SPIRITS 101- A guide to distilled spirits

SPIRITS 101- A guide to distilled spirits

There are about 8 types of spirits, all of which are different as regards aging, styles and flavour profile. If you are still unsure

of the difference between Rum, Vodka, Gin and your other favourite spirits, read on.

         1. Rum

Distilled From: Sugar.

Flavour Profile: Sweet. Toasted sugar. Varies by style and region.

Aged: Light rum is typically unaged and other rums are often aged in oak barrels to some extent. 

Styles: Light Rum, Gold Rum, Dark Rum, Over-Proof Rum, Spiced Rum, Cachaca, Flavoured Rum

Alcohol Content: Typically 40%

 2. Gin

Distilled From: Neutral grains such as barley, corn, rye, and wheat.

Flavour Profile: Herbal, dry.

Aged: Typically unaged.

Styles: London Dry Gin, Plymouth Gin, Old Tom Gin, Genever, New American Gin.

Alcohol Content: Typically 40-47% 

3. Brandy

Distilled From: Fruit; Primarily grapes.

Flavour Profile: Fruity burnt wine.

Aged: Typically aged in oak, varies by style. Often blended.

Styles: Cognac, Armagnac, Spanish Brandy, American Brandy, Grappa, Flavoured Brandies.

Alcohol Content: Typically 40%

4. Tequila

Distilled From: Agave

Flavour Profile: Vegetal, earthy with semi-sweet and spicy tones.

Aged: Blanco tequila is unaged. Other tequilas are aged, often in used whiskey (bourbon) oak barrels.

Styles: Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, Extra-Anejo, Gold

Alcohol Content: Typically 40-50%

5. Vodka

Distilled From: Neutral grain (rye, corn, wheat, etc.) or potato.

Flavour Profile: Neutral alcohol/ethanol. Distinguished more by texture: oily vs. medicinal.

Aged: Typically unaged.

      Styles: Clear vodka, flavoured vodkas.

Alcohol Content: Typically 40-50% 


           6. Whiskey

Distilled From: Malted grains

Flavour Profile: Roasted, malted grain with oak undertones.

Aged: Typically aged in charred oak. Some styles, such as bourbon, require new barrels.

Styles: Irish whiskey, Scotch, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Tennessee Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Blended Whiskey,

Flavoured Whiskey

Alcohol Content: Typically 40-50% alcohol

7. Aperitif

Distilled From: Herbs and botanicals.

Flavour Profile: Fruits, spices.

Aged: --

Styles: Champagne, Vermouth, Pastis, gin, dry sherry

Alcohol Content: Typically 11-30% alcohol

8. Liqueur

Distilled From:  Base Spirits as rum, whiskey, brandy or cognac.

Flavour Profile:  Fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers, nuts.

Aged:  Not aged, only has resting periods between the production process.

Styles: Herbal, spice, fruit, nut, coffee, chocolate, cream

Alcohol Content: Typically 15-30% alcohol


Source: Spruce.com