Eau de vie, eau-de-vie or aqua vitae is a colourless potent brandy made from fruit; the term is French for "water of life", which shows you that the French have a rather looser view of water, and life, than teetotallers. While brandies like cognac, armagnac, and calvados are aged in wood, giving them a rich flavour and colour, eau de vie distilled from fermented fruit juice and bottled without touching wood, resulting in an intense fruit flavour suspended in a clear liquid. The most famous types of eau de vie are grappa (made from grapes), kirsch (cherries), framboise (raspberries), poire william (pears), and slivovitz (plums).

Cletus the Foetus remarks that it's amazing how many liquors are named after "water" in general - like vodka, Russian for "little water" - or "water of life" specifically - whiskey, from the Irish uisge beatha. And garryowen reminds me of the existence of aquavit. Amazing indeed.

Eau` de vie" (?). [F., water of life; eau (L. aqua) water + de of + vie (L. vita) life.]

French name for brandy. Cf. Aqua vitae, under Aqua.



© Webster 1913.

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