The term liquor can be used to describe a wide range of alcoholic spirits, made from either variety of fruit, vegetables or cereal which has already been processed through a cycle of fermentation.
What makes liquor so popular is firstly the versatility in styles and tastes of each finished drink, and secondly the higher alcoholic content – or ABV – which different liquors have when compared to other types of alcohol.
Some of the more commonly known liquors include: whisky, rum, vodka and tequila, however, almost any alcohol which is twice (or more) distilled and has an alcohol content of over 20 per cent proof can be classified as such.
It is this high alcohol volume that is also why we sometimes refer to these spirits as hard liquor.
The History of Liquor
Historically, the difference in the curation of liquor is that the distillation process is far more complicated than the more traditional methods in which other type if alcohol is made.
Starting with Greek alchemists as far back as the first century AD, the creation of liquor seems to have always been treated as a science rather than an art, due to the volatile nature of the distillation process and the levels of ethanol which this method creates.
In short, there is an increased likelihood in distilling alcohol that you will either blow up your equipment or give someone alcohol poisoning if you don’t take care in your ingredients, tools and cleanliness of your production environment.
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One of the first appealing aspects of hard liquor is that not only is the alcohol content greatly increased, so is the purity.
This means that liquor is more sterile, had a far lesser chance of spoiling during the ageing process.
This heightened cleanliness leads to the alcohol becoming more transportable, as it could now be exported overseas without spoiling during the weeks of transit in the bowels of merchant ships.
This is what in essence started a multi-billion alcohol export business and also played a large part in increasing the hygiene standards in alcohol production across the board.
The higher the quality of the alcohol; the less chance that it would spoil before being sold.
Sold in lots of guises, spiced, white or dark, rum is versatile liquor which can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways.
Created from sugar cane and molasses, rum is then fermented and then distilled.
One of the best things about rum is that this molasses base works with both sweet and sour mixers, as well as tasting pleasant enough to comfortably enjoy on its own, over ice.
Well known to come from Russia and Eastern Europe, vodka is versatile liquor which can be enjoyed with other alcohols, spirits, Prosecco and soft mixers alike.
Like whisky, vodka is made from cereal or alternatively potatoes.
As this liquor is distilled up to three times, this further removes the impurities and leads to the clear colour that vodka is well known for.
Traditionally, vodka is served neat and should be served either directly from the freezer or over ice, however as it’s taste is quite acrid, it compliments a fruit mixer or side of soda water which can help to dilute its harshness.
Tequila is unusual when compared to other spirits. Made only from the blue agave plant and produced in Tequila, Mexico this spirit has a very distinctive taste, and works well with citrus, tart or sour flavours.
Unlike other spirits, tequila is exported and comes under more specific appellation, therefore there is less variation in style and alcohol content – usually between 40-45 % ABV across the board.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂