Eaux de vie, Fruit Alcohols, White Alcohols

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

These are various terms that are less confusing than their synonym “fruit brandy”: they name spirits that are distilled from fermented fresh fruits other than grapes. Unlike true “burned wines,” which offer a complicated, transformed wineyness, eaux de vie capture and concentrate the distinctive essence of the fruits from which they’re made, so they can be savored almost pure rather than in their flesh. France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland are especially noted for their fine fruit alcohols. Some popular examples are apple (Calvados), pear (Poire Williams), cherry (Kirsch), plum (Slivovitz, Mirabelle, Quetsch), and raspberry (Framboise); less widely known are apricot (French Abricot), figs (North African and Middle Eastern Boukha), and watermelon (Russian Kislav).