What is Liquor?


Oh liquor… The hard stuff that makes us feel like Superman in the moment, but weakens us like Kryptonite in the morning. It’s the secret sauce to a good cocktail and the cheap stuff that you shoot back at a college party. But it doesn’t matter if you’re at a party or the bar, to understand what’s in your glass we have to touch down on the basics. Plus, you don’t want to be that person at the bar asking, “What’s that?” over and over again.


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-A distilled beverage, spirit or liquor, is an alcoholic beverage produced by distillation.

-It can be distilled of grains, fruits, or vegetables that have already gone through alcoholic fermentation.

-A spirit is a distilled beverage that has no added sugar and at least 20% alcohol by volume. 

You can use the terms, 'Spirit' and 'Liquor' interchangeably. 

A Brief History:

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Historians credit the Chinese with having independently developed the process of distillation in the early centuries of the Eastern Han dynasty. 

The origin of "spirit" in reference to alcohol stems from Middle Eastern alchemy. It wasn’t until the 17th century that people began drinking spirits for fun rather than for medical purposes. 

Prohibition laws affected numerous countries in the 20th century, putting an end to the abuse of alcohol. To get around the law, bootlegging became a common practice. Eventually, the government repealed prohibition and instead created strict laws around the consumption of liquor. 

Liquor VS. Liqueur:

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A lot of people don’t hear the difference in between these two words, and their spelling doesn’t help any... But the truth is they are both different and it is extremely important to understand these two terms before you end up with the wrong drink in your hand! These are the main distinctions:

-Liqueurs are sweetened liquors with more sugar, different flavors, and typically (not always) have less alcohol content than liquors. 

-Liqueurs are thicker in consistency and closer to syrup than liquors. 

-A liquor usually serves as the base spirit for a liqueur. 

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This simple introduction should help you should you understand a little more of what’s in your drink. Be on the lookout for more educational articles coming soon. 

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City