The world of alcohol and the bliss that accompanies can be enticing. Planning to taste your first-ever liquor? Here is a crash course to enlighten you with enough knowledge necessary to make a choice. Our top 10 recommendations featuring liquors from popular brands (Dewar's, Smirnoff, Hennessy, and more) and buying guide will prepare you for your journey to becoming a social and responsible drinker.
Disclaimer: Consumption of alcohol is injurious to health. Though there are some health benefits to moderate alcohol consumption, it could be habit-forming. We do not encourage alcohol consumption. It can dull your senses and can be harmful to you and others, especially when operating machinery and driving. Pregnant women must not drink alcohol as it could cause birth defects.
mybest editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in India in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
Table of Contents
You must have seen the words "liquor" and "liqueur" on the internet. Do you know that they are different? Keep reading to find out about the difference and explore the world of liquors in the sections below.
Liquor is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting grains, fruits, or plants, and then distilled to increase the alcoholic concentration. They can develop a unique taste and flavor, depending on the ingredients and the aging process. The alcohol content in liquor ranges from 20 to 75.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).
On the other hand, a liqueur is a liquor with added sweeteners, extracts, and oils. Since there are other ingredients present in a liqueur, the alcohol content ranges between 15 and 55% ABV. A liqueur is less intoxicating than liquor.
There are six types of distilled spirits that are widely accepted as liquors: whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, gin, and vodka. The alcohol content, color, and flavor vary across each type. Find out more about them in the sections below.
Whiskeys are of five types: scotch, bourbon, American rye, Tennessee, and Irish. The difference lies in the country it comes from and the type of grain used. Scotch comes from Scotland. It is made from malted barley and has an earthy and smoky flavor. Bourbon, rye, and Tennessee come from America. Bourbon contains at least 51% corn, while rye has at least 51% cereal grain rye.
Those who want a bit of sweetness in their whiskey should go for bourbon. Rye has a slightly spicy flavor. Tennessee whiskey is basically bourbon that is filtered through maple charcoal. It makes the whiskey less harsh and gives a hint of charcoal or burnt wood.
Irish whiskey may be made from malted or unmalted barley and comes from Ireland. It is smoother compared to scotch. Whiskeys normally have an alcohol content between 40 and 50%. Popular mixed drinks that contain whiskey include Irish coffee, whiskey sour, and Manhattan cocktail.
Brandy is made by fermenting fruits—just like wine. But the alcohol content in brandy lies between 35 and 60%. It is fruity and sweeter than whiskey, but also has an oaky flavor that comes from the oak casks it is aged in. Grapes, apricots, apples, cherries, and peaches are the fruits commonly used to make brandy.
Brandy also has a variant, and it is called cognac. The specialty is that it is made from grapes that come from the Cognac region in France. Only the brandy that comes from the Cognac region can be called cognac. French 75, sidecar, metropolitan, and brandy smash are some of the most popular mixed drinks made using this spirit.
Distilled from sugarcane or molasses, the flavor of rum depends on the aging process it goes through. There are four major types: white, amber or gold, dark, and overproof. White or light rum is clear since it is filtered to remove the color after aging for at least a year. It has a milder flavor compared to other types of rum.
Gold or amber rum, as the name suggests, has a golden color that comes from the oak casks it is aged in. The barrel used for the aging process can give the rum vanilla, caramel, and even smoky or earthy flavors. Dark rum is a result of many years of aging or the caramel added to it, making it richer in flavor.
Typically, rums contain an alcohol content of 40%. But in an overproof rum, it can be as high as 75 or 75.5%. It can intoxicate you much quicker, so reduce the concentration by making mixed drinks with it. Popular rum cocktails include hurricane, daiquiri, and piña colada.
When the juices of the blue agave plant are fermented and distilled, you get tequila. Only the blue agave spirit produced in certain parts of Mexico can be called tequila. You can find several varieties of tequila: silver, gold, reposado, and añejo. Silver tequila (also called blanco, white, platinum) is aged in steel or glass containers for a few weeks.
Sometimes caramel is added to give it a golden color, which gives it the name gold tequila or joven. When blanco is aged for 60 days to one year in oak casks, you get the reposado. The aging process gives it vanilla or caramel flavors and aroma.
Añejo tequila must be aged for at least one year in oak barrels. Extra añejo is when the tequila is aged for over three years. The long aging process makes the spirit extremely aromatic and flavorful. Some of the delicious cocktails you can make with tequila include margarita, tequila sunrise, and tequini.
Gin is clear like vodka and is made from grains like barley, wheat, corn, and rye. Gin is never aged, but it goes through a redistillation process where botanicals like lemon and orange peels, seeds, and spices may be added along with juniper berries.
Hence, the flavor depends entirely on the botanicals the company decides to use. Gin can have anywhere between 35 and 55% alcohol by volume. Famous gin cocktails like gin and tonic, Tom Collins, and gin fizz can be easily made at home.
The standard alcohol concentration of vodka is between 40 and 50 percent. It is clear, and because of its subtle flavor profile, vodka is the preferred spirit for making almost any mixed drink. Some popular ones like bloody mary, cosmopolitan, vodka martini and kamikaze are made using vodka.
Some may say that vodka is supposed to be flavorless and odorless. That is not true. Vodka can have subtle hints of citrus peels, grains, pepper, and even cacao nibs. It all depends on the brand, and you have to try each one to find out the one that suits your palate.
Liquors can come in glass and plastic bottles. While it is safer to carry a plastic bottle, there are some serious health concerns associated with storing any kind of alcohol in a plastic bottle for extended periods of time. Plastic contains substances (for example, ethylene glycol) that can leach into the alcohol if the ambient temperature increases.
These substances can alter the taste of the liquor and cause health issues in the long run. Also, plastic is permeable to tiny molecules of gas and vapor. If you are going to buy yourself an expensive bottle of liquor that is going to last a long time, go for one that comes in a glass bottle.
Click to purchase
Aged for 18 Years
With 43% ABV
Aged in Casks That Previously Aged American Whiskeys and Wines
Distilled in Small Batches to Ensure Premium Quality
Infused With Rose Petals, Cucumber and 11 Other Botanicals
Snap Frost Vodka
Made From French Grapes
Single Grain Irish Whiskey
Crafted From an Unconventional Mash Bill
Solera Reserve Brandy
Preferred Liquor for Making Cocktails
Blended scotch whiskey is a mix of single malt and single grain whiskies. The benefit is that the flavor and quality of the whiskey stay the same even after being stored and opened several times (liquor tends to lose flavor over time).
Dewar's 18 YO, as the name suggests, is an 18-year-old blended scotch whiskey. The initial fruity notes gradually turn to luscious flavors of dark chocolate, and the honey and almond finish stays on your palate for quite a while. Make special occasions memorable with Dewar's 18 Year Old.
Bourbon is American whiskey made with mash (grain mixture that is distilled to make bourbon) containing at least 51% corn. This high percentage of corn makes bourbon sweeter than other types of whiskeys. Jim Beam Black is extra-aged bourbon with 43% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).
At first, the oaky flavor dominates your palate, but hints of vanilla and caramel soon become obvious. It has a medium-long finish of vanilla and peppery notes. We recommend Jim Beam Black to those who need a sweet dram post-dinner.
Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Sistema Solera is a blend of rums aged between 6 and 23 years. The aging process takes place in select barrels that previously aged American whiskeys and wines, giving it complex and unique flavors. It has a typical alcohol content of 40%.
The tempting aroma of caramel, cacao, and butterscotch will compel you to take a sip right away. As soon as the rum touches your tongue, you will immediately notice the dried fruit and apricot flavors, followed by nutmeg and tobacco. The lingering notes of honeyed butterscotch, dried fruits, and spiced oak is a finish that will leave you wanting for more.
Brandy is made with fermented fruits, including apples, grapes, apricots, and peaches. Cognac is a variety of brandy made with white grapes from the Cognac region of France. The abbreviation V.S.O.P (Very Special/Superior Old Pale) in its name means that it was aged for at least four years before bottling.
The aging process in oak barrels gives it a medium-dark copper color. The oak casks also contribute to the aroma reminiscent of apple, clove, and cinnamon. You can relish on a blend of vanilla, oak, clove, candied fruits, honey, and grape flavors, followed by a lengthy finish of caramel and spices.
Tequila is an alcoholic beverage made with fermented blue agave. Silver is the name given to a variety of tequila that's unaged. But some companies age them in steel or glass containers for a few weeks, but definitely not an oak cask.
Patron Silver has the potential to turn you. Handmade in small batches in a distillery in Mexico, this tequila is crystal clear with a fruity and citrus aroma. Experience this smooth drink with flavors that include cooked agave, vanilla, lime, and citrus, and a finish that leaves a light peppery taste in your palate.
Gin is almost like liqueur (Read our buying guide to know the difference between liquor and liqueur!). It is made from grains but is infused with botanicals that give it a unique aroma and flavor. The choice of botanicals varies across brands. Hendrick's Gin contains no less than 11 botanicals other than rose and cucumber
The list includes roots, fruit peels, flowers, seeds, and fruits. Hints of juniper and musky rose greet you, followed by the complex mix of citrusy, coriander, juniper, angelica root, and black pepper flavors. The finish is long-lasting with the astringency of juniper and notes of rose petals and cucumber.
Vodka is typically distilled from grains, fruits, and molasses. Ciroc Snap Frost Vodka is one of the few vodkas in the world made from fine French grapes. The notion that vodkas are supposed to be odorless and flavorless is changing. This vodka is an example. The vodka has a standard alcohol concentration of 40%.
It has refined citrus aromas and a lightly sweet character of the grapes it is distilled from. Cheap vodkas tend to smell and taste like nail polish remover. We recommend Ciroc Snap Frost vodka for making your favorite cocktails at your party or home.
Typically, Irish whiskey is made from malted or unmalted barley. Teeling Single Grain Irish whiskey is made by fermenting and distilling a mash bill (ingredients used by brewers) containing 95% corn and 5% malted barley. It has a distinctly sweet flavor profile due to the unusually high corn content.
The red wine barrels used for maturing this whiskey also contribute to this whiskey's distinct aromas and flavors. You will be hit with spicy and fruity notes while nosing. Your palate will enjoy a touch of spice and deep berry notes.
Fundador Solera Reserve Brandy may be cheap, but the level of sophistication it has gone through makes it a decent-tasting brandy for this price point. It is made using Airen and Palomino grapes and matured in sherry-soaked barrels.
Sherry is a fortified wine. The barrels used to mature this whiskey contain residue of sherry, which imparts slightly sweet and fruity notes to the whiskey. At first, the oaky caramel flavors make their presence known, and soon hints of spices come through. Go for Fundador Solera Reserve Brandy if you are on a budget.
Looking for a liquor that doesn't overpower other flavors in your drink mix? We recommend Smirnoff Blue. It has the highest alcohol content among all the liquors we have recommended. You can drink it however you want.
On the rocks, Smirnoff Blue has a robust flavor with a dry finish. Mix it with other ingredients for cocktails, and it gives personality to it. Compared to other liquors on our list, Smirnoff Blue has the subtlest flavor profile, which may not be appealing to everyone if drunk dry.
As for alcohol consumption, a drink or two a day can give you a lot of health benefits. But you can't drink and drive or go to your workplace intoxicated. Here are some articles to help you choose the best energy drink, giloy juice, and green tea for weight loss in India. Every article has a top 10 section and a buying guide to help you choose only the best product online.
No one is to be judged for their choice of spirit. Everyone's palate is different, and hence the drink they enjoy the most also varies. Some like the bitterness of whiskey, while others prefer the extremely subtle flavors of vodka. There are people who like the fruity flavors of brandy and the botanical flavors of gin. What matters the most is that you enjoy the drink in your hand.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
PC and Cameras
Home Appliances and Electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management