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Eau de Vie

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All about Eau de Vie

What is Eau de vie?

Eau de vie is an elite sub-category of fruit brandy, representing only the most delicate, special spirits. Clear, dry and never barrel aged like some other brandies, these top-shelf dwellers focus on the fruit that birthed them and little else. There are plenty of magnifìque fruit brandies, but Eau de vie contends for crème de la crème (disclaimer: there is no cream in them). We won’t try to oversell it, but “Eau de vie” does mean “water of life” in French.

How do they make Eau de vie?

Eau de vie starts in the orchard or the brambles as fruit ripening in the sun. The sugars develop in the fruits they ripen, providing the perfect canvas for a yeast fermentation. Yeast ferments the fruit into something akin to a cider. Cider’s nice, but needs distillation to take that extra step. One or two trips through a pot still increases the alcohol to around 40% while still preserving the essence of the fruit.

Which fruits make up Eau de vie?

Eau de vie is a European specialty, so don’t be surprised to see Old World favorites like apples, cherries, blackcurrants (cassis), loganberry, pear and raspberry on offer. Across the pond, American pioneers have used evergreen tree buds as the main ingredient – to delicious effect. You can find out what a Christmas tree might taste like without getting thrown out of your holiday party by trying a Douglas Fir Eau de vie.

Eau de vie serving and cocktails ideas

This is a spirit that traditionally functions as a digestif, something to clear your palate before coffee or dessert. Modern bartenders have found that to be a bit reductive, as its fruit character makes it an option for lots of great cocktails. Incorporate it into vodka cocktails and see how a drink like a gimlet or Moscow mule benefits from added fruit complexity. Try substituting Douglas Fir Eau de vie into your gin cocktails and you’ll find yourself with an offbeat – but not wholly alien – gin and tonic.

The best Eau de vie captures the refined but unadulterated taste of a single quality ingredient. Though it may seem geared towards special occasions, it’s really more versatile as a cocktail ingredient European nobility ever guessed. Come test the waters of life with Drizly. Shop Drizly by clicking on these links to search for Drizly in your city and look for liquor stores on Drizly near you.