The flavors of fall are evocative of the season and work so well in cocktails and spirits, too. For this particular fall cocktail I use a crisp, fine pear brandy. But first we need to back up, all the way to 17th century France, where an Alsatian monk may or may not have (as with all great cocktail lore) fermented some mashed up cherries to create a restorative and curative elixir which he called “eau de vie”, French for “water of life”. Eau de vie are clear distilled fruit brandies, unaged and bursting with the intense essential flavor from which they are derived. Very different from fruit liqueurs, which are sweet and satisfying in their own right, eau de vie are dry and highly aromatic. Technically, any distilled spirit is an eau de vie. For example, Scotch, which is distilled from malted barley, derives the name “whisky” from a Gaelic word meaning “water of life”. But typically eau de vie refers to the clear fruit brandies, and there are plenty of great fall options.
As mentioned I selected a perfect pear brandy "eau de vie", which we can consider a “water of fall”. Coincidentally, I have just the box pair with this pear. Considered by many to be a master of the art, Kagen Sound (nee Schaeffer) crafts his artisanal puzzle boxes in Colorado using his mathematical mind and wood working techniques usually reserved for fine musical instruments. One of his modern masterpieces is the “Waterfall” box set. My “Waterfall” cocktail is based off the “water of fall” pear brandy, and adds fresh lemon juice, maple syrup (for that eau so autumn sweetness) and fresh apple cider via a muddled crisp apple. This eau de vie brings the joie de vivre! It’s a modest homage to the amazing Waterfall Box masterpiece, and a lovely treat you’re sure to “fall” for. Cheers!
2 oz Pear Eau de Vie
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
¼ seasonal apple, cubed with skin and core
Dash of black walnut bitters
In a mixing tin, muddle the apple and maple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients, shake with ice and double strain into a favorite glass.
For the full article including a description of the stunning Waterfall Box see:
Boxes and Booze: Chasing Waterfalls