Brandy (from brandywine, derived from Dutch brandewijn, that is: burned wine) is produced by distilling wine, and was born as a preservation method. Its alcohol by volume content is 35–60%. It is one of the most ancient distillates, closely tied to the very development of distillation. The first evidence of distillation comes from Alexandria in the 1st century AD. The first distilled beverages used to be given as syrups.
In cooking, Brandy is served in a snifter, or a tulip glass. It is often served slightly warmed by gentle heating (or simply by holding the glass cupped in the palm). It is among the main ingredients of Christmas pudding. It is commonly used inside dessert or cookie doughs. But also to deglaze pan in meat dishes or to give a more intense flavour in some dishes, for example onion soup. It can also be added to other beverages to make cocktails.
Fun fact: Brandy may also be made from fermented fruit other than grapes, and in this case it may be referred to as a fruit brandy, or even or using the specific fruit name.