May 7, 2015

Types of Alcohol

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Types of Alcohol And Alcoholic Beverages

Types of Alcohol And Alcoholic Beverages

There are different types of alcohol. Some are used in chemistry laboratories and industry, e.g. isopropyl and methyl alcohol. Isopropanol, or isopropyl alcohol is also used in industrial processes as well as in home cleaning products and skin lotions. It is also commonly known as "rubbing alcohol". Methanol, or methyl alcohol or wood alcohol has been used as an industrial solvent and is also commonly available as mentholated spirit. It is found in cleaning solvents, paint removers, photocopier developer and anti-freeze solutions. As such, it is often available in large quantities inexpensively. It is similar to ethanol but the end product after it is digested by the body is formaldehyde, which is poisonous. This is responsible for "alcohol poisoning". Methanol poisoning leading to blindness has been known to occur on consuming even small amounts.

Another type of alcohol is ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol. This has been consumed by human beings for its intoxicating and mind-altering effects. The term 'alcohol', unless specified otherwise, refers to ethanol or ethyl alcohol. It is a thin, clear liquid with harsh burning taste and high volatility. It is usually consumed in diluted concentrations of absolute (i.e. 100 per cent) ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is also used as a reagent in some industrial applications. For such use, ethyl alcohol is combined with small quantities of methanol, with the mixture being called "denatured ethanol" to prevent theft for human consumption.

Alcoholic beverages have been a popular drinking medium for celebrations, parties and whatever else we can find an excuse to drink them for a long period of time in our history here on this planet. These alcoholic beverages are usually classified under two major categories.

Types of Alcoholic Beverages
  1. Undistilled or fermented Alcoholic Beverages
  2. Distilled Alcoholic Beverages
Both of the categories have a wide range of alcoholic beverages. These alcohol types have originated in different parts of the globe at different point of time.

Fermented Alcoholic Beverages

The different fermented and undistilled alcoholic beverages include Beer, Chicha, Cider, Icarinne Liquor, Palm Wine, Sake, Tapache, Tiswin and Wine

Types of Beer

This is one of the oldest forms of fermented alcoholic beverages. As people across the globe consumed different forms of beer, there are actually many sub types in beer.
  • Ale – This type of beer is brewed from malted barley by mixing certain amount of yeast. The yeast helps in fermenting the beer and giving a fruit flavor to the beer.
  • Fruit Beer – Fruits like cherry, raspberry and peach are commonly used in brewing this type of beer. Most of the breweries add a flavor of these fruits instead of fermenting these fruits.
  • Lager – This is another kind of beer that is brewed and stored at low temperatures. It is the most widely brewed and consumer beer in the world. It had its origins in Germany.
  • Sahti – This is a Finnish Beer and is brewed by mixing different types of malted and unmalted grains such as Barley, wheat, Oats and Rye
  • Wheat Beer – This type of beer is produced by mixing a larger proportion of wheat when compared to the malted barley content. This type of beer had its origins in Austria and Germany.

This is a type of fermented beverage that is used more in the central and the South American Continents. There are both fermented and non fermented chicha that are made out of Maize.


Cider is a fermented alcoholic Beverage made out of Apple juice. The Alcoholic content can vary from 3% to 8%. In United States and Germany, people refer to Cider as Apple Wine

Icariine Liquor:

Icariine Liquor is consumed in Korea and has a 30% alcoholic content. Icariine is actually a substance that is extracted from plants in Korea

Palm Wine:

Palm wine is a type of Alcoholic beverage consumed in Asia and Africa. This is produced from the sap of the palm tree.


This fermented Alcoholic beverage is made in Japan by fermenting rice at a particular temperature


This is a drink that is made by mixing pineapple and brown sugar with Beer. This is mostly consumed in Mexico


This alcoholic beverage is prepared by brewing corn. It had its origins in the Sonoron desert of Arizona in United States and also in the Northern districts of Mexico.


This beverage is made from fermented grapes. During the fermentation process, yeast absorbs the sugar in the grape juice and converts it in to Alcohol.

Plum Wine

This beverage is popular in Japan and Korea and is made by fermenting Green Plums


This is a fermented beverage popular in Philipinnes. It is made by fermenting sugarcane

Now let’s take a look at some of the distilled alcoholic beverages.

Distilled alcoholic beverages a.k.a. liquor are nothing but concentrating the alcoholic content by distillation.

Distilled Alcoholic Beverages
  • Arrack – This distilled Alcohol is mainly produced in South Asia and South East Asia. This is produced by mixing fermented sap of coconut flower with sugarcane.
  • Awamori – This distilled Alcoholic beverage is a Japanese production and made in Okinawa in Japan. This is actually made by fermenting rice and then distilling the fermented rice.
  • Baijiu – This Chinese Alcoholic drink is also called as white liquor and its Alcoholic content is around 40% to 60%. This drink is produced by distilling Sorghum
  • Gin – This is a type of distilled spirit that is made from Juniper Berries. There are different types of gin like Damson Gin and Sloe Gin. Damson gin is hugely popular in Britain.
  • Mezcal – This distilled Alcoholic beverage had its origins in Mexico. It is prepared from a type of Agave plant like Maguey.
  • Palinka – This is a type of fruit Brandy manufactured in Hungary. This fruit spirit is distilled from a mixture of different fruits including apple, apricot and plum. The Alcohol content varies widely between 40 % and 85%.
  • Rum – Though consumed in different parts of the globe, rum is extremely popular in Caribbean region and Latin America. This is made by fermenting sugar cane juice or by fermenting molasses, one of the byproducts of sugarcane.
  • Vodka – Vodka is a distilled spirit made by distilling fermented grain like wheat or corn. It has an alcoholic content of 40%.
  • Whiskey – This distilled alcoholic beverage is made by fermenting a combination of different grains including barley, malted barley, Rye, Corn and Wheat. The fermented whisky is then allowed to age in wooden casks.
  • Bourborn Whiskey – This is usually referred to as American Whiskey and is made from Corn.
  • Scotch Whisky – This type of Whisky is made by distilling fermented malt barley and had its origin in Scotland
  • Brandy – This distilled beverage is made by distilling wine. It has an alcoholic content that ranges between 30% and 60%
  • Horilka – This beverage had its origins in Ukraine and is made by distilling fermented grains
  • Cognac – This distilled alcoholic beverage is a type of brandy and is famous in France.
  • Tequila – This is a distilled beverage that is prepared from Blue Agave plant. It is named after a city in Mexico
  • Guaro – Guaro is made by distilling fermented sugar cane juice and is hugely popular in Central and South American Countries
Brief description of alcoholic beverages

Wines are made from a variety of fruits, such as grapes, peaches, plums or apricots. The most common wines are produced from grapes. The soil in which the grapes are grown and the weather conditions in the growing season determine the quality and taste of the grapes which in turn affects the taste and quality of wines. When ripe, the grapes are crushed and fermented in large vats to produce wine.

Beer is also made by the process of fermentation. A liquid mix, called wort, is prepared by combining yeast and malted cereal, such as corn, rye, wheat or barely. Fermentation of this liquid mix produces alcohol and carbondioxide. The process of fermentation is stopped before it is completed to limit the alcohol content. The alcohol so produced is called beer. It contains 4 to 8 percent of alcohol.

Whisky is made by distilling the fermented juice of cereal grains such as corn, rye or barley. Scotch whisky was originally made in Scotland. The word "Scotch" has become almost synonymous with whisky of good quality.

Rum is a distilled beverage made from fermented molasses or sugarcane juice and is aged for at least three years. Caramel is sometimes used for colouring.

Brandy is distilled from fermented fruit juices. Brandy is usually aged in oak casks. The colour of brandy comes either from the casks or from caramel that is added.

Gin is a distilled beverage. It is a combination of alcohol, water and various flavours. Gin does not improve with age, so it is not stored in wooden casks.

Liqueurs are made by adding sugar and flavouring such as fruits, herbs or flowers to brandy or to a combination of alcohol and water. Most liqueurs contain 20-65 per cent alcohol. They are usually consumed in small quantities after dinner.

Types of alcoholic beverages
Beverage Alcohol content Source Alcohol content
Brandy   Fruit juices 40 to 50
Whisky  Cereal grains  40 to 55
Rum  Molasses/sugarcane  40 to 55
Wines (Port, Sherry, Champagne, etc) Grapes (also other fruits) 10 to 22
Beer  Cereals  4 to 8

And there you have it; the complete list of the types of alcoholic drinks. This will change as new ones are invented, though that doesn’t happen often. I probably also missed a couple, so if you see anything I’ve missed, let me know in the comments.

What's a good way to taste a variety of alcoholic beverages?