Aqua vitae was typically prepared by distilling wine; it was sometimes called "spirits of wine" in English texts, a name for brandy that had been repeatedly distilled.
Aqua vitae was often an etymological source of terms applied to important locally produced distilled spirits. Examples include whiskey (from the Gaelic uisce beatha), eau de vie in France, acquavite in Italy, and akvavit in Scandinavia, okowita in Poland, ??????? (okovyta) in Ukraine, ??????? (akavita) in Belarus, and ??????? (yakovita) in southern Russian dialects.