Eau de Vie
The history of Eau de vie is shrouded in myth and legend and parallels the history of the Eau-de-Viealembic, distillation and the production of alcohol. The Chinese and the Egyptians may have been the pioneers in discovering the process of distilling alcohol but the first written documents that relate to the distillation process go back to Ancient Greece. The results of distillation produced "Aqua Ardens” literally Firewater or “aguardente”, in Portuguese, soon became “Aqua Vitae” (water of life ). The French term Eau-de-vie is just that - water of life. Whiskey is in fact an Anglicization of the Irish “uisce beatha” or Scottish Gaelic “uisge beatha” meaning water of life. It was the Arabs that gave the name alcohol to the distillate. Extraordinary properties were bestowed upon alcoholic distillates by early alchemists in their pursuit of longevity or even immortality, some considering it a panacea or cure all, hence the name, water of life. It was only much later that alcoholic distillates were used in a social setting for recreational drinking. The propagation of distillation in the American continent took place during the age of discoveries through the introduction of sugar cane cultivation by Christopher Columbus. Although local tribes often made fermented drinks it was only after Colonization that different types of spirits began being distilled throughout Latin America. In conclusion Eau-de-vie is a spirituous alcoholic drink, usually colourless resulting from the fermentation of various fruits, cereals and aromatic plants. Depending on its origin we may classify the various Eau-de-vies as follows: - Vinic (Arak, Armagnac, Cognac, Ouzo) - Fruit (Calvados, Cassis, Kirsch) - Botanicals (Absinthe, Rum, Tequila) - Grains/Cereals (Gin, Vodka, Whiskey/Whisky) Any Eau-de-vie presented in this section may be made using our alembics according to your specific distillation requirements be it simple distillation, steam distillation, continuous or fractional distillation Some of the models are also ideal for distillation and extraction of essential oils and hydrosols. For your convenience information specific to each model is made available. If you are a beginner in the art of distillation do not forget to consult the articles on Basic distillation laws and Sealing technique.