Types of Alcoholic Beverages
What is Alcohol?
The alcoholic content in a beverage is determined relative to its proof, which is twice the alcohol content. Meaning, if you have a glass of wine that has a 24 "proof", you are consuming 12 percent of alcohol in that glass of wine. Alcohol has a varied amount of proof, and is largely determined upon the specific type of alcohol that it is. Because of this, determining the exact amount of alcohol found in a drink is very challenging for many people.
What types of alcohol are there?
Basically, there are three specific categories of alcololic drinks:
- distilled spirits (hard liquor)
Beer is made from grain, malt, hops, yeast, and water. Traditionally, beer is a full-bodied drink and quite nutritious. However, the beer commonly consumed today is highly filtered and does not contain the long and highly respected nutrition it once was known for. It is generally high in calories, and typically the alcohol content in the US for beer is between three and six percent. The only time grain drinks would be a higher alcohol level, is when they are a malt, lager, or an ale.
Wine has historically been curated within the halls of monasteries. Many fruits can be used to make wine, and commonly you will find grapes, berries, and peaches in the main ingredients. From the crushing of the fruit, to the yeast that is added, the process of making wine is intentionally done to embrace time in order to fully embrace the flavor and excellence of the curating process. As a general rule, the darker the color of the wine, the longer it was part of the aging process. In your typical American wine, the alcohol content is around nine to fourteen percent. However, if you are drinking a fortified wine, you can expect to have a higher alcohol content than fourteen percent due to the fact that additional alcohol and brandy are often added in order to raise that percentage.
Distilled spirits, often called "hard liquor", is the type of alcoholic beverage that has the highest content percentage of alcohol. The natural fermentation process stops when the alcohol content reaches that fourteen percent mark. However, when you activate the distillation process the alcohol content rises significantly. To distill, you must heat your choice of alcohol to capture the steam, because the highest alcohol content is tucked away within the steam with less water. Some of the most common ingredients used to distill spirits are:
- corn (bourbon)
- potatoes (vodka)
- sugar cane (rum)
- wine (brandy)
- malts & grains (scotch)
Are there any types of alcohol that cannot be consumed?
There are several types of alcohol that are not safe to drink, some will even kill you if you consume them. Below is a small list, not intented to be comprehensive but a starting point for you to have:
- Butyl alcohol, also known as butanol. Derived from butane, this particular alcohol is typically used in products like adhesives and varnishes.
- Methyl alcohol, also known as methanol or wood alcohol. Common uses include industrial solvent and manfacuturing formaldehyde. With this particular alcohol, if consumed, this toxic mixture will cause permanent blindness.
- Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is a common household product typically used as a disinfectant and in the process of making cologne and after-shave lotion.
- Ethylene glycol, also known as antifreeze, is the most harmful type of alcohol and should never be consumed as it will cause death.
When consuming alcohol, you must be intentional to have a designated driver and not drink more than your body can handle. The lasting effects of a DUI charge can literally destroy your life and those around you. Use wisdom and refrain from excess, and never consume any alcohol that is listed as toxic or not for the use of consumption.