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With extensive fruit cultivation in many areas, Switzerland has plenty of distilled spirits or liquor (Schnapps, eau de vie, aquavite) to choose from, king of which must be powerful Kirsch (cherry spirit) from Zug and around Lake Luzern. Plums and quetsches go to make Zwetschgenwasser or eau de vie de quetsche. A kind of mini-plum known as a damassine, which was reputedly brought back from Damascus by a crusading knight and which now grows only in the Ajoie region of Canton Jura, is distilled into a delectably fragrant eau de vie also called Damassine; it’s sold only at the distillery itself and the Jura tourist office in Saignelégier, and is well worth making the journey for. Apple-spirits turn up as Träsch, Gravensteiner and many more, while Valaisian pears go to make aromatic Williamine. The Ticino nurtures its own, quite unique range of grappa, a heady firewater made from grape-skins.
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