While the tastes vary, every kind of alcohol — from beer to whiskey and any cocktail liquor — goes through the fermentation process. In that fermentation process, yeast is used to break down sugar or starch into ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and carbon dioxide. Alcoholic beverages like beer and wine can be consumed after the fermentation process is complete.
Spirits like vodka and tequila require an additional step of distillation, in which the alcohol is boiled for further purification. So if all alcohol is made using the same elements, how do they taste so different? In short, they vary based on the type of sugar or starch that the yeast breaks down. The following list will help you better understand the alcoholic components of your favorite drink or cocktail.
Beer is the result of fermented barley or wheat, using different varieties of hops and yeast to alter the flavor. Beers are given classifications, such as ales or lagers, based on the strand of yeast used in the fermenting process.
Wine comes from fermenting grapes, with added spices and other fruits for flavor. The varietal—such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc — is determined by which grape is used. The process of fermentation determines the color of the wine, whether it’s white or red. Red wine is made by including the grape skins in the fermentation process; but for white wines, the skins are not.
Grains are used to make whiskey, including rye, corn, and barley. Like the other alcohols, the different grains make different types of whiskey. For example, bourbon is made from fermented corn, whereas scotch uses fermented barley.
Traditionally, vodka is the result of fermented and distilled potatoes. However, today it is also made out of rye or wheat. Unlike other alcohols, vodka doesn’t fall into categories. Instead, vodka is assessed based on smoothness—the less it burns when you sip, the higher the quality.
All tequila is made from fermented blue agave at varying amounts. Certain tequilas are made entirely from agave, whereas others are mixed with different types of sugars. The ratio of blue agave doesn’t affect the quality, so you can decide which tequila to use for your cocktails based on your taste preference.
If vodka and tequila are on your list of favorite alcohols, you’ll love the Kaiso Cocktail. The Caribbean-inspired blend of coconut water, vodka, and tequila will put you in a tropical state of mind, no matter where you are. Find out where to purchase this Brooklyn-based cocktail by visiting their website, or call (718) 885-7100 to speak with a representative.