Alcohol Drinks

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Written by Inara Hasanali, M.A.  | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Aug 16, 2014
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Alcohol Drinks

To alcohol! The cause of ... and solution to all of life's problems!- Homer Simpson

Alcoholic beverages vary in their content of ethanol. This is due to the variety of foodstuffs used to make them as well as the method of production.

Most alcoholic beverages are classified as fermented beverages and distilled beverages.

Fermented beverages are classified according to which foodstuff is used for fermentation.

Beverage Foodstuff
Beer Cereal grains or starchy food stuff
Wine (port, sherry) Fruit juices
Cider Apple juice
Mead Honey
wine
wine

Different cultures around the world make their own ethnic fermented alcoholic beverages using a diverse range of ingredients including vegetables and milk.

Distilled beverages are beverages whose preparation involves the concentrating of ethanol in the beverages by distillation.

"Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy." - Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

Distilled beverages can be broadly classified as follows:

Distilled beverage Fermented foodstuff
Whiskies Cereal grains
Brandies Fermented fruit juices
Rum Molasses or sugar cane juice
Vodka Potato
Neutral grain spirits Grains
Bourbon whisky Corn

Some spirits and liqueurs are prepared by infusing flavors from fruits, herbs and spices into them; for example Gin is prepared by infusing the flavors of juniper berries into neutral gain alcohol.

Ethanol is concentrated not only by using distillation but also by other methods.

Water is frozen out of fermented apple cider to make Applejack. Beer is freeze- distilled to produce Easier (Keinböck). Adding brandy or any some other distilled spirit or to partially fermented wine produces fortified wines.

Many South Asian countries make their own local brews. Arrack is a popular brew made in Sri Lanka and South India. It is a distilled brew made from paddy or wheat and sugar or jigger is added to the distillate.

Toddy is made from the flowers of a coconut or palm tree. In Mexico, the juice of Agate is fermented to produce pulque and distilled to produce tequila. Milk is fermented to make Kumiss or Kefir and distilled to produce Arac.

References:

  1. Thomas DB, Alcohol as a cause of cancer.The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA. Environ Health Perspect. 1995 November; 103(Suppl 8): 153–160.
  2. This History of Alcohol - (http://www.drug-rehabs.org/alcoholhistory.php)

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