Every springtime in the lovely Alsace region of France, people stand in blossoming pear orchards, sliding glass bottles over tender young pears. The workers fasten the bottles securely to nearby branches, and then wait a few months for each tiny pear to grow and ripen in its own little glass greenhouse.
This is the astonishing, age-old tradition first invented in Alsace in the 1700s and known as eau de vie de poire, or pear water of life.
Lately, pear-in-the bottle brandy has made a comeback in America — a kind of artful flourish from the fast-growing sector of locavore, craft brandies. In keeping with the farm-to-table movement, dozens of distilleries in the U.S. are now crafting dry, fragrant spirits from other mashed and fermented fruits, too — like cherries, pears, plums, raspberries, apples and peaches — sourced from local orchards.