Drinkable alcohol is of the ethanol variety and is extracted from corn, wheat, and fruits. These vegetables and fruits contain sugar which, when broken down by certain bacteria, leads to the production of raw ethanol. The alcohol is then purified, cleaned, and flavored before being used in drinks.
Here is a list of the most common alcohol consumed by people and where they come from.
Vodka originated in Russia and was traditionally made from potatoes. Now it is industrially manufactured from wheat, corn, rye, molasses, and also potatoes. Some companies produce vodka from the rectified spirit or raw distilled ethanol. They purify it and make a solution of 37.5% alcohol. Despite every company having different brand images and claiming that their methods are the only right way to create original vodka, there isn’t that big difference in the tastes of the different bottles.
Rum is a sweet liquor produced in the Caribbean, American, Indian and Philippine countries. It is extracted from sugarcane and used in cocktails and cooking. The distilled liquid is aged in oak barrels to give it a distinct color and flavor. Rum can be light and dark depending on how long it’s aged, the latter being used more for cooking and not within drinks.
Gin is a medicinal drink traditionally used by monks and doctors to heal and strengthen human bodies. It is produced from grapes, juniper berries, and grains. Gin is herbal and often flavored with spices and fruits, and it’s usually drunk clear and tonic.
Tequila is another sweet drink produced from the blue agave plant grown in Tequila. It is a dark golden or warm amber and can taste fruity or earthy. Drinkable Tequila can be 38-55% in alcohol percentage.
Whiskey is extracted from a fermented grain mash of barley, rye, and wheat. It has been evolving since the 2nd century when the Babylonians first practiced it. Over time we’ve started to age whiskey in sherry or white oak barrels to give it a clear caramel color and a smoother finish.
Bourbon is a whiskey produced only from grain mashes consisting primarily (51%) corn. It is frequently used in cooking savory and sweet dishes and also just drunk neat with ice.
Scotch is yet another whiskey-type alcohol made from malt only. It originated in Scotland and has a smoky flavor from being aged in wooden barrels for three years. There are various types of Scotch depending on the process and what kind of distilleries were used.
Cognac is of nutty, honey, caramel, or vanilla flavor and originated in Cognac, France. It is twice distilled in copper pot distilleries and then aged in oak barrels. Cognac is often aged far longer than required to improve flavor.
Brandy can be produced from pomace, fruit, and grain. Then, it is distilled alcohol and is customarily a drink reserved for after meals. Brandy may be aged, colored or a variation of both. Unlike wine, it is produced with early grapes or fruits that haven’t had time to sweeten: the higher acid concentration and low sugar. Brandy is 35-60% alcohol.