Happy Thirsty Thursday!
Open Your Heart to Eau de Vie
Before last Tuesday, I wasn’t a fan of Eau de Vie. While you seem really cool when you order one as a digestif, they usually taste like fruit-flavored ethanol. Eau de Vie, French for “water of life,” is a spirit distilled from fermented fruits. It’s about 80 proof, bone dry, and typically served at the end of the meal to aid in digestion. From my own experience, the un-aged brandy spirits are pretty nasty, but CH Distillery took on the challenge and created a line of fruit-based spirits that reassured my undying love for their authentically passionate approach to the science of distillation. Using local fruits, they created their own line of Eau de Vie. The spirits are delicious on their own, but even better when paired with a bite. I was lucky enough to attend their launch party on Tuesday, and I got to sample all four brandies next to a pairing. We enjoyed the peach with Le Pommier French camembert, the quince with membrillo paste and Marcona almonds, the pear with Stagberry salami from Smoking Goose, and finally the cherry with dark chocolate.
The pairings were well executed, but I want to see these each of these spirits next to their own cheese partner. When pairing high proof spirits, it’s best to choose cheeses that are both rich and robust. You need a lot of fattyness to coat the mouth, which helps you comprehend the complexity in the spirit, but you also want a strong enough flavor to compete. If I were the millionaire matchmaker, here are the couples I’d want to see get together:
Pear Eau de Vie with Chiriboga
Quince Eau de Vie with Perails de Brebis
Cherry Eau de Vie with 1655 Gruyere
And I’d keep the peach and the camembert together. They’re clearly made for each other.
Eau de Vie
Best for: Mixologists and those who like it strong
Pair with: fatty, robust cheeses
Find it: at liquor stores in Chicago