Waterpocket Eau de Mélisse
Our product spotlight for August is Waterpocket's Eau de Mélisse - the second release in their Long Lost series. If you haven't listened to Alan talk about the Long Lost series, head over to that episode right now and get your mind blown. Here's the gist: the Long Lost series explores the history of distillation, particularly in the realm of botanical spirits and liqueurs, looking for forgotten gems of the distillation arts.
For Eau de Mélisse, Waterpocket took a look at the traditions of France. In particular, this distillation is their take on a spirit which was originally crafted in the Carmelite convents of Northern France. Believe it or not we even have a Carmelite Convent right here in Utah - and the Carmelite Fair is a big hit every year in Holladay. Perhaps the perfect way to spend an afternoon and a flask of Eau de Mélisse? Be sure to share a pull with your local nuns if you go this route.
But let's get back to the spirits. Once also known as Eau de Mélisse des Carmes, this was a famous "elixir" distilled using fresh herbs and spices, primarily lemon balm. Mélisse or Melissa is a common name for Lemon Balm in Europe, derived from the Greek word for honeybee, a favorite visitor to this hardy and aromatic member of the mint family. Like absinthe, chartreuse, and other spirits with a medicinal pedigree, over time this spirit was eventually designed and consumed for pleasure and flavor. One branch of the development this spirit even ended in the realm of perfumery. Today Eau de Mélisse can be found in Europe as a topical scent with a perceived holistic effect (the essential oils crowd loves it).
To us here at Grape and Grain, Eau de Mélisse perfectly captures the essence of the Long Lost series - researching this spirit can lead one down almost infinite rabbit holes of history. For example, Cardinal Richelieu was known to always keep a vial of Eau de Mélisse tucked into his robes as he navigated 17th century French politics. And in Carmes, where the spirit was first made, the monks were forced to pay a hefty bribe to local pharmacists to ensure distribution. I suppose it may be a relief to some Utah distillers knowing that distribution headaches on this particular spirit date back several hundred years. As it gained popularity, this drink even became the victim of a counterfeiting scheme in France.
And then it mostly vanished from the Earth, which is why we are so excited that Eau de Mélisse has been resurrected here in Utah. The spirit occupies a fascinating place at the intersection of citrus and herbal, with hints of warming spices. Fans of the Vesper Martini may enjoy a Martini Alla Melissa - 2oz of Eau de Mélisse and 0.5 oz of Lillet Blanc shaken over ice and strained.
Waterpocket Eau de Mélisse is $34.99 and available in EXTREMELY limited quantity direct from the folks who make it at 2084 W 2200 S in West Valley City. Head to the Waterpocket Distillery and experience some new, and very old, flavors today!