Aquadiente – The water of life here in Galicia

So you have made wine. Hopefully, in time, you have transferred the wine from the barrels to suitable containers whilst filtering a bit. Stainless steel is good, but tnow the 15 and 20L cartons are available here as well.

wine barrels - farting

What’s left in the barrels looks like this.what's left after taking the wine

Taken out of the barrels and put into sturdy plastic sacks, this can be left in a cool dark place until you find a nice knowledgeable neighbour who has one of these.


Sunday morning at 9 am I was “ordered” by Muncho and Pepe to appear with a gas bottle in my neighbours bodega. When I arrived there the “pote” was already being set up and I helped filling this with about 200+ liters of barrel scrapings. It actually doesn’t smell too bad, except when you open a sack an it has turned to vinegar….. (this you can’t and you don’t want to use).

A very fierce burner is ignited and I also had to get a bucket of hot water to stand the gas bottle in, otherwise it would just ice over. Once the mash starts steaming and the undesirable alcohol may have evaporated, the still is closed and the steam tube is connected to the cooling. This is a copper spiral in a copper vat full of water.

Within minutes a steady trickle appears and the flame is regulated down to just keep this trickling. This is where the years of experience come in. Too fast and too much impurities and volitaile oils are destilled as well. Except for some adjustments and testing of the “potency” nowadays it is a very relaxing job.

It’s great to have coffee on a bench close by as one can just hold the cup under the outlet and voila cafes con is ready, just be quick as it is near pure alcohol dribbling out It’s a great time for swapping stories. Pepe told me that in earlier times, as a temporary spring job, he used to travel with his “pote” to villages in the area of Pontevedra, stay in a village for days or a week and distill. It wasn’t that easy as in those time one used wood to fire the distillation and it needed constant attention – 24h a day – as he would do 2-3 runs a day. A 300 liter “pote” filled with 200+ liters of mash takes a good 6-8 hours by the way.

I honestly wasn’t expecting to be told at the end – it’s all yours! – all 28 liters of it.

aquadiente in flaconsany bottle will do for aquadiente

Helping to clean up and discarding of the grape rests (except for the viegary ones it does not smell too bad),  I was told by Carmen that this makes excellent “abono” (feed). Mix into the compost and apply to the plants.

Just not too close or you may end up with lots of these….we love aquadiente

Now we have been given the recipe to make coffee liquor and some other “nice booze” we will still have plenty left to “preserve” spring, summer and autumn fruits. This will make great “chupitas” to serve alongside coffee or tea when the weather turns. Bit early, but already looking forward to the degustation.


PS. Language pit fall – Do not use the word “chupita” = shot in Mexico as it is slang for a prostitute.
PPS. I may further improve this by using active carbon. 0.5-1mm granuals in a 1,5 meter 40mm inside tube is said to give best results. I’m thinking on how to rigg this up.