Eau de vie is an alcoholic beverage extracted by distillation of fermented products such as wine, cider, marc, sugar cane, cereals, fruit, rice, etc. The term, borrowed from the alchemists, comes from the Latin “aquae vitae”: the water that gives life. In the Middle Ages, eau de vie was prized for its medical virtues (antiseptic).

The most famous French brandies are Armagnac and Cognac (wine brandies), Calvados (cider brandy) and fruit brandies.