We spend a lot of time talking about specialty beverages, but very little about the other ingredients. Here, our R&D has written a summary of some of the popular liquors used in the preparation of cocktails. The list of liquors is by no means complete and hopefully he will be adding to it every month.
Vodka- The Code of Federal Regulations (title 27, volume 1) defines Vodka as “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” In processing, vodka is distilled and filtered to remove impurities that exist during the fermentation process. Because of this, vodka is great for use in drinks where strong liquor flavor is not desired.
Gin – A spirit flavored by Juniper berries as well as other spices and herbs. Gin’s strong flavor pairs well with citrus and works well in sour drinks such as the Gimlet (Lime juice and Gin). A new non-alcoholic soda by the Dry Soda Company, named Juniper, taste remarkably like Gin.
Tequila – A spirit made from the fermented juice of the Blue Agave. Tequila is produced only in the Tequila region of Mexico. There are a few different varieties of tequila and they differ in the length of aging and the condition of storage. For example Reposado tequila is aged between 9 months and two years in oak barrels. Tequila is used in the classic cocktail, the Margarita because it has a strong distinctive flavor that pairs well with the citrus and tartness of margarita mixes.
Whiskey/Whisky- A spirit made from fermented grains. Different types of whiskey are made using different grains and these whiskeys are aged in wood barrels (traditionally oak). Whiskeys have widely ranging flavors depending on the grain and the aging process. A young American Whiskey will taste very different from an aged Irish Whisky. Whiskeys can be bottled as either single-malt or blended. Blending can help overcome difficulties or issues with a particular batch and allow large distilleries to closely control the flavor profile. Single-malt whiskeys are popular because the distinctive characteristics of each batch make them unique. Some of the most expensive whiskeys are aged single-malt scotch whiskey. Whiskey is one part of the classic Whiskey sour cocktail.
Rum (my personal favorite) – A spirit made from fermented cane sugar and cane sugar by products such as molasses. There are two major varieties of rum, light rum, which is clear, and dark rum, which is similar to whiskey in color. Light rums are typically used for mixed drinks such as mint mojitos, while dark rums are traditionally consumed alone.
What’s your favorite liquor?