How Other Liquors are Produced
For the last several days we've spent time talking about what was once referred to as aqua vitae, or water of life, whiskey as we know it today. Now we're
going to dive into the facts of some other liquors you may know well, but do you know how exactly they're made and what differentiates them from each
Brandy is a spirituous liquor distilled from wine produced from grapes (mostly). Some brandies are produced from other fruits, such as apricots. In all
cases the process is similar - the distillation is of a 'wine' produced from the fruit. The initial distillation is known as grape spirit and is not
exactly drinkable. It is aged in Limousin oak casks for several years - this gives it its characteristic flavor and color.
The best brandies are produced in the Charente district of France known as Cognac. Armagnac is a brandy produced in the department of Gers.
Gin originated in Holland in the late 17th. century - and was brought to England by returning soldiers around the turn of that century.
Dutch gin nowadays is different to English and American gin - mainly in the strength. It is essentially a distilled spirit with a little flavoring derived
from the juniper berry. Most makers also add small quantities of some other 'botanicals' such as angelica, licorice roots, bitter almonds, caraway, lemon
or orange peel, etc. All keep their formula secret.
As it does not have a dominating flavor, gin is one of the most common base spirits used in making cocktails.
Tequila is made from a plant called 'Agave tequilana weber', more commonly known as Maguey in Mexico and as the Century plant in the U.S.A.
It's the heart of the plant that is used - the spiky leaves are removed. This heart of the plant is cooked and then shredded and squeezed to extract the
juice. Thus the plant needs to be mature before it's worth harvesting. This juice is fermented and usually double distilled into the spirit. It is then
matured in vats for up to 3 years before bottling.
There are a number of varieties of tequila, based on the maturing process. Bottling immediately after distillation results in the 'silver' or blanco
tequila. If it's aged in wood barrels it becomes what is known as Reposado Tequila and if any coloring or flavoring is added then the tequila is known as
Tequila is used as a base spirit in many cocktails such as Tequila Sunrise, Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea, etc.
Which of these is your favorite? It's hard to pick just one for us, but it is easy for us to pick what we want to drink out of, from unique martini glasses
to margarita glasses, Glass with a Twist is able to offer you personalized drink ware at the price you're looking for. Be sure to check back Friday as we
continue our series on to origins of some of the world's favorite spirits.