Base Product Distills into What Spirit?

March 15, 2011

BottlesYesterday, I went through the basic outline of how spirits are made. I said that all spirits start with a raw material such as fruit or grain, which is then fermented into a beer or wine and then distilled. Today I will briefly discuss which spirits are made from what raw material sources.

  • Brandy is usually made from grape wine. Cognac is a brandy from western France.
  • Eau-de-vie is brandy that has been made from fruits that were fermented. Cavados is a special eau-de-vie that was made from apple cider from a specific region in France.
  • Gin and absinth are not actually fermented from a raw material, but is usually a grain spirit like vodka that has been infused with herbs and spices. It can be distilled again after that, or bottled as is.
  • Kirsch is made from fermented cherries like an eau-de-vie.
  • Rum is made from fermented sugar cane or molasses.
  • Tequila is made from the fermented agave plant.
  • Vodka is just about any grain or vegetable that is fermented. By US law, it has to be distilled to 190 Proof before it can be diluted back down for sale.
  • Whiskey, scotch, and bourbon are all made from grain beer, though bourbon has to have 51% of the grain be corn, which is not normally found in regular drinking beer unless the beer is cheap as corn is usually a filler. Also, no hops were added to the beer. This is one form of grain spirit.

Remember that a liqueur is a spirit in which sugar, and possibly flavoring, has been added. Most of the time, this is done with a grain neutral spirit such as vodka.


One Response to “Base Product Distills into What Spirit?”

  1. […] distill into “apple jack.” Wrong – applejack is cold distillation. What he is doing is making apple eau da vie. He says the cider stinks, which he doesn’t know could have been avoided with the use of yeast […]

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