Monday, 20 December 2010
Memorable Tipple: Plum Eau-de-Vie
When thinking about what might be the most appropriate tipple for Christmas, I am always reminded of a holiday I took in Exmoor in a tent with three friends of mine where the booze flowed freely even if much of it lacked the label of quality control. I think I went a bit mad in the supermarket in the preamble that we made to the Raynes Park Tescos, buying all manner of filthy liquor including such delights as Spanish Brandy, Clan Macgegor blended scotch, limoncello and some filthy Gewürztraminer...
I had also picked up a very dusty bottle of crystal clear spirit from the wine rack at home without really checking it out. My theory had been that it wasn’t being consumed, therefore would not be missed. I think when I asked, my mother waved it out of the door with relief. One look at the bottle should have give me an indication that this stuff could cause serious tunnel vision. However I was feeling impulsive and rash, as one does on holiday and packed it in with our provisions.
One the first night, over a game of Scrabble (in which I was attempting to get away with some very dubious word combinations) I decided that the party needed a pep and produced this potent little bottle from the back of the car. When I turned with the bottle I saw some concerned looks. In my time I had subjected these particular friends to a couple of dubious spirits and they were perhaps a little apprehensive of this one!
With a bit of persuading - rather feeble at that - I compelled them to take a sup. ‘Fuck!’ was the first response I was greeted with, followed by ‘It’s burning the back of my throat, is this the bottle you keep the white spirit in?’. I must admit, it is a bit harsh, but the beauty is in after-taste where the drinker is hit with a delicious, fragrant and slightly resionous scent of plums. I would warn drinkers that a little goes a long way as I found out the next morning when my head felt like someone had coshed it with a sledgehammer. I received little sympathy from my friends who had not quite held the same appreciation that I did for the plum eau de vie.
Ever since this drink seems to have become infamous and on boozy suppers is the topic of much mirth when recalled in the Henry Rubinstein hall of drinking excellence. It is far too overpriced in this country but if you happen to go to the Alsace where it is made for next to nothing, I recommend purchasing a bottle (around £10-15)