A Savvy Guide to Spirit Drinks
Curious about what your favorite spirit drinks really are? Read on and discover the facts behind the most popular spirit drink varieties.
First, the basics. What are spirit drinks?
Spirit drinks primarily obtain their flavors and taste from the base ingredients and the distillation process. However, some can attain flavors from their storage containers or barrels. This is especially the case with liquors like brandies, whiskies, rums, and tequilas. For instance, a quick check on the rum ingredients guide, distillation process, and storage can indicate this.
Younger, lighter rums might not have the rich flavor of the rich dark ones. The reason is that their storage in charred barrels enriches the flavors of the dark rums. On the other hand, golden rums are stored in wooden casks and are often spiced.
It’s important to note that each spirit drink has its tradition and primary country of origin. Thus, you might find one spirit drink dominant in one region over others. Spirit drinks can be one of the best ways to connect if you’re a frequent traveler or want to explore regional traditions. This savvy guide to spirit drinks can help open up your palate as you take that sip.
This spirit drink is produced from the distillation of fermented grain mash, such as corn, barley, rye, or wheat. The spelling varies depending on the country of origin. For instance, American and Irish brands will have whiskey, while Scottish brands will have whisky. However, this is just one of their many differences. Base ingredients, distillation processes, and storage also differ.
American brands can either be bourbons or plain American whiskey. For an American whiskey to be a bourbon, it must contain at least 51% corn in its mash. It must also be stored in new charred oak barrels for at least two years and is generally associated with being produced in Kentucky, USA.
On the other hand, Scotch whiskies must be distilled and matured in Scotland. In addition, they must have an alcohol content of at least 40%. Irish whiskies are typically triple-distilled, while scotch is distilled twice.
Scotch whiskies can either be blended, single malts, or single grains. Single malts must be 100% malted barley and from one distillery. On the other hand, the single grain must be 100% grain mash. Blended whiskies contain two or more grain and malt whiskies. A blended whisky brand that uses single malt only is called a blended single malt.
Whichever the origin, whiskies are a popular evening spirit drink. Most whiskey drinkers will have it neat or with an ice cube. However, you can also take it with a dash of non-fizzy water. Whiskies also make popular cocktails like the Old Fashioned, The Godfather, and Whiskey Sour.
These spirit drinks are popularly associated with their country of origin – Russia. Vodka derives its name from the Slavic word ‘voda’, meaning water. However, there are vodkas from other regions too.
Even though its primarily made from the triple distillation of fermented grain, the distillation of fermented grapes or potatoes can also make vodkas. The triple distillation produces a clear and smooth spirit drink with high alcohol content. You can enjoy this spirit drink neat. However, it also has popular cocktails, like the Screwdriver and Bloody Mary. A typical popular mixer for vodka is club soda.
Even though it originated in Holland, present-day gin is a predominant English spirit drink. It derives its name from the ancient English word ‘genever’. This is further derived from the Latin word Juniperus, loosely translated as juniper.
Gin is produced in column stills, resulting in a light-bodied and high-proof spirit drink. It’s a pure spirit that’s a distillate of grains, potatoes, grapes, or sugar cane. However, it must contain various botanicals to give it flavor and character.
It’s essential to note that the dominant botanical for gin is juniper berries. This gives it a distinctive flavor. Additionally, angelica root provides a balance of flavors in this spirit drink. A typical gin can contain up to 12 botanicals. However, distillers can add a botanical that helps give their drink a distinctive character and flavor. You’ll witness this in the way a gin is served. For instance, a gin with cucumber among its botanicals will contain a slice of cucumber to enhance the flavor.
Gin martinis make up some of the popular ways to enjoy gin. However, you can have it as a long drink. The most common mixer for gin is tonic water, giving it the famous name ‘G n T’. Club soda is also an excellent gin mixer. And since gin is a versatile spirit drink due to its botanicals, it’s a popular base for various cocktails. The result is usually a refreshing drink rich in flavor. And an Lh favorite in the KOKET Koktail!
4. Other Spirit Drinks
Depending on your location, you’ll experience varying levels of popularity of other spirit drink varieties. For instance, the central American region has Tequilas, while the French will have Cognacs and Armagnacs.
Each spirit drink has its recommended perfect serve to enjoy it better. However, this isn’t cast in stone. Its different ways of service can have you spoiled for choice, from straight-ups and mixed drinks to cocktails. The key is to identify what tickles your palate and be adventurous in exploring spirit drink varieties before settling on one.