Being able to tell the difference between hard liquors requires a special skill. Although people who are not used to drinking alcohol usually have no idea what the differences are, fine drinkers know exactly how each drink differs in taste. In order to know all the similarities and differences between hard alcohol one must know the different types first.
There are five most common types of hard liquor that people consume: gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, and vodka. These types of drinks have unique tastes and distillation styles. By simply learning how each type of liquor is different, you will be able to appreciate their unique flavors and know how to mix them properly to craft excellent cocktails.
What is Hard Liquor?
Liquor or alcohol is a drink that is made through proper distillation and fermentation. The end product of the whole process will then be used in different ways to create different types of liquors. There are different ways to make each type of hard liquor, and the alcohol by volume also differs.
Main Types of Hard Liquor
Gin is a distilled drink made from flavored botanicals. What makes it different from other types of hard liquor is that it has a hint of pine flavor and juniper berries. .
Although gin is a Dutch creation, it is quite common in different parts of the world because it is the main ingredient to a lot of famous drinks such as the martini, gin and tonic, and others. There are also a wide variety of gins that originated in London such as dry gin, modern gin, and many more.
This type of hard alcohol is made from grains or potatoes. It originated from Russia and made its way into different countries such as Poland, all parts of Europe, and the United States. Vodka is one of the most common bases for cocktails because of its neutral flavor.
Distilled from sugar, rum is a type of hard liquor that has a hint of sweetness and tastes a bit like toasted sugar. Rum is made from either pure cane sugar, syrup, or molasses.
Whiskey is a hard liquor that is made from different types of grains like rye, corn, and wheat. It is distilled worldwide, but it is more common in the United States, Scotland, Ireland, and Japan. Whiskey is most commonly consumed in the form of scotch, bourbon or Canadian whiskey.
Tequila is a hard liquor that originated from Mexico. It is made from the blue agave plant called Weber Azul. Since it was created in Mexico, it has become famous and made its way to other countries. Tequila can be drunk on its own or mixed with a cocktail.
Similarities of Hard Liquors
Every liquor has a different ingredient, origin, and purpose. The only similarity of these hard liquors is the general process through which they were made. They all go through the same process of crushing, mixing, boiling, and storing. They only differ in how long the process takes and what happens after the preparation.
Differences of Hard Liquors
The differences between the types of hard liquors start with the process of how each of them was made, their origin, and their main ingredients. With different ingredients and distillation processes, each spirit is produced differently. In the next section, you will learn the different distillation processes and how they are prepared for selling.
Distillation Process: How the Liquors are Made
All the different types of hard liquor are distilled. The differences between them begin with their ingredients and the precise distillation process. The ingredients for each type of liquor are as follows:
- Gin – Any grain, but mostly corn, barley, or rye
- Vodka – Any carbohydrate such wheat, corn, rice, potato, beets, and many more
- Rum – Molasses, sugar cane syrup, or beet sugar
- Whiskey – Grains such as corn, barley, rye, and wheat
- Tequila – Weber Blue agave plant
How Does Distillation Work?
During the process of distillation, the grains of the different hard liquors are crushed and mixed with water to make a paste-like texture. For the types of hard liquor that are made with sugar or molasses, the sugar cane is crushed to extract the juice which is then concentrated into a thick liquid. The distillation process includes heating the concentrated liquid to let the alcohol evaporate and most of the ethanol to boil.
After boiling, a slow distillation process is done to separate the spirit from the bitter oils, creating the final product. When the main product is produced, it is either steeped in herbs or stored in barrels to age.
Understanding the differences and similarities of all the types of hard liquor will help you recognize their different tastes and how to use them to make different drinks. Every hard alcohol has a distinct origin, ingredient, and distillation process.
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