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Difference Between Liquor & Liqueur

The words liquor and liqueur may seemingly be confusing for newbie consumers and bartenders alike. The chances of mistakenly interchanging one for the other as bar ingredient are higher for those uninitiated.

So before you end up making one disastrous cocktail using these crucial bar ingredients, let’s step in to simplify the matters for you.

Liquor or ‘spirit’ is basically any distilled alcoholic beverage. It is produced by distillation of fermented grains, fruits or vegetables.

They are used as base ingredients in many cocktails.

The word liquor is derived from the Latin verb ‘liquere, which means “to be fluid”. The first usage of the liquid for drinking dates back to the 14th century.

Liqueur, on the other hand, is an alcoholic drink which is sweetened by infusing fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, flowers to the base liquor. Historically liqueurs were used for medicinal purposes, however, over the centuries the production and consumption has expanded across the world.
The word liqueur has Latin roots in ‘liquifacere’, which means ‘to dissolve’. They are commonly served straight up, in cocktails, coffee, with ice, and some liqueurs are also used in cooking.

Methods of Production

The liqueur has been around for centuries now and the sweet-tasting alcobev still remains relevant because it has evolved with time. The versatility of liqueurs makes them key ingredients in many cocktails.

The steps of production are as follows.

Step one involves the selection of alcohol, wherein neutral base alcohol is selected. Rum, gin, vodka are the preferred types of neutral alcohol used.
The other raw materials used are fruits, herbs, spices etc which contain the natural flavouring agents within seeds, zest, petals, roots, pulps etc.

Step two includes extraction by infusion; maceration; percolation; distillation.

Step three involves blending, ageing, filtering and bottling. Generally, sugar is the last ingredient which is incorporated to make a perfectly delicious liqueur.

The infusion of flavours and sweetness in liqueurs is a primary factor which makes them distinct from liquors.

The ageing process can be anywhere from a period ranging from a few months to a few years in oak casks or barrels. Bold enough to be consumed as a stand-alone drink or used in cocktails, its strength varies from 15- 55% with at least 100 gms of sugar content.
Some of the types of liqueurs are crème Liqueurs, chocolate liqueurs, coffee liqueurs, fruit-based liqueurs, schnapps, spiced liqueurs, herb-based liqueurs, nut-flavoured, whiskey-based liqueurs etc.

Liquors are considered to be the backbone of any cocktail, and unlike liqueurs, they are not sweet. They made by the process of distillation of the fermented grain mash which purifies the liquid, thus removing diluting components like water. The extraction process gives liquors a relatively high concentration of alcohol content.

Even though alcobevs like beer, wine, sake, mead and cider are fermented, they do not fall under the category because they are not distilled.

Whisky, brandy, rum, vodka, gin, tequila, baijiu are the common types of liquors.

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Difference Between Single Malt & Blended Scotch Whisky

Do you fancy a glass of smooth whisky but you get perplexed about the single malt or blended because you cannot distinguish between the two? If this sounds like you, this article comes to your rescue, because here we bring you a quick guide to the world of that fine Scotch.

As the basics go:

Whisky is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from a fermented grain mash and allowed to age in typically oak barrels. Finer whiskies are allowed to age for longer periods.

So, what types of whiskies are single malt and blended scotch?

Well, single malt and blended whiskies are essentially the types of Scotch whiskies.

Scotch whiskies from the Scottish Highlands are the celebrated whiskies around the world. The fine process of making a Scotch involves malting, drying, mashing, fermentation and distillation. These are malt or grain whiskies, originally made from the malted barley, and any whisky to be labelled as ‘Scotch’ requires strict adherence to EU regulations.

What do these regulations specify?

The Scotch Whisky Regulations sternly reinforces the production, labelling, packaging and advertising of Scotch whisky. Few key points regarding the production are as follows:

– It should be produced at a distillery in Scotland.
– It is made from water and malted barley mash and fermented by adding yeast.

– The whiskey should age in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres for a minimum period of three years.

– The minimum ABV should be 40%

Delving a little deeper:

The smoky and earthy Scotch whiskey is primarily divided into two categories namely, single grain and single malt. These categories are further sub-categorized as blended malt scotch, blended grain scotch and blended scotch whisky.

Malt Whisky is made from fermented mash of malted barley and made at a single distillery is distilled twice, and its subcategory includes single and blended malt. The primary difference between the lies in the process of distillation.

Produced & bottled exclusively in one distillery, single malt whisky is made from a batch of grains, primarily the fermented mash of malted barley and water. The aging period for the earthy single malt whisky is a minimum of three years in wooden casks, and needless to say that the older it gets, the heavier its price tag. The taste varies according to the region of production.

Blended malt whisky, as the name suggests, is a blend of two or more single malt whiskies from different distilleries. The master blender ensures the consistency of the blend is maintained.

Blended Scotch whisky is a blend of both, malt and grain whiskies from different distilleries and left to age for a minimum period of five years. While it has a pleasing taste, the blended Scotch lacks the typical character & flavour of single malt. Blended Scotch is believed to lead by a whopping 90% of total whisky production in Scotland.

As they famously say ‘a good Scotch is like a fine memory’, to conclude, whether you prefer to have it on the rocks or with water, you now know what profile your Scotch carries.

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It’s All About Vodka

Vodka is one of the popular drinks around the world which is enjoyed in all seasons under the sun! So, whether you like to drink Vodka neat or with a mixer, there are things you’d like to know about your favourite drink.

Origin

Vodka comes from the Slavic word ‘Voda’. The origin of the neutral tasting alcobev is highly debatable.

It has been produced in Poland since the Middle Ages. Originally it was used for medicinal purposes, however, it later went on to become a popular drink towards the end of 16th century. Towards the end of the 18th century, it became a mass product.

During the 16th century, the production methods included a triple distillation process. The production methods have seen many changes over the centuries.

This ‘water of life’ became massively popular in Russia towards the end of the 14th century. It is believed that around 1430, a monk from Chudov Monastery created a secret recipe of Russian vodka in Moscow Kremlin.  In 1751, it was officially documented in the courts of Empress Elizabeth.

Production

Vodka is one drink which has witnessed massive changes in the methods of production since the time it was used. Until the mid 18th century, it was a more home-based alcobev operation produced with one-pot distillation method. It involved heating of grains or potatoes until the release of starch and converted to sugar made mash. The liquid matter was then fermented and heated at a high temperature.

The straightforward drink in the present day is distilled at a high proof and commonly made from fermented mash from grains or vegetables. The EU laws require the vodka bottles to be labelled with the nature of agricultural raw material used in making it. It also requires obtained vodka to contain at least 37.5% alcohol.
While most vodkas are unflavoured, there are, however, many vodkas produced in the traditional ‘vodka-belt’, which include pepper, ginger, fruity, chocolate, etc as flavourings.
There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to branding an alcobev as Vodka, the traditionalist and the modernist.
While the traditionalists believe that spirit made from raw materials such as grain, potatoes or sugar beet molasses may be labelled as Vodka because it’s from these raw materials that Vodka essentially derives its range of flavours. However, the modernists believed that is the production method that played a significant role in determining the distinct flavours of Vodka.

Vodka produced with the traditional column-still method tends to bear little or no flavour. It can bear distinct character depending upon the distillation method, the raw material used, the temperature it is consumed at and the food it is consumed with.

How To Drink Vodka- With or without mixers?

Traditionally this iconic drink is consumed straight up and chilled, without any mixers. By consuming it chilled, one can discover a rich mouthfeel, and consuming it warm,  brings out pleasant actual flavours of the drink. The Russians like to drink their Vodkas sip-by-sip with food.

In present days, the smooth-textured alcobev is commonly consumed with mixers and often used as a base spirit in cocktails.

Over the centuries, the popularity of vodka has seen a tremendous rise due to its versatile character, and it still continues to attract the young and the suave alike.

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