Did you know there are actually only seven core spirits?
Often confused with liquor, spirits typically have a higher alcohol content than other alcoholic beverages and can be enjoyed in cocktails, with mixers, or simply poured over ice.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about spirits, including:
- What’s a spirit drink?
- What’s the difference between alcohol and spirits?
- What are the different types of spirits?
- Are liqueurs the same as spirits?
- What are wines spirits?
What is a spirit drink?
As mentioned briefly above, a spirit has a higher alcohol content than other types of alcoholic beverages. In fact, spirits are the highest ABV products of the yeast-based fermentation of a liquid brewed to have fermentable sugars. However, unlike beer and wine, alcoholic spirits also undergo a second step known as “distillation” which further fortifies them.
Each distilled alcoholic spirit has its own unique flavor and specific concentration of alcohol due to slight variations in the distillation process.
What’s the difference between alcohol and spirits?
While all spirits are alcoholic by nature, not all alcoholic beverages are spirits. Beer, wine, and cider are all types of alcohol, but none of these are considered alcoholic spirits. This is because they have not been made via the distillation process.
This involves working with a fermented liquid as a base and then separating the drink by boiling and condensing it to increase the alcoholic content.
Beer, wine, and other fermented beverages are limited to a maximum alcoholic content of around 18% alc/vol. However, by definition, distilled spirits have to have a minimum alcoholic strength of 15% volume, and all have an alcoholic content of over 40 ABV.
Explore all our Sip & Say spirits here and find the perfect tipple to help you relax after a long day, but remember to enjoy responsibly to avoid alcohol abuse.
What are the different types of spirits?
There are seven core spirits, many of which you are likely already familiar with. These are as follows:
One of the most popular spirits on the market, vodka is distilled from high-starch plants, most commonly the humble potato. Known for its fairy undistinctive flavor, vodka can also be made using rye, grains, or beets.
Vodka is typically not aged and is most famously made in Russia.
Another hugely popular spirit, gin, is distilled from grain. There are many different flavors of gin, but you can also get unflavored ones that typically taste of the juniper berry, citrus, or sometimes even malt wine, depending on how they are made. Flavored gins tend to be sweeter and come in flavors such as peach, lemon, cherry, passion fruit, rhubarb, and so many more.
Gin is also not aged and is most famously made in London.
Tequila is made from fermented agave and boasts a sweet and earthy flavor, although this can vary depending on where the agave was grown. Some tequilas are aged in barrels or casks, while others are blended.
Tequila is known for being one of the most powerful spirits available and originated in Mexico.
Rum is most commonly distilled from a form of sugar such as molasses or sugar cane. It is known for tasting much sweeter than the other spirits.
There are many different types of rum available such as dark rum, light rum, and golden rum. Some taste sweeter than standard rum, while others have a more oaky flavor depending on how they have been aged and where they were made.
Rum is produced in nearly every sugar-producing region of the world.
Whiskey is made by distilling malted grains such as rye, corn, wheat, and barley. Whiskey is one of the most diverse spirits and boasts many distinct flavors depending on where it is made. Some of the most popular types of whiskey include scotch, rye, and bourbon, all of which taste very different.
Whiskey is usually aged in oak casks and is most commonly associated with Scotland.
A less common spirit, mezcal, is sometimes considered to be a type of tequila as it is also distilled from agave. However, the difference between tequila and mezcal lies in the distillation process.
Tequila is made exclusively from blue agave, which is either cooked or steamed before being fermented and distilled. Mezcal, however, is created by smoking the hearts or stems of agave in a pit or kiln.
Mezcal is similar in taste to tequila but has a smokier taste due to the distillation process. 70% of mezcal is made in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Brandy is distilled from fermented fruit juice and, as you might expect, boasts a fruity taste. It can also taste either burnt or smoky, depending on if and how it has been aged.
There are many different types of brandy, including cognac, calvados, and pisco. Brandy is most famously made in the regions of Jerez and Andalucía in Spain.
Are liqueurs the same as spirits?
Liqueurs are a type of distilled spirit with a lower alcoholic content than the spirits mentioned above. They are typically made from neutral grain spirits, have a higher sugar content and a less powerful flavor.
Liqueurs are often flavored with fruit and can be consumed on their own over ice, with a mixer, or in a cocktail. Liqueurs are also used in desserts to add flavor, such as coffee liqueur in tiramisu.
There are many different types of liqueurs including cream liqueurs, coffee liqueurs, fruit liqueurs, brandy liqueurs and herbal liqueurs.
What are wine spirits?
Although wine in itself is not a spirit, spirits can be made from wine, and these are sometimes referred to as wine spirits. One of the most famous spirits that is made from wine is brandy. In fact, brandy essentially is a distilled wine.
Here at Sip & Say, we offer a wide range of fine wines and spirits, with options to suit all tastes and budgets. Take a closer look at what we have to offer here.