For teetotalers who are making their foray into the world of alcohol, it can be a very overwhelming jaunt. With so many forms of alcoholic drinks pouring in from all sides, one might not know what to do (read, drink). Sure, one hears about beers and wines and tequila shots and rum and cokes―but what exactly are these things?
Drinking which drink will get you drunk to the point of passing out and which will only induce a slight high? There must be millions of questions like these making way through your mind right now. Not to worry. Let's take you through the types of alcoholic drinks and it'll be easier for you to know exactly what you are getting into.
Alcoholic Drinks and their Types
In the following sections, we will study three basic categories of alcoholic drinks. They are as follows.
But the most popular form of beer is malted barley. To lend beer its characteristic bitter taste, hop cones are added. They also act as preservatives for the beer. The alcoholic content of beer is around 2% to 4%. But in some, it can go up to 20% as well.
The two main types of beers are Lager and Ale. They are fermented at different temperatures. Ale beers are fermented between temperatures of 60-70 ºF, whereas Lager beers are fermented between 50-58 ºF. This leads to different levels of ester compounds which either lend a rounded fruitiness to the drink (ales) or a clean, crisp and angular feel (lager).
There are several other categories of ales and lagers. Some of these are: Brown Ale, Dark Ale, Kolsch, Pale Ale, Mild Ale, Old Ale, Wheat beer and Bock, Dunkel Lager, Dry Lager, Pilsner, Vienna Lager, Marzen, Dopplebock, etc.
Wines are made from grapes which are crushed using different types of yeast. The yeast converts the sugars from the grapes into alcohol. The fermentation process of brewing wines is longer. It could be aged for several months or even years. The more it is fermented, the better its flavors run. The alcoholic content of wines is around 9%-16%.
Wines are not limited to these two categories alone but run into several forms. The reason being that wines are named after the types of grapes that are used to make them or the region in which they are made. The determining factor of whether a wine is red or white depends on whether the skin of the grape is included in the fermentation process or left out.
The different types of white wines are―Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Muscat, Pinot grigio, etc. And the different types of red wines are―Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot noir, Zinfandel, etc.
Spirits is the term given for those forms of drinks that are unsweetened and distilled. They are made by distillation of an already fermented product that results in the formation of alcohol. The content of alcohol in spirits is 20% and above.
There are countless drinks that fall in the category of spirits and are colloquially referred to as hard drinks. These drinks have a high alcoholic content in them and therefore can hit the person very hard if not consumed with care.
The effect of these drinks can be lessened by diluting them with certain mixers like soda, energy drinks, aerated drinks, or bottled water. They can also be consumed in their purest form without mixing them with anything (usually referred to as 'having them neat').The more popular types of spirits are as follows.
The alcoholic content of rum is 40%-55%. The popular types of rum are Black rum, Dark rum, Aged rum and Amber rum.
Therefore, brandy is made by fermenting fruit juices. The alcoholic content of brandy is 30%-60%. The types of brandies are Grape brandy, Fruit brandy, and Pomace brandy.
Some popular liqueurs are Chocolate Liqueurs (Lady Godiva), Coffee Liqueurs (Kahlua), Cream Liqueurs (Bailey's, Amaretto, Tia Maria), Fruit liqueurs (Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Curacao), etc.
The alcoholic content is 35%-40%. It is stored in oak barrels to bring out its flavors. Tequila is usually consumed straight, that is without adding any mixers to it. But it can be had the other way round as well.
The higher the content of alcohol, the stronger the drink. Therefore, one has to be extremely careful while consuming alcohol. An occasional drink is acceptable, but taking it to the levels of addiction is never appropriate.
Now that you know about the different types of alcoholic drinks, may the experimenting begin! See what you like best and have a jolly time...Cheers!