A Quick Summary Of Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages and its relative consumption has basically been part of human culture ever since it was discovered.  The best estimates that scientist can give on alcohol consumption is that it dates back to as far as 10,000 B.C.  While experts all agree on this particular timeframe, they are however unsure if the discovery was intended or that it only happened by chance.  Nonetheless, their discovery of beer jugs from the Stone Age readily suggests that men have been fermenting alcoholic beverages intentionally.

According to historians, berries were the main ingredients used in the earliest forms of alcohol and that winemaking was first conceived in the Middle East where grapes flourished.  The Bible even talks of Noah cultivating a vineyard within Mt. Ararat, an area that is currently Eastern Turkey.  Sumerians on the other hand used beer and wine for use in medical purposes.  Ancient Egyptians believed their deity, the god Osiris, created beer.  Catholics on the other hand use wine sacramentally as a representation of the blood of Christ in their recreation of the Last Supper.

Over the many centuries, the process on how alcoholic beverage made grew and have become somewhat distinct to certain countries.  Nevertheless, the overall process in which alcoholic drinks are made are still very much the same.

There are three types of alcoholic beverages – Wine, Beer, and Spirits.  Both beer and wine use only the fermentation process whereas spirits undergo an additional distillation process of their fermented brew.

cheers_to_beers_1Wine – an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of grape juice.  The use of different types of grapes as well as the age in which the grapes are harvested results in the variety of wine and their particular taste.

  • Red Wine – these are made using dark-colored grapes. The taste of red wine are often more complex than their white wine counterpart.
  • White Wine – these are made using light-colored grapes. The taste of white wine is often lighter and less complex than red wine.
  • Sparkling Wine or Champagne – these are wines that are bubbly due to the carbonation effect of the wine as it undergoes second fermentation within the wine bottle.

Beer – this is considered as the first type of alcoholic beverage that dates back to over 10,000 B.C.  It is made using either or a combination of grains and starches such as wheat, barley, rice, maize, or cereal.  Beer is without doubt the most consumed alcoholic drink in the world.

  • Ales – these are brewed under warmer temperature and results in much flavorful and more complex tasting beer.
  • Lager – these are brewed under colder temperature and results in much cleaner and refreshing beer with light flavor and aroma.
  • Fruit Beers – these are beers with fruit extracts added to the beer during the beermaking process.

Spirits – these are the strongest forms of drinks as they have very high alcoholic contents.  They are made through an additional distillation process after being fermented.

  • Absinthe – is made using different flowers.
  • Brandy – is made using fermented grapes.
  • Gin – is made from grain and adding juniper berries to achieve its aroma.
  • Rum – is made using fermented sugarcane.
  • Sake – is made using fermented rice.
  • Tequila – is made using fermented agave tequilana plant.
  • Vodka – is made using fermented grains and/or potatoes
  • Whiskey – is made using fermented grain, wheat, barley, or rye.

All the alcoholic beverages mentioned are the most common and the most basics of alcoholic drinks.  Oftentimes, the best made ones come from their original place of origin.  Nevertheless, thanks to a wide range of global marketing and distribution, nearly all types of alcoholic beverages are available in most areas.  Additionally, thanks to this availability, the mixing of these drinks into cocktails results into a multitude of alcoholic beverage possibilities.

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The Bourbon Whiskey

If the people from Scotland have their scotch whiskey, the American people have their bourbon whiskey.  In fact, the bourbon can be said without doubt as the American whiskey.  Bourbon whiskey is very similar to that of any other whiskey as they are aged in oak barrels that are charred to give them that deep red brown color.  Corn is one of the primary ingredients used in the making of bourbon.  The name bourbon comes from an area called Bourbon County in Kentucky.

Those who drink bourbon whisky find it to go very well with cigars.  In a manner of speaking, if burgers are a match with soda, crackers and toast bread are a match with orange juice, then cigar smoking matches very well with bourbon.  People that smoke while drinking bourbon say that they are a perfect match as both the alcoholic beverage and the cigar complement each other very well.

cheersWhile bourbon is still very much a whiskey, what differentiates it from other whiskey is the use of corn.  Aside from this though, there are other criterions that are needed by manufacturers in the making of bourbon whiskey.  These criterions are very strict and should be followed stringently in order for their liquor to carry the name bourbon.

Regulations state that any bourbon whiskey should at least contain 51 percent corn for it to be called bourbon.  Some manufacturers of bourbon even use 70 percent corn in their production with barley, wheat, rye and other ingredients consisting the other parts.  They mash up the ingredients and grounding them and then adding water into the mix.  There are some manufacturers who add mash coming from past batches so as to ensure consistency between batches.  Yeast is added into the mash to begin fermentation and then distill the juice once fully fermented.

Age is an important part of any whiskey and bourbon whiskeys are no different.  Once the brew has been fermented and distilled, the spirit is placed in charred oak barrels to age and mature for at least 2 years.  This aging is the part where the whiskey gets their flavor as well as color.  Essentially, the sugars from the charred oak wood get infused within the distilled alcohol.  Once the bourbon whiskey has been aged, the adding of coloring and flavors like spices is prohibited.  Any spices used must be added earlier on during the grounding and fermenting process.

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