Liquors are alcohols that are made from fermented grains and plants. Also known as spirits, some of your favorite drinks likely fall into this category: rum, tequila, gin, vodka, whiskey, and brandy. The difference between liquors comes down to the main ingredient and how it’s processed.
What’s the Difference Between Various Liquors?
Vodka can have a variety of flavors depending on its main ingredient. Typically, vodka is distilled from potatoes and cereal grains like rye, wheat, and barley. Occasionally, vodka will be made from non-traditional ingredients like grapes. In the United States, vodka will typically have an ABV of 40%.
While grapes are a rare ingredient for vodka, they’re the most common one for brandy. First, the grapes are fermented into wine. To make brandy, a craft distillery and stillhouse would then distill the wine with low heat to concentrate the alcohol content and make the flavor more potent. Then, it undergoes an aging process in oak barrels. For even more flavor profiles, you can mix brandy with other brandies and water.
3. Whiskey (or Whisky)
Whiskey is one of the most varied liquor types. The type of grain, aging process, and grain used are just a few of the elements that will affect the taste. Its location will affect the spelling. Whiskey with an -ey means that your spirit has been distilled in the United States or Ireland. Whisky is made in Scotland.
While whiskey is usually associated with a warm and richer flavor, it ultimately depends on how it’s made. Certain whiskeys have a different ratio of ingredients: rye whiskey has at least 51% rye, for instance. Scotch whisky is a luxury that has even become an option for investors.
Unlike other liquors, tequila can be made from just one ingredient. Only the Weber Azul agave plant can make tequila, and it’s found in just five Mexican states. Although it always comes from the same plant, the taste of tequila will vary depending on the quality of the agave plant. Certain brands have different methods and standards for harvesting, trimming, pressing, and distilling the agave, which comes through in the final taste.
To get gin’s iconic taste, you’ll distill a grain alcohol with juniper berries. The juniper is what classifies this alcohol as gin. In recent years, it’s been common to add other seeds, flowers, and plants to introduce notes of other tastes to the predominant juniper flavor.
Rum is the sweetest liquor on this list and can be one of the strongest. While its typical ABV level is 40% like the other spirits mentioned, overproof rum can have an alcohol concentration of up to 75%. The main ingredients in rum are either sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice, which explains its sweet flavor. This clear liquor is often associated with the tropical lifestyle of Caribbean countries.From unique tastes to varying levels of alcohol concentration, there’s sure to be a liquor that you’ll enjoy. Learn more about how alcohol is made by visiting a distillery and tasting a few new flavors!