Enhance Your French Onion Soup With A Shot Of Brandy

When it comes to comfort food, you can't get more comfortable than French onion soup. It is a dish that combines bread, cheese, and alcohol — three elements that already make you want to curl up and get cozy. When you put them all together, you may as well turn down your bed and get ready to escape to dreamland. 

Where did this delicious slumber-inducing soup come from? Onion soup is mentioned in writing as early as the 14th century, but it began to become popular with the masses in 18th century Paris among people from all walks of life, from the poor to the elite of society. It started with a basic onion soup made of beef jus, broth, onions, and bread. What made it "French" was the addition of gobs of cheese on top, with the dish placed under the broiler until the cheese melted and was beginning to brown. 

Most recipes for French onion soup also call for the addition of alcohol, usually in the form of red or white wine as well as a little sherry which give the soup depth of flavor. The alcohol burns off during the cooking process leaving the concentrated flavors of the tipples behind to enhance the savory onion flavor. Just as you can opt to not use alcohol at all in the creation of this soup, you can also mix things up and try different kinds of booze like brandy which might be the best thing since adding cheese on top.

For extra warmth, add brandy

French onion soup is definitely a cold-weather dish, perfect for warming yourself up on a chilly day (or at the very least, warming up your soul). It makes sense, then, to add something that's equally warming, like a shot of alcohol. 

Brandy in particular is a warm, soothing drink. It's meant to be sipped slowly, and when you take your first swallow, the sweet spirit first warms your throat, works its way down to your belly, and eventually through your whole body down to your toes. Before you know it, you feel like you've taken a dip in a hot spring. Just imagine what it will do to your soup!

Chef Jonathan Pacheco tells Vinepair, "Brandy really just helps to concentrate all of the flavors together and works to bring out the flavors present in the herbs and the onions." 

French onion soup may taste luxurious, but it is not a difficult recipe to execute. It starts with sautéing onions in butter until they begin to caramelize. The alcohol is added to deglaze the pan and is typically simmered until it has been cooked long enough to evaporate. Beef stock or broth and any herbs or flavorings are added and everything is simmered. To serve, individual bowls or crocks are filled with the soup and topped with a slice of bread and plenty of Gruyere cheese. The bowls go into the oven to broil until the cheese melts and then they are served. Eating in your pajamas is optional but recommended.