The recipe for the crystal-clear spice liqueur is more than 400 years old. It is a strong (35% ABV) root and herbal liqueur which has been produced since at least 1598 in Danzig (Gdańsk). As the name implies, Danzig Goldwater contains real, 22-carat gold shavings. It also contains cardamom, caraway, nutmeg, rose petals and many other spices. Due to the liqueur’s high viscosity, the gold shavings float around in the bottle.
The most prominent characteristic of this alcoholic beverage is small flakes of 22 or 23 karat gold suspended in it. Alcoholic solutions were used by artists for Gilding, which is believed to be the inspiration for the drink. Alchemy, which was at its high point in the late 16th century when Goldwasser appeared, held gold to have many desirable medical properties; while modern medicine disputes this, native gold is known to be non-toxic to humans and to pass through the digestive tract unchanged, unlike most other heavy metals. Since the flakes are extremely small and thin, the price is not prohibitive. When used as a food additive, Gold is labelled as E175; see List of food additives, Codex Alimentarius.
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