What is Liquor?
A distilled beverage, spirit, liquor, hard liquor or hard alcohol is an alcoholic beverage produced by distillation of a mixture produced from alcoholic fermentation. This process purifies it and removes diluting components like water, for the purpose of increasing its proportion of alcohol content.
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is the ingredient found in beer, wine, and spirits that cause drunkenness. Alcohol is formed when yeast ferments (breaks down without oxygen) the sugars in different food.
- Brandy / Cognac
Whiskey is a spirit, aged in wood, obtained from the distillation of a fermented mash of grain. Whiskey is produced in four countries: the United States, Canada, Scotland, and Ireland. The whiskeys produced in Canada, Ireland, and Scotland take on the name of their countries. Whiskeys produced in other countries, even though they may taste similar, cannot legally be called Canadian, Irish, or Scotch.
Brandy is a potable spirit, distilled from a fermented mash of grapes or other fruit. Most brandy is distilled from wine. White wine, made from white grapes, is used most often. A wine that has recently finished its fermentation process makes the best brandy. An aged wine, even if it is of superior quality, won’t make a good brandy.
Gin is distilled from grain and receives its unique flavor and aroma from juniper berries and other botanicals. Every gin producer has his own special recipe, which is under strict quality control. The flavor of gin will vary with the distiller. Gin was first produced in Holland by Dr. Sylvius, a Dutch physician, during the 17th century. He named it Genievre, the French word for the juniper berry. It was the English who shortened the name to gin. Brought from Holland into England by English soldiers, who called it “Dutch Courage”, gin soon became the national drink of England and has so remained.
Rum is produced wherever sugar cane grows. Many countries, such as the United States, South Africa, and even Russia, produce rum, but it is only the Caribbean Islands that produce rum in quantities sufficient for worldwide export. The islands in the Caribbean each produce a distinctive type of rum, the result of the base material used, the method of distillation, and the length of maturation. Generally, the islands where the Spanish language is spoken, such as Puerto Rico, produce light, dry-tasting rums. The English-speaking Caribbean islands produce dark, heavy-tasting rums.
Tequila, the primary spirit of Mexico, has its own special flavor that is almost tart and leaves the tongue clean and tingling. In the 1970s, tequila became the fastest growing spirit in sales, as vodka did in the 1960s. Tequila is obtained from the distillation of the fermented juice (sap) of the mescal plant, called pulque.
Like whiskey, vodka is distilled from a fermented mash of grain, but they differ in the methods of distillation. Whiskey is distilled at a low proof to retain flavor. Vodka, however, is distilled at a high proof, 190 or above, and then processed even further to remove all flavor. Most American distillers filter their vodkas through activated charcoal. Also, whiskey is aged, and vodka is not.
Liqueurs (or Cordials)
The words liqueurs and cordials are used interchangeably. Liqueurs were first developed by the Christian monks of the middle ages. They were developed to help the sick. The monks added secret combinations of honey, seeds, herbs, spices, roots, and bark to distilled-base spirits and offered them as remedies.
Wines & Champagne
- Red Wine– wine having a red color derived from skins of dark-colored grapes.
- White Wine – any wine of a clear, transparent color, bordering on white, as Madeira, sherry, Lisbon, etc.; — distinguished from wines of a deep red color, as port and Burgundy.
- Rose Wine – pinkish table wine from red grapes whose skins were removed after fermentation began.
- Champagne – a sparkling white wine made from a blend of grapes, especially Chardonnay and pinot, produced in Champagne.
- Sparkling Wine– any of various effervescent wines, such as champagne, produced by a process involving fermentation in the bottle.
- Vermouth – a sweet or dry fortified wine flavored with aromatic herbs and used chiefly in mixed drinks.
Liquor & Spirit Bottle Sizes
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