Know Your Liquor

Liquor is a generic term used for any alcoholic spirit distilled from vegetables, fruits or fermented grain. It is an alcoholic drink produced from pure distillation rather than sugar fermentation. Below is a list of different types of liquor in the world:

Absinthe - This is French liquor distilled from leaves and flowers of grand wormwood blended with some culinary and medicinal herbs. The alcohol content is high with 45%-74% of arise-flavored spirit.

Arrack - Arrack or Arak is a type of liquor produced in South and Southeast Asia. It is a distillate of fermented sugarcane, sap of coconut flowers, fruits and red rice.

Baijiu - Baijiu is white liquor from China. It is a clear distilled beverage distilled from sorghum to an alcohol content of 40%-60%. There are also some varieties of this type of liquor which are made from millet, barley, wheat and glutinous rice.


Brandy - Brandy, also called 'fire wine' is produced from liquor distilled from mashed fruits mainly grapes. It can also be made from a variety of fruits including plums, pears as well as apples. After distillation it is aged in oak casks to give it a rich color.

Borovicka - This is Slovak liquor flavored with juniper berries. It is also called juniper brandy and is characterized by its golden or white color with a dry taste similar to gin.

Cachaca - With names such as caninha, pinga and aguardente, this is the most popular liquor in Brazil. The drink is a distillate of molasses with the alcohol content being maintained at 38%-40% level.

Gin used in many Cocktails

Gin - Gin is commonly used in many classical cocktails including martinis, Singapore Slings, Tonics, Gins and Negronis. It is a dry spirit produced from distillation of grains and gets its flavor mainly from the juniper berries. Most of gin drinks are clear in color though there are some which appear yellowish as a result of aging in the barrels.

Horilka - Horilka is Ukrainian liquor typically meaning a local type of whiskey. The drink is distilled from grain, sugar beets, honey and potatoes. Traditionally the alcohol content was kept at 20% but today industries have raised that to 40%.

Kaoliang - Kaoliang is a distilled alcoholic beverage produced in China and distributed to Korea, Taiwan.

Maotai - This is an alcoholic drink produced in the town of Maotai in Southwest China. Like most liquor in China, it is distilled from sorghum and it is characterized with its mellowish soy sauce-like fragrance which lingers in the mouth after consumption.

Metaxa - This is a type of liquor distilled in Greek. It is a mixture of wine, spices and brandy to form smooth dry liquor.

Mezcal - This is an alcoholic distillate from a plant known as maguey which is grown in Mexico. The liquor is liked for its dryness and acts as the best alternative for margaritas.

Ogogoro - This is African liquor from Nigeria where it is a popular drink. It is a distillate of Raffia juice from palm trees to form pure ethanol with an alcohol content of 30%-60%.

Pisco - This is a common alcoholic drink in Peru and Chile. It is a typically a distillate of grapes to form a colorless amber-to-yellowish colored brandy.

Rum used in many cocktails

Rum - Rum is known as the favorite liquor for navy sailors and pirates. They are popularly known to mix sugar-water, lime juice and rum to make a pickling drink. Rum is a type of liquor beverage made from the distillation of molasses or sugar juice. Rum is used in drinks like pina coladas, mojitos and rum-and-colas.

Shochu - This is an alcoholic drink from Japan which is distilled from rice, sweet potatoes or barley. It has an alcohol content of 25% which is preferred to the high content in whiskey and vodka.

Tequila - Tequila is officially produced from a plant grown in some parts of Mexico called the blue agave. As a result tequila with 100% of the blue agave is considered pure and goes at a higher price than other liquors. Drinkers of tequila usually take a shot of tequila followed with a spicy tomato juice or a slice of citrus fruit.

Tuica - This is liquor officially prepared from plums and in some cases from a cereal grain called rachie. It is a traditional Romanian Spirit with an alcohol content of 45%-60%.

The Absolute Vodka

Vodka - Vodka is one of the purest spirits in the world hailing from Russia and Eastern Europe. It is odorless, tasteless and clear liquor from the distillation of potatoes, grains and in some times molasses. It is the added water to dissolve the concentration to drinkable liquor. Consumption of this liquor differs according to geographical regions. In Eastern Europe, people usually drink vodka straight and dry while in Western Europe and Americas they usually use it as cocktail.

Whiskey - Whisky is a type of liquor which is distilled from a range of grains. The most common grains used are corn, rye and barley. This type of liquor is first distilled two to three times, and then it is aged in large oak barrels to improve its flavor. Some of the renowned whisky beverages include the Scotch Single-malts such as Laphroaig, Irish blends like Jameson and the American bourbons like Jack Daniels.

In a nutshell the above mentioned types of liquor along with different variations are served around the world, and no bar is complete without some of these core drinks.

Liquor Glasses

Liquor glasses are stylish glassware designed to enhance the experience of having spirits. Alcoholic beverages are served in specific glassware to distinguish the drink. Liquor glasses are a beautiful combination of function and pleasure which highlights the flavor, style, appearance and attitude of each drink. Each shape of the glass is designed in such a way to enhance the drinking experience by accentuating the deep color and movement of the liquid.

Types of Liquor Glasses

Although alcoholic drinks can be served in any type of glass one should realize that the glass in which it is served optimizes the flavor and taste of the drink and brings about the experience of enjoyment. The following are the various types of liquor glasses.

Collins Glass

Collins Glass - This glass is similar to that of a highball glass. This tall glass named basically after a London bartender,was used to serve collin gin drinks but now used commonly to serve soft drinks, tropical juices and alcoholic juices.

Highball Glass - It is a tall, slender glass typically used to serve highball cocktails and other mixed drinks. These glasses are basically designed for drinks that are light and refreshing.

Absinthe Glass - These glasses are specially meant for the absinthe ritual.

Sherry Glass

Sherry Glass - This is a type of glassware meant exclusively for the purpose of serving aromatic alcoholic beverages.

Glencairn Whiskey Glass - This glass is designed and marketed by the Glencairn Crystal Ltd, specially meant to savor the taste of fine whiskey.

Shot Glasses Chess Set

Shot Glasses - They are the traditional forms of liquor glasses and are best known in bars. They are made of a thick glass especially at the base, mainly to withstand the force when slammed on the bar table.

Old Fashioned Glass - This type of glass is also known as arocks glass or lowball glass and is usually used to drink whiskey, scotch, any short mixed drinks or anything served on the rocks.

Whiskey Sour Glass - This glass is somewhat similar to the old-fashioned glass but shaped differently. They are thin stemmed with a wide opening and used to serve whiskey sour which is a mixed drink containing whiskey, sour mix and sugar.

Cocktail Glasses

Cocktail Glass - This is a stemmed glass and has a familiar conical shape with a wide rim. These glasses can be commonly seen in dinner parties and night clubs. Generally martini is served in this type of glass to render a sophisticated presentation.

Brandy Snifter - These types of glasses are designed in the way similar to those of the red wine glasses. They are perfect for swirling, sniffing and enjoying fine brandy.

Dessert Drink Glassware - Sweet fortified wines or mixed alcoholic drinks are served as desserts in certain unique glasses. If the alcoholic dessert drink implements any fruit or ice cream in it then it is served in a special type of glass that has a deep bowled bottom and a flared rim.

Knowing the types of glasses in which liquor can be served allows you to have an insight of how to serve drinks in the appropriate glasses to ensure an aromatic and satisfying drinking experience.

Measurement of Alcohol Strength

The three basic types of alcoholic drinks are Beer, Wine and Liquor.

Beer is made from fermented grains and has an alcohol content of three to six percent.

Wine is made from fermented fruits and has an alcohol content of 11 to 14 percent. Some wine drinks, such as wine coolers, have fruit juice and sugar added, lowering alcohol content to between four and seven percent. Fortified wines, such as port, have alcohol added, bringing alcohol content to between 18 and 20 percent.

Liquor is made by distilling a fermented product to yield a drink that usually contains40 to 50 percent alcohol. The alcohol content in liquor is sometimes indicated by degrees of proof, which in the United States is a figure twice as high as the percentage. Thus, 80-proof liquor is 40 percent alcohol.

A 12-ounce glass of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol and, therefore, have an equal effect on the drinker. All three forms of alcohol have the same potential for intoxication and addiction.

There are several methods of measuring the alcohol contents of various beverages. Find details on each below:

ABV - Alcohol by Volume - This is the standard measure and used throughout the website. It simply represents the amount of volume consumed by ethanol compared to the entire volume of the drink. It is expressed as a percentage.

Proof - This term is used among the strongest spirits. To compute liquor's proof you simply multiply the ABV by 2. The theoretic highest possible strength of any drink is therefore 200-proof. In reality though the maximum for distilled spirits is 191-proof because not all of the water can be distilled from ethanol

ABW - Alcohol by Weight - This is similar to ABV but instead of the volume consumed by the ethanol its mass is used instead. Beer brewers often used this measurement in states that require limits on strength of beer sold in food markets (i.e 3.2 beer). This is preferred over ABV in these cases because the ABW is roughly 80% of the ABV. Beer that is 4% ABV can be sold and still meet the 3.2 ABW limit.

Related Topics

Bartending Basics
Bartending Terms
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Types of Whiskey
Further Relevant Topics to read

Types of Whiskey
What is a Single Malt?
Red or White Wine
Bartending Basics

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