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Eaux De Vie

Eaux de vie, a French term that translates to "waters of life," are clear, colourless fruit brandies that are crafted through the fermentation and double distillation of various fruits. Unlike liquors that are often sweetened, eaux de vie are unsweetened, offering a pure and unadulterated fruit essence that is both aromatic and potent.

Traditionally popular in regions like France, Germany, and Switzerland, eaux de vie can be made from a myriad of fruits, ranging from the familiar, such as pears, apples, and cherries, to the more exotic or wild varieties like raspberries, plums (mirabelle, damson), and even rowanberries.

The process of creating eaux de vie begins with selecting high-quality, ripe fruits. The fruit is then crushed and allowed to ferment, converting the natural sugars into alcohol. This fruit mash is then distilled, usually twice, to increase the alcohol content and to capture the delicate flavours and aromas of the fruit. The distillation must be done carefully; the art lies in being able to retain the essence of the fruit in the final product.

After distillation, the eau de vie is typically not aged for long periods, which is why it retains its clear appearance. If it is aged, it's usually in stainless steel tanks or glass containers to prevent the colour and flavour from being altered. Only a few eaux de vie are aged in wooden barrels, and they take on a slight colour if they are.

Eaux de vie are known for their clean, intense fruit flavour and are often enjoyed as a digestif after meals. They are also used by culinary enthusiasts to enhance the flavour of dishes and desserts. When served, they are typically presented in a slim, tulip-shaped glass to concentrate the aroma on the nose, enhancing the tasting experience.

In terms of regions, some of the most renowned eaux de vie come from the Alsace region of France, the Black Forest of Germany, and various cantons in Switzerland. Within these regions, distillers take great pride in their artisanal methods, often using fruits from their orchards or local sources.

With no sugar added, the quality of an eau de vie is directly related to the fruit used, making the selection and handling of the fruit critical to the distillation process. This artisanal craft results in a spirit that is both vibrant and elegant, reflecting the very essence of the fruit from which it is made.

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