Eau de Vie (Water of Life)
An Eau de Vie is an alcohol distilled from ripe grapes or fruits. The process starts by preparing a mash of ripe fruit to which yeast is added. The yeast feds onthe sugars in the fruit and produces alcohol as a by product. This fermented wine is then distilled to create a spirit with an alcohol content of around 40%.
There are many references throughout history to this type of distillation. When water was often dangerous to drink, it could be added to purify so was aptly named "Water of Life"
It has always been used as a base for macerating herbs and aromatics for medicinal purposes and only recently have these strong spirits been used in a recreational manner - often with dire results!
In The Newe Iewell of Health by Conrad Gesner, and dated 1576, is "the fourth Booke of Dy∫tillations, conteyning many ∫ingular ∫ecrete Remedies" The first chapter is about "Of the distilling of Aqua vitae, or as some name it, burning water, and of the properties of the same."
It goes on to say... "that the water which is distilled out of wine, is named by some the water of life, in that it recovers and maintains life, yes and slays old age. But this may rightly be named the water of death, if it shall not be rightly and Artly prepared."
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