Sardinian aquavite is a traditional alcoholic beverage of the island, also known by the names File e ferru, Abba ardente and Filu 'e ferru. It is a high alcohol beverage, colorless and with no aroma, but can have hints similar to those of wine and pomace. There are also variants flavored with essences typical of Sardinia, such as arbutus or wild fennel seeds.
Acquavite is made through a process of double distillation of wines and/or pomace at a controlled temperature, discarding the head and tail of the distillate. The pomace, which is a by-product of the winemaking process, is stored and then transported to licensed distilleries, where it is combined with the wines and double-distilled in special stills. The body of the distillate, which makes up the drink, is then stored in oak barrels and subjected to a maturation period of at least one year.
Sardinian acquavite is a traditional drink of the island, consumed since time immemorial both as a liqueur and as an ingredient in various recipes. Its manufacture originally took place in an artisanal manner, in distilleries attached to the domestic cellar, which often also housed a room (bettola) intended for the retail sale of the wine and spirits, as well as the convivial on-site consumption of the alcoholic beverages produced. However, with the advent of the State Monopoly Law, the artisanal production of brandy was banned permanently.
What are the origins of the name File e ferru?
The name "File e ferru," by which the spirit is known in Sardinian, comes precisely from the prohibition period, when artisanal production continued clandestinely. To escape controls, the distillate was stored in glass bottles that, tied with wire, were buried deep in the family garden or backyard, leaving a small piece of the wire out for later tracking.