Spirits / Fruit Brandy / Eau de Vie
Eau de vie or water of life is a colorless spirit made from a wide variety of fruits. They are made by methods commonly seen with other spirits, in which the fruits are harvested, crushed, fermented and distilled with an effort to preserve the character of the base fruit. Eaux de vie (the plural version) are especially popular in areas that don’t grow grapes, or where brandy is not often produced. The most usual eaux de vie comes from orchard fruits such as pears, plums, cherries and raspberries. Perhaps the most popular eau de vie in France is Poire Williams, made with only the Bartlett pear variety. Kirsch, a cherry-based eau de vie from Germany and Slivovitz, a plum based eau de vie from eastern Europe, also have large followings around the world. While grape-based spirits such as armagnac, cognac and calvados must legally be aged in barrel and have color, they are considered brandies. When their base spirit exits the still and is clear, however, they are called eaux de vie.