Other Liquors

Other Liquors
amber rum
amber rum
This is similar to white rum, but has a stronger flavor. Most of it is made in Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands. Bacardi, Ronrico, and DonQ are popular brands.
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aquavit
aquavit
This is made by Scandinavians, who distill it from potatoes or grains and flavor it with caraway seeds or other spices. They like to drink it chilled and straight, in small, narrow glasses. Don't confuse it with aqua vitae, or fruit brandy.
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Batavia arak
This is an aromatic rum that's produced in Java.
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blended whiskey
Blended whiskies are mixtures of different kinds of straight whiskies and neutral spirits. After they're blended, they're allowed to age together for awhile so that the flavors can marry. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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Bourbon whiskey
Bourbon whiskey
Though milder than Scotch, Bourbon is well regarded by whiskey connoisseurs. To be called Bourbon, whiskey must be produced in Kentucky and be made mostly with corn. Jim Beam is a popular brand, but more serious Bourbon lovers seek out Maker's Mark. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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Canadian whisky
Canadian whisky
These blended whiskies have a lighter body than those made in the United States. Crown Royal and Canadian Club are popular brands. Canadians follow the British convention of spelling whisky without an "e." Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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corn whiskey
corn whiskey
Like Bourbon, corn whiskey is made from corn, but it's not nearly as elegant and smooth as its pricier relative. It's a bit hard to find, but some brands--like Platte Valley, Virginia Lightning and Turkey Mountain--are still being produced. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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demerara rum
This dark, heavy rum comes from Demerara River region in Guyana. It's often used to make Zombies.
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gin
gin
This is distilled from grains and similar to vodka except that it's flavored with juniper berries, herbs, peels, and spices. London gin = dry gin = English gin = London dry gin is the preferred gin for martinis and other mixed drinks. American gin is similar, but isn't quite as heavy and dry as London gin. Hollands gin = sweet gin = Dutch gin = Geneva gin = Jenever is sweeter and more aromatic than other gins and isn't normally used for mixed drinks. Don't confuse gin with sloe gin, which is sweetened.
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grain alcohol
grain alcohol
This is pure alcohol--odorless, tasteless, and very potent at 190 proof. Cooks use it to make liqueurs, but since it can also be used to purify crack cocaine, eyebrows may be raised if you buy a large bottle. Well-known brands include Everclear and Sunset. Grain alcohol should always be diluted before consumption, since it's so harsh and potent. Don't substitute methyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol for grain alcohol--both of these are toxic.
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Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey resembles Scotch, only without the smoky flavor. Jameson 1780 and Black Bush are highly regarded brands. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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liquor
liquor
Liquor refers to distilled alcoholic beverages like whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, tequila, and brandy. These are almost always more potent than fermented alcoholic beverages like beer and wine. It's best to store liquor in a cool, dark place, and to drink it within a year after opening the bottle. Unlike wine, liquor stops aging once it's bottled. Don't confuse liquors with liqueurs, which are made with liquor but sweetened and flavored with herbs, fruit, spices, flowers, nuts, or roots.
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mezcal
mezcal
This somewhat harsh Mexican liquor is similar to tequila, except that the agave plant is fire-roasted before the sap is extracted, fermented, and distilled. This gives mezcal a distinctive smoky flavor. Some brands have an agave worm (actually a caterpillar) in the bottle, which you're supposed to eat.
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poteen
poteen
Irish moonshine or vodka. Made from potatoes like vodka.
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pulque
pulque
Like tequila, this is made from the sap of the agave plant. It's popular in Mexico, though it's a bit harsher and heavier than tequila.
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rum
rum
Rum is a key ingredient in many chilled drinks, like daiquiris, piña coladas, and Planter's punch. It's used in the kitchen, too, especially in cakes or fruit-based desserts. Rum is distilled from sugar cane, and most of it comes from cane-producing Caribbean countries. Its character varies according to its color. White rums are relatively dry and light, and commonly used in mixed drinks. The amber rums from Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and the Virgin Islands are heavier and more flavorful. The dark rums from Jamaica and Haiti are heavier still, and have a pronounced molasses flavor. Demerara rums are the darkest and heaviest of all. There also are aromatic rums that are flavored with fruits and spices.
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rye whiskey
rye whiskey
This American whiskey is made mostly with rye. It's similar to Bourbon, but not quite as elegant. Wild Turkey and Jim Beam are well-regarded brands. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky
The king of whiskies, Scotch has a very distinctive, smoky flavor. Single-malt Scotch whisky is considered the best--it has a stronger, more complex flavor than blended Scotch, which is a mixture of malt whiskies and grain whiskies. Connoisseurs of single-malt Scotch consider Macallan to be one of the finest brands. Of the blended Scotch whiskies, the more highly-esteemed brands include Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker Black Label. Use the cheaper blended Scotch for mixed drinks. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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sour-mash whiskey
sour-mash whiskey
This resembles Bourbon, but the mash is soured during the fermenting process, giving the whiskey a distinctive flavor. It's produced in Tennessee by George Dickel and Jack Daniels. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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tequila
tequila
This fiery liquor is produced in Mexico from the fermented sap of the blue agave cactus. Mexicans like to drink it straight after licking salt from the back of their hands (which they squirt first with lime juice to help the salt adhere). Tequila is also used in several cocktails, including the Tequila Sunrise. Gold tequilas and white tequilas are very similar. Tequilas añejas are aged--and more expensive. The very finest tequilas are labeled "100 percent blue agave." José Cuervo is a well-regarded brand. Tequila should always be served ice cold.
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vodka
vodka
This flavorless, colorless liquor is a great mixer, since it blends unobtrusively with other ingredients. Some prefer to drink it straight, poured from bottles they store in the freezer. Since vodka is virtually flavorless, the differences between the brands are all but imperceptible to the mortal tongue. Buy the cheapest brand if you're using the vodka in mixed drinks. Flavored vodkas also are available; here the differences in quality may be more noticeable.
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whiskey
whiskey
Whiskey is distilled from various grains that have been pounded and cooked into a mash and allowed to ferment. The whiskey is then aged in oak barrels until the flavor is mellow and smooth. The most highly esteemed whiskies are single-malt Scotch and straight Bourbon. Lower in the pecking order are rye whiskey, blended Scotch, sour-mash whiskey and the lighter and drier Irish whiskey and Canadian whisky. At the bottom is corn whiskey, also known as moonshine. Straight whiskeys tend to have a more robust flavor than blended whiskeys, which include several whiskeys and, sometimes, neutral spirits. Whiskey should be served at room temperature.
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white rum
white rum
This is used to make daiquiris, piña coladas, mai tais, and many other cocktails. The best white rum comes from Puerto Rico, but Trinidad, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands also produce it. Bacardi, Ronrico, and DonQ are popular brands.
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