Spirits

Whether at a brick-and-mortar store or an online spirits store, that’s an easy one: there isn’t a difference. Spirits and liquor are the same kind of alcohol - one that has gone through a distillation process. Distillation increases the alcohol by volume (ABV) of a fermented liquid. A spirit must have at least 20% ABV and have no added sugar to qualify for the name “spirit” or “liquor.” Both words were incorporated into English during the 16th Century.

There are a couple of legends about the term “spirit” with regard to alcohol. Many point to early distillation in the Middle East. An ancient eyeliner, al-Koh’l, was created using a system similar to distillation. Another Arabic word, al-ghawl, is mentioned in the Qur’an and is another contender for the origin of the term “alcohol.” It translates to “spirit” in English. As with many origins of alcohol through the ages, this one is lost to time.

Recommended Products And Brands

If you’re just getting started in the world of spirits, there is a wide range of well-regarded products available. Here are some of the recommended spirit brands and bottles carried by Country Wine & Spirits. Our online liquor store features a wide array of spirit brands.

Whiskey/Whisky/Bourbon/Scotch

Start your exploration of this wide range of spirits with an old standby, Johnnie Walker. This distillery has been in operation for hundreds of years, and produces a range of spirits, from the relatively affordable Red and Black label varieties to high-priced King George Scotch Whiskey.

On the bourbon and Tennessee whiskey side of things, standards such as Jack Daniels or Bulleit Bourbon are easy and pleasant ways into exploring the remarkable range of whiskies produced the world over.

Gin

As we noted above, human beings will try to make alcohol out of just about anything. Gin is proof (pun intended) of that. The primary flavor of gin is derived from Juniper berries, and it was originally produced as a medicinal drink as far back as the 13th century.

Some gin producers of note include TanquerayBombay Sapphire, and Beefeater. Gins can be enjoyed neat, but are very often mixed with tonic water into the classic Gin & Tonic. To this beverage, numerous garnishes can be added. Try a G&T made from Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin with some lime or lemon. Or, for a really interesting twist, pop a fresh-cut slice of cucumber into the drink.

Tequila/Mezcal

These two spirits are traditional preparations from Mexico that have taken the world by storm. Tequila has a reputation for being a very, very strong drink. Anyone who has been to a bar has likely seen the ritual of salt, tequila, and lemon being performed on a nightly basis. This combination of flavors helps to cut the strong alcohol flavor and brings out citrus notes from the agave plant origins. Patron Silver is a great place to start exploring the fascinating world of casamigos tequila.

Although the salt and lemon ritual, and neat, are two of the most popular ways to enjoy these spirits, as we noted above with the Tequila Sunrise, tequila and Mezcal can make excellent bases for tasty cocktails. And if you’re interested in trying some tequila that has an interesting story as well as a good flavor, try Casamigos, a distillery owned by George Clooney, or Clase Azul, whose high-end spirits are encased in hand-made clay bottles.