It’s an important part of Christmas: Drenching the Christmas pudding in the best brandy you can get your hands on and lighting it up as a flaming festive centrepiece of the dinner table.
But get the wrong spirit and you risk dousing your own Christmas spirit, leaving yourself with nothing but an odd-tasting and thoroughly soggy pud. So, read up, for we’ve hand picked five of the best brandies for pouring over your pudding.
The Spirit of Broadside, £33.95
Suffolk brewery Adnam’s have expanded their range from just beers in recent years, and this brandy – technically an ‘eau-de-vie-de-bier’, but let’s not nitpick – is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
Created by distilling their top notch Broadside bitter and maturing it in a heavily toasted Russian oak cask for a year, expect caramel sweetness, pine, juniper, oranges, stewed apple and fresh cut ginger on the palate – and on your pud.
Martell VS Tricentenaire, £23.95
Released to celebrated Martell’s 300th anniversary, the Tricentenaire will imbue your Christmas dessert with a hint of vanilla and stronger flavours of nutmeg, prunes and orange.
Pineapple, dark chocolate and dried tea also feature, but may be lost once your flame the pudding – however, that doesn’t stop you having a tipple after dinner.
Remy Martin VSOP Mature Cask Finish Cognac, £20.25
If brandy’s not your thing, but you still want a flamed pudding, then this half bottle of Remy Martin VSOP is ideal for you.
A medium body, richness and sweetness holds floral flavours – of violet, rose, vanilla, peach and apricot – that will soak into your sponge and allow it to be lit.
Hennessy VS Cognac, £28.25
Consistently quality, Hennessy’s VS is the perfect cognac to pour over your pudding, and then keep in your drinks cabinet for the rest of the year.
With notes of butterscotch, cinnamon, blackberry and apple, it doesn’t get much more Christmassy than this, and the taste of spice and vanilla will linger on your dessert long after the flames have gone out.
Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva Brandy, £33.75
An aged Spanish brandy, the bottle professes that it was aged in “very old” sherry casks – perfect to add some fruitier flavours to your Christmas pudding.
An intense dark amber colour looks reassuringly potent, and serves as a prelude to an intense bouquet with aromas of sweet pastry, vanilla and spicy oak. The overriding flavour after you’ve doused and lit your pudding? Liquorice.