made from grapes, but there are distinct differences between the two. Brandy is an umbrella term for any type of distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice, while cognac is a specific type of brandy that is made in the Cognac region of France. Cognac must be made from specific grape varietals grown in this region and is aged in oak barrels for at least two years before bottling. Brandy can be made from any type of grape and is typically aged in wooden barrels for a shorter period of time.
Cognac is also known for its smooth taste and is often consumed straight, while brandy is usually enjoyed as a mixer in cocktails. Brandy is usually made with a neutral spirit base, while cognac is made with a grape-based spirit. The flavor of cognac is complex and varies depending on how long it has been aged. Brandy has a lighter flavor and is generally less expensive than cognac.