Perfecting the art of
Know your Spirits and Wines

All alcohol is made up by fermenting a sugary brew into enthanol and CO2. Because yeast can only ferment so much before alcohol levels become toxic to them, this liquid must be distilled (or physically separated to remove the water) in order to get higher alcohol concentrations. This is why “spirits” are differentiated in two ways: they’re distilled, and they have higher average ABVs (Alcohol by Volume). Spirit’s ABV’s usually range from around 20% to as high as 80 or 90% ABV (most spirits fall somewhere much closer to the middle). Spirits don’t apply to everything you see in a liquor store besides wine and beer, for example Amaretto and Peach Schnapps although part of the colourful, intoxicating spirits family are not quite spirits as they have ingredients like sugar, herbs and spices added to them whilst also tending to have a lower ABV. Although a number of factors differentiate a spirit from other beverages, spirits can usually be identified as having the highest ABVs. Unlike beer or wine, spirits are the product of a second step called “distillation” that further fortifies them. Popular spirits are usually, Brandy, Irish whiskey, Port, Tequila, Vermouth, Vodka, Sherry, Rum, Gin etc.
Liqueur is made from Liquor, and is sweetened and almost always flavoured (e.g. Amaretto and Kahlua). Just as spirits is synonymous to liquor, a liqueur is basically the same as a cordial. If someone offers you a cordial, known as a nightcap to most, it is usually taken after dinner and one can expect a sweet, flavored alcoholic beverage served in small quantities. Additionally the terms digestif/digestivo and aperitif/apertivo are used before and after a meal. Apéritifs are meant to stimulate our appetite, preparing our system for the meal ahead, while digestifs, as the name suggests, help us digest the meal. As aperitifs/appertivo are meant to stimulate an appetite, the drink should be very dry (low in sugar). Classic apéritifs are drinks such as dry vermouth, gin, bubbly, and dry white wine. After a hearty meal, when we shift from the dining room to the parlor, the digestif’s/digestivo’s main purpose is to aid digestion. At this point in the evening, with a full stomach, just a touch of sweetness and a higher alcohol percentage is welcomed as the drink helps our bodies settle the meal and bring everything to a close. The digestif options range from smooth whiskey and bourbon to brandy, port, sherry, and liqueur.
Wine and spirits are usually at the forefront of any social gathering but among the industry’s well known product portfolio, wine is often misunderstood. It has a similar manufacturing process to spirits where you crush fruits and extract the juice. The juice is then fermented with yeast in barrels and bottled. The three main types of wine include; red, wine and rosé. One big differentiating factor between wine and spirits is wine typically has a lower ABV value when compared to a spirit. Wines usually range between 9% to 12% ABV, while spirits are typically in the 40% ABV range. Wine and spirits also differentiate themselves through the process they are made, their ingredients, and the significant difference in the alcohol content. Whatever you choose, you can never go wrong with the varied selection of spirits and wines found at Signature Ceylon Beverages. Get in touch with our agents for more information and remember to always drink responsibly.