Purple Palate Blog

Fruit Spirits

Fruit Spirits

 

Wherever fruit is grown, a spirit can (is usually made).

They may have terms such as Wasser, Geist, or Eau-de-vie, and they capture the essence of the fruit.

The raw materials are generally divided into 3 types.

Pip fruits such as Williams Pear, stone fruits such as Kirsch, and berries/soft fruit (Xuxu strawberry).

 

2 techniques are used prior to distillation.

Fermentation, where fruit is crushed, then cultured yeast added to create a low alcohol wine (around 5%ABV).

An important choice is to leave the pit or stone in the fermenter, as they add distinct aromas and flavours.

Kirsch without stones is a very cherry flavour but with stones it exudes a marzipan flavour.

The stone need to be undamaged or the flavour can be overwhelming. Stones are normally extracted before distillation.

Maceration is mainly used for soft berries and fruits and are diluted in neutral alcohol rather than fermented to extract flavours ready for distillation.

Both give different levels of flavours, with macerated getting a very intense flavour while fermented has less flavour intensity.

 

Distillation maybe done in double pot stills, or column stills and distilled up to 86% ABV to capture the fragrant most volatile essences, then are diluted back using demineralised water, or a diluted blend of spirit and water.

 

Generally fruit spirits are unaged, but many producers rest the spirit in stainless steel of glass demijohns.

If matured in wood then Ash is used rather than the more dominant oaks.

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