Monday, May 18, 2009
"THE SPIRITS, AND ALCOHOL 101"
The spirits, and alcohol 101 In simplistic terms, spirits are alcoholic beverages that are not wines, liqueurs, or beers. Spirits include distilled beverages, such as rum, scotch whisky, gin, and vodka. Spirits generally have a higher alcoholic content than wines, beers and liqueurs.
Alcoholic content for spirits is measured in proof, expressed as a percentage of volume of water to alcohol. The term originated in an interesting way courtesy of the British.
As we know, gun powder explodes when ignited. The British found that if gunpowder was mixed with a mixture of alcohol and water, it would burn, but only if a specific amount of alcohol was mixed with the water and no less. If even the slightest amount of water above the limit was added, the gunpowder would not burn.
The British learned to use this text as a means of checking the alcoholic content of spirits. If the spirit burned, they said it was "proof" That the spirit contained and adequate quantity of alcohol. In the United States, proof of a spirit is two times the percent of alcohol, by volume or weight.
So, if a spirit contains 50 percent alcohol, the proof is 100 (2x50). It is important to know whether alcohol content is based on alcohol by volume or alcohol by weight.
A spirit that is 50 percent alcohol by weight contains more alcohol that a spirit that is 50 percent alcohol by volume. This is because alcohol is lighter that water, so it takes more alcohol to equal water weight.
Wines have less alcohol (7 to 14 percent) than spirits, and beers generally have the lowest alcoholic content ( from 2.5 to 8 percent). Spirits may range widely, from 50 to 190 proof, depending on the type of spirit and the brand. So, now when you make your next trip to the Liquor Store you will have a better understanding of Spirits,Alcohol Beer and Wine.
But if your like me you'll enjoy your cocktail even without this knowledge. Hey I just finished this at 5:00 Cocktail time!!! Cheers. Allison Allison's Kitchen http://allisonskitchen.blogspot.com