Is brandy a mevushal?

Answered by Edward Huber

Brandy is indeed considered a mevushal (cooked) product according to Jewish law. The process of making brandy involves distillation, which requires heating the base material, usually wine, to high temperatures. This high heat effectively cooks the wine and transforms it into brandy.

The term “mevushal” comes from the Hebrew word “boshel,” meaning cooked. According to Jewish law, wine that has been cooked by a non-Jew is prohibited for consumption due to concerns of idolatry. However, if wine is mevushal, it is considered exempt from the laws of Stam Yayin (wine handled by a non-Jew), and it can be consumed even if it was cooked by a non-Jew.

The origins of the word “brandy” can be traced back to the Dutch word “brandewijn,” which translates to “burnt wine.” This name reflects the process by which brandy is made, involving the heating or burning of wine to extract the alcohol through distillation.

It’s important to note that while the base material used to make brandy, which is typically wine, would ordinarily be subject to the laws of Stam Yayin, the final product, brandy itself, is considered mevushal and is exempt from these laws. This distinction allows brandy to be consumed without any concerns regarding its production process.

Brandy is considered a mevushal product because it is produced through distillation, a process that involves cooking the base material, usually wine. Although wine is subject to the laws of Stam Yayin, the final product of brandy is exempt from these laws due to its mevushal status.