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Moving forward consistently with your fitness goals at times requires backing off boozy brunches or after-work alcohol indulgences. Julious Grant, founder of Omage brandy, is personally aware of the balancing act between staying fit and enjoying life every now and then.
Before becoming one of the leading wine and spirits experts in the United States, Grant was a guard at Bethune Cookman University in the late ‘80s, where he averaged nearly 12 points a game his senior season.
To this day, Grant, still physically active and watches his caloric intake, but Grant says that you can still enjoy the occasional highball — or straight up — without always having to go completely high and dry when it comes to alcohol.
When it comes to brandy, he says that it’s best sipped after either a fine dinner or just kicking back and enjoying an evening chill. He adds that what also makes brandy sipping experience enjoyable, in addition to appreciating its fruity aromas, is finding an ideal food to pair it with. Oftentimes brandy serves as the perfect dessert complement, but sometimes Grant says you don’t have to go decadent, especially if you’re watching your calories.
“I have never been one to over-consume because I get great pleasure from tasting, sipping and finding ideal pairings between my food and beverage,” he says.
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice. It’s closely related but differs from Cognac due to the latter being made from grapes in the Cognac region of France.
There are a host of ways to drink brandy. One is drinking it “neat” — straight up at room temperature — which is one of the classier ways of indulging a fine brandy. Or you can mix it to make a brandy sour (lemon juice, simple syrup, and maraschino cherry) or a highball (ginger ale and lemon twist).
Because it’s both low-carb and low cholesterol, brandy straight up is one of the healthier alcohol options out there. It contains several anti-aging antioxidants, and also a sip or two at night can even have aid in sleep (a few sips, not glasses).
According to Grant, Omage separates itself from other brandies and cognacs in that it’s all-natural — meaning no added sugar or artificial colors. Made in California, any of the brand’s three signature brandies — VS, VSOP and XO — is aged anywhere from two to six years.
Because of the process time, Grant says it’s best to drink brandy slow and chill. Known as a dessert drink, brandy goes well with rich foods such chocolate mousse and cheese to name a few. But sometimes decadent indulgences aren’t the only option.
“Sometimes after dinner, when I don’t want to eat dessert, I will sip Omage over rocks with a slice of orange,” he says. “The natural vanilla and citrus flavors in OMAGE are enhanced and it’s satisfying and refreshing.”
So what works best? Grant says a unique way to enjoy the fruity flavors brandy provides is to pair it with trail mix — including heart healthy nuts and a variety of dried fruits. Like brandy, nuts such as pistachios and walnuts are a high in antioxidants, protein and fiber and are beneficial for heart health. Like a fine brandy, moderation is always the key with nuts as they are high in calories.
“When I just need something to snack on either just before dinner or after, I turn to nuts — almonds and pistachios, in particular — and mix them with raisins or dried cranberries,” Grant says. “I sip my Omage straight up and the pairing with the nuts and dried fruits is not only delicious but immensely enjoyable.”