To many mixologists, Fruit Brandy and Eau de Vie have been under-utilized as a subtle ingredient to be used in two to three ingredient cocktails.
Both Fruit Brandy and Eau de Vie have not been aged but have been fermented and twice distilled into a clear spirit that faintly resembles its origin. It can be mixed with Sparkling Wines, Club Soda or Tonic and classically has been substituted for Gin or Vodka in Moscow Mules or Gimlets.
Eau de Vie and Fruit Brandy is a lesser-known category that refers specifically to brandies made with fruit and without grapes. If you try the products on their own, serve chilled with a drop or two of water to bring out the fruitiness. Since it has not been aged, water will help remove the nature of the spirit.
There are many brands in the marketplace using orchard fruit. The options are unending, but the most common fruit used are cherries, pears, apples, blueberries, raspberries and plums.
Since Eau de Vie means ‘water of life’ in French, it is obvious to experiment with a well distributed national brand. I chose Alsatian producer, Trimbach. Their products have an unmistakable flavor and aroma because the ripe fruit is fermented, distilled and bottled quickly to preserve the freshness and aroma of the fruit. Since there is no wood aging, bottles appear clear with light fruity colors.
Bartenders, please experiment with eau de vie at room temperature, then chilled to your liking, if necessary, with a drop of water. What you should discover is a mellow and vibrant flavor, one that blends well into cocktails.
- 3/4 oz. Trimbach Liqueur de Poire
- 3/4 oz. Amontillado Sherry
- 1 bar spoon apricot spread
- 2 dash lemon bitters
- 2 oz. Soda water
- 1 1/4 oz. Tequila Blanco
Preparation: Combine, liqueur, sherry, apricot, tequila, bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake to combine flavors. Double strain over fresh ice into highball glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with lemon peel.
- 1 oz. Trimbach Liqueur de Framboise
- 1 1/2 oz. Botteha Gianduia Liqueur
- 1 oz. Heavy cream
- 2 1/2 oz. Cold brew coffee
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice to chill and combine flavors Strain into coupe glass. Allow to settle. Garnish with cocoa powder and fresh raspberry.
- 1 1/2 oz. Straight Bourbon Whisky
- 3/4 Trimbach Framboise Grande Reserve Brandy
- 2 rounds blood orange
- 1/4 oz. Simple syrup
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a mixing vessel. Muddle orange rinds into the liquid. Add ice and stir to chill and combine flavors. Double strain over fresh ice into rocks glass. Garnish with blood orange round.
A Night In Normandy
- 1 oz. Calvados VSOP
- 1/2 oz. Trimbach Liqueur de Poire
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
- 2 dashes Orange Bitters
- Top with sparkling wine
Preparation: Combine calvados, pear liqueur, lemon, bitters and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake to combine flavors and chill. Strain into a coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine.