Author Topic: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters  (Read 3631 times)

Offline Chooselife

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Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« on: January 29, 2016, 06:55:58 AM »
Diverting from this thread http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=2363.30

If you like the wine wait untill you try the beer, the coffee and the fire waters

What's a fire water? ???
Well Aguardente to which the direct translate would be "burning water" rather than the commonly accepted "firewater" is what Portuguese call to the product obtained by fermentation and later distillation of sugared or sweet musts, vegetable macerations, or mixtures of the two so you can have Aguardente of pretty much everything.
What everyone know as Vodka could be known as Aguardente de Batata (Potato Firewater).

Now Portugal being a wine producing country has access to a premium must which is the Bagaço (bagasse). After smashing the grapes, fermenting them to produce the wine you are left with the sub-product called the Bagaço, this is then distilled in order to produce Aguardente de Bagaço.

Since it is so commonly available here, in any Café or Restaurant if you ask for an Aguardente without mentioning "of what" you'll be presented with and Aguardente de Bagaço.

Usually a spirit of questionable quality - like Bell's whisky :)
Now the quality argument when applied to Portuguese fire water is restrictive since there really, really good Aguardente's made with premium grapes bagasses and so sold at premium prices.

Now what's usually questionable is the origin since being highly alcoholic it is usually more prone to taxes so most of the "good stuff" sold at the local "non-tourist" cafés if sold over the counter but are usual the very best "fire waters" since they are usually made on small familiar farms who don't produce enough grapes to make wine but end up with high quality bagasses.

Other very typical and very good Portuguese firewater is Aguardente de Medronho, the fruit of the Arbutus unedo known as Strawberry Tree.


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Offline hunnymonster

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 08:07:03 AM »
So aguardente is firewater in the same sense as Branntwein (literally burned wine) in German is a spirit drink (same as brennvin in Norwegian) - as opposed to the rough alcohol that the settlers in the US used to trade with the native Americans
Whatever it is, it's probably in the post from Germany...

Offline Chooselife

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2016, 08:35:01 AM »
Exactly.
Like the Brazilian Cachaça obtained by destilating sugar cane or Tequila using blue agave.

Offline hunnymonster

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 08:39:12 AM »
Every day is a school day :)

Offline Chooselife

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 08:47:48 AM »
Aguardentes differ from other spirits or hard liquors by using only one main ingredient and no flavouring.
Whiskey on the other hand use a combination of grains and gin made by redestillation of spirits together with juniper berries and other botanics.

Offline hunnymonster

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 09:46:26 AM »
Whiskey perhaps - malt whisky must be malted barley only! Which is why I made the comment about Bell's & firewater :)

Offline Chooselife

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2016, 07:47:36 AM »
malt whisky must be malted barley only!

Malt whisky is done by distillation of malted grains but not exclusivity barley. Although barley is usually the main grain in the mash.
"Malt" refers to the fact that the grains are "pre-germinated" and then dried. The germination process although halted will produce enzimes that will change the flavour and aromas of the final product.

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Re: Introduction to Portuguese Firewaters
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2016, 07:50:42 AM »
Whisky (ie. Scotch) must comply with regulations or it cannot be called whisky. Malt whisky only contains malted barley. Single malt contains only barley and is produced from a single distillery. Grain whisky can contain any grains at all, malted or not.


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