Spirits and More
Spirits, also referred to as liquor, include a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, but they all share two characteristics: they are distilled and they have higher alcohol by volume, or ABV, compared with other alcoholic drinks. The base can be a grain or sugar derived from fruits or vegetables, which is then put through a yeast-based alcoholic fermentation. To become a spirit, the resulting liquid is then distilled to further increase the alcoholic content to anywhere from 20% to sometimes even as high as 90%.
While there are many different spirits, they can all be traced back to six main categories: brandy, whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila and rum. Each of these types of spirits have their own classifications as to what they can be distilled from, the actual distillation method(s) permitted and the ultimate alcoholic content. They also tend to have particular style characteristics, such as herbal and dry notes for gin and clean and neutral for gin. Many often think of spirits as the base for cocktails, but many high quality spirits can also be drunk neat or on the rocks for a truly characteristic expression.