(n.) A generic term for a spirit distilled from a fermented fruit base or sugarcane that is defined differently from country to country. The name is a compound from the Spanish agua (water) and ardiente (burning), so it should come as no surprise that many of these spirits are high-proof. Different countries have varying definitions for local aguardientes, usually having to do with the base material of the spirit or added flavorings. In Portugal, the spirit is made from wine or pomace and it is frequently used to fortify port. In the Caribbean and some Central and South American countries, it is made from sugarcane and can be bottled with no flavoring (Costa Rica) or flavored with anise (Colombia).

Tagged: anise, spirit, wine