Wow. The first whiff of the light but heady alcohol burn boomeranged me right back to the dark little shed in France where my French dad, René-Pierre, was beginning the process of making mirabelle eau de vie. The mirabelle plum is a petite yellow fruit, delicate and sweet, almost floral in nature, and very easy to eat a lot of. I remember watching René-Pierre stirring the bright plums that floated in a contrasting dark wooden barrel, and that the dense smell of fermentation nearly overwhelmed the sweetness of the fruit. The air in the shed was hot and close, the sunshine on the grass outside offering a promise of space and fresh air. I was too young to realize how special the moment was.
Sipping the eau de vie tonight was nearly as good as time-travel; eyes closed, leaning in to the glass, I couldn’t speak for several seconds. I’m torn between wanting to drink it again as soon as possible–the one I drank is locally made–and wanting to give the experience time to recede, so that it will regain its power.