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Eau De Vie


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#31 slkinsey

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 03:29 PM

Most of the time, if the recipe calls for "cherry brandy" it's asking for something like Cherry Heering. If the recipe wants kirsch or kirschwasser (they are the same thing, by the way) it will ask for kirsch(wasser).
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#32 stevea

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:23 PM

This thread reminds me of the time several years ago when my wife and I vacationed in France with a winemaker friend of ours (also from Oregon). Our friend knew a winemaker in Alsace, and we spent a couple of days in the B&B associated with the winery (unfortunately, I can't remember the winery's name now). The winemaker invited us to dinner one night at his residence, and after a very fine dinner he brought out a selection of eau de vies, all produced in his winery (I guess you'd also call it his distillery). I'd never had eau de vie before, so I asked him for a recommendation. "If you are a woman," he said, "you should have the framboise. But if you are a man, you should have gewurtztraminer marc."

Needless to say, I had the gewurtztraminer marc. And so did my wife. And it was absolutely fabulous. Ever since, I have searched for gewurtztraminer marc. The American ones I have had are usually harsh and unappealing. The Alsacian brands seem to be unavailable here in the States. And even those French bottles I've purchased from duty-free shops on various other trips seem to be lacking something. But a really good bottle of gewurtztraminer marc, purchased at a store in Alsace, is a thing of beauty.
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#33 BTR

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:47 PM

Needless to say, I had the gewurtztraminer marc. And so did my wife. And it was absolutely fabulous. Ever since, I have searched for gewurtztraminer marc. The American ones I have had are usually harsh and unappealing. The Alsacian brands seem to be unavailable here in the States. And even those French bottles I've purchased from duty-free shops on various other trips seem to be lacking something. But a really good bottle of gewurtztraminer marc, purchased at a store in Alsace, is a thing of beauty.

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There's a fantastic little French bistro in, of all places, Irvine, CA with a stunning (considering its size (miniscule) and usual occupancy (practically vacant)) selection of wines & liquors, including several marcs and eaux de vie. The last time I was there I had an aged Alsatian poire william that was utterly fantastic--not even a hint of the fireyness or potential harshness I associate with even high-quality unaged eaux de vie, like Clear Creek's.

Couldn't find anything like it at Hi Time, and they're pretty comprehensive.

#34 Portia_Smith

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 12:51 AM

I was intrigued to read in Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion' that Williams pears grown around Shepparton in Victoria, Australia are also distilled there and that large amounts of the resulting Poire William is shipped back to France for bottling and marketing!

My first brush with poire eau de vie was in this restuarant in Paris where a generous shot of it was served over two scoops of house made pear sorbet for dessert - I'd never encountered it before and loved the way it brought out the fragrance of the fruit in the sorbet and was a brilliant palate cleanser. I also liked the whole 'ice queen' vibe the drink gave when combined with the glace. Perfectly suited for a freezing November evening.

On recent trips to the Moravian region of the Czech Repubic I've sampled and bought Hruska which is a local pear schapps/slivovitz/eau de vie. I love the smell of the drink, and it's probably ideal for sipping at the end of a big meal - but my problem is that i tend to encounter it with hard drinking friends and family when it's done as a shot. eeeeek! I was told during my last visit that most villages have a co-op distillery where they bring their fruit and have it made into schnapps - this the fruit grower can then call home made and it's often on local menus as 'domaci slivovitz' - the domaci signifying 'of the house'. I was given of the local 'home' distilled stuff by some friends and when it was opened all I can say that it smelt like bostick glue and actually burnt my lips.

I noticed a drink on the digestif menu of a bistro in Arras that served 'fleur de biere' which only later I realised was probably an eau de vie made of hops or some how beer related. I wish I'd ordered it now...

the Kurbis schnapps sounds fascinating and i'm going to keep an eye out for it next time i'm in the area and i'm determined to try the gentian schnapps as i recently found out it was a favourite drink of my late grandfather.

#35 eje

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 10:48 AM

Most of the time, if the recipe calls for "cherry brandy" it's asking for something like Cherry Heering.  If the recipe wants kirsch or kirschwasser (they are the same thing, by the way) it will ask for kirsch(wasser).

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Sigh, so I suppose the same thing applies to something like Zwack Barack Palinka vs. Brizzard Apry.

One is a true apricot eau de vie and the other an apricot infused brandy based liqueur. True?
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#36 BTR

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:28 AM

Saw an amazing variety of eaux de vie at a department store the other day (in Berlin). Some of these aren't actually eaux de vie but "spirits of" so and so (for instance the peppercorn, which wouldn't really afford much distillable liquid). Included sloes, rowan berries, walnuts, currants, quinces, orange, peppercorn, asparagus (!), truffle (!!), and flower petals.

#37 eje

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 08:33 PM

St. George Spirits just released what they are calling a Basil Eau de Vie. While I don't believe it really counts as a true Eau de Vie, it does sound intriguing.

Eau my goodness

St. George Spirits, the Alameda distillers behind Hangar One Vodka and several eaux-de-vie, liqueurs and one whiskey, have launched another small bottling with big flavor. Aqua Perfecta Basil Eau de Vie is made with Thai and other varieties of basil, soaked in unaged California grape brandy and redistilled.


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Erik Ellestad
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#38 eje

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 12:57 PM

Anyone have any advice regarding Kirsch brands?

I'm about out of the Trimbach Kirsch I've been using and am wondering what people think of the other options.

St. George, Clear Creek, Massenez, Etter and Schladerer are some of the ones I've seen in my area.

Which would you advise sampling next?
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#39 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:11 PM

Anyone have any advice regarding Kirsch brands?

I'm about out of the Trimbach Kirsch I've been using and am wondering what people think of the other options.

St. George, Clear Creek, Massenez, Etter and Schladerer are some of the ones I've seen in my area.

Which would you advise sampling next?

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I don't use much Kirsch, nor do I have much tasting experience with it, but I do enjoy the Schladerer that I have. Very clean distillation, but lots of funk.
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#40 David Santucci

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:56 AM

Anyone have any advice regarding Kirsch brands?

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I replaced my last bottle of Trimbach with a bottle of F. Meyer. Haven't really noticed any difference in terms of quality of drinks, good or bad. So, at $24/fifth in NYC and DC, Trimbach seems to be a great value.

Says Embury:

Next to apple brandy in importance comes the cherry brandy knoWn as kirschwasser (pronounced keersh'-vahs-ser) or kirsch. I still have a small quantity of Schwarzwälder Kirsch made by the famous Zwack firm of Budapest. To me at least, that is the kirsch par excellence of the entire world. Even before the war, however, this was seldom found in this country and, when it could be found, the price was almost prohibitive...

He goes on to say it is less sweet than Swiss, French and Danish Kirschs, that it has a "lingering, delightful aftertaste", and that is it made from cherries from the Black Forest region of Germany.

Well it appears that Zwach Kirsch can be found on these shores, and at a reasonable price ($16! at Hitimewines, for example), so maybe that would make a good next purchase?

Edited by David Santucci, 28 December 2007 - 07:57 AM.


#41 eas

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 05:12 PM

Most of the Zwack products are also available in minis, including their brandies. It's a nice way to try them before going for a full bottle.

Did Embury really cite Zwack as making anything labelled "Schwarzwälder"? I doubt that would have happened, even under occupation - the Hungarians are quite proud of their cherries - more akin to Weichselkirch (auf Deutsch). Reminds me I'm overdue to prepare a batch of a Hungarian favorite, the Sour Cherry Soup!!

#42 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 02:22 AM

I thought that there might be some interest in the tradition of Eau de Vie here in the area of France where I live.

You can see a full write up on my blog. (link below)

Since this is a very poor area of France there has always been a strong interest in the free fruits of the land. Thus the use of wild plums to make Eau de Vie. The tradition continues today although Eau de Vie from other fruits is made and can be very fine it is not considered to be 'authentic". Many of our local friends take great pride in the quality of their Eau de Vie and age it for years and years.

Its a great way to end a meal, but must be taken in moderation. It is truely powerful stuff!

#43 marty mccabe

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 01:46 PM

I'm bumping this because I'd like to know if anyone has had much success with Eau de Vies in cocktails. A recent article in Food & Wine called it the, "Mixologists' New Cocktail Essential," and offered a few recipes, too.

I also tried Toby Maloney's "Poor Liza":

2 oz Poir Williams (Clear Creek)
1/2 Green Chartruse
3/4 lemon juice
1/4 simple syrup
3 dash Peychaud's bitters

Needless to say--as most of his cocktails are--very good.

So, what's everyone else think?
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