The various types of Alcohol Spirits
Alcohol beverages are classified into beers, wines and spirits. There are several types of alcohol spirits which are further divided into several sub types that have different alcohol concentrations and flavors.
What are Types of alcohol spirits
Alcohol is man’s most revered drink with its production and consumption dating back thousands of years .Man initially made alcohol from fermenting grains and grapes and consumed the product .In some religions like ancient Judaism, wine was incorporated into religious rituals. However, from the middle ages when scientific experimentation was at its infancy ,many alchemist managed to distillate wine and increase alcohol content to around 40% by use of heat. The alcohol vapor that was released was what gave the resulting drink the name spirit.
Today, we have perfected the art of distillation and several types of alcohol spirits, some of which have alcohol concentrations of above 90% have been made. The process of distillation has not changed much since the main process entails removing the water from the water-ethanol(alcohol) solution so as to increase the alcohol solution. In addition to this, residues that could not be removed in earlier processes are no longer a problem and accelerated ageing of drinks that taste better with age(like Brandy) is now possible.
The main types of Alcohol spirits are:
Gin is distilled from juniper berries which it derives its name from. Once considered a remedy for the plague, it is one of the most popular type of alcohol spirit in the northern hemisphere. The main types of gin include; sloe gin ,Damson gin and Dry Gin which has an alcohol concentration of close to 100%. Gin generally has alcohol concentration of more than 40%
We mainly associate Rum with sneering pirates singing about dead men’s chests .Rum is an alcoholic spirit that is made from the fermentation and distillation of sugarcane or from molasses .It was a highly popular drink in the 16th to 18th century and was a major item of trade from the Caribbean where it was produced and most of it was exported to Europe. To this day, Rum remains a popular alcoholic drink in the Caribbean and South America. The main types of rum include Light rum, Dark and Gold rums which are mainly used for cocktails and the Premium Rums that have a high concentration of alcohol and are more expensive.
Whisky is derived from fermented grain and can be distilled from fermented barley, wheat, corn and rye and matured in white Oak barrels. The Irish and the Scots perfected the art of making whiskey although the earlier versions were quite rough compared to the smooth whiskey drinks we enjoy today. Usually whiskeys are categorized according to the type of grain used to produce it. They include
- Bourbon whiskey-Made from corn
- Rye whiskey-Made from rye
- Wheat whiskey-Made from whiskey
- Malt whiskey-Made from malted barley.
- Blended whiskey-Made from a variety of grains
- The British spread the knowledge of distilling whiskeys to their colonies and today, Americans,
- Australians and Canadians have their own types of whiskeys.
- The practice also spread across Europe and nations like Germany and Denmark have their own blends. Whiskeys usually have an alcohol content of at least 45%
This is a popular type of alcohol spirit made from distilled grapes though some brandies are made from coconut flowers, apples, peaches and various types of berries. Brandy has an alcohol content of between 40 to 45% though some have higher concentrations and the Cyprus brandy has only 32%ethanol.Due to the history of grape growing all over Europe especially Southern Europe and France, Brandy is the most popular spirit across the continent with the Cognac which is from France being a world renowned Brandy.
Other types of alcohol spirits include Tequila which is derived from the blue agave tree found near the city of Tequila in Mexico and is virtually the national drink there and Vodka ,mainly made from rye and wheat and originates from Eastern Europe particularly Russia.
The types of alcohol spirits is almost inexhaustible thus cannot be covered by this article alone but the consumer is certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to variety.