All spirits: the intro!

Welcome to your intro to spirits and to the families of spirits!

Before entering the spirits’ categories: what is a spirit?

A spirit drink (also hard liquor, or distilled alcohol) is an alcoholic beverage obtained by distillation, possibly followed by maceration or infusion of agricultural raw materials.
These manufacturing processes distinguish spirits from alcoholic drinks produced by fermentation (beer, wine, cider).
Spirit drinks are divided into two main families:
-the “simple” spirits whose taste comes directly from the distillation process (armagnac, cognac, schnapps, vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, etc.);
-the “compound” spirits, whose taste comes from vegetable substances, sugar or flavors, added to a neutral alcohol (liqueurs, aniseed-flavored drinks, etc.).

Some are aged in barrels. They are consumed alone or mixed (cocktails).
According to European legislation, a spirit drink has a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 15% vol.

And now, let’s look at the steps every spirit go through :

Ingredients preparation + Fermentation + Distillation = you get a spirit

When the liquid is distilled, it becomes a spirit. Some spirits will be almost immediately ready for consumption (after being diluted and bottled), others will need to mature and age. As dilution, bottling, maturing or colouring, additives adding steps are different for each category, we’ll explore those facts under each category.

Want to deepen the basic steps, then click below, if you want to discover the spirits, keep scrolling down.

Learn the basics
from fermentation to distillation

You have just read the introduction but you want to know more about fermentation or conversion, then this section about alcohol making process is for you.
How to make sure you learned something? Take the quiz about spirits making process. Easy Pizzy.
If you’re curious about the wording, we have started a glossary.

Now that you know about the basics, let’s explore the specificities of each spirits or, in other words, let’s explore the categories. They are grouped by main base material below. It is an unusual presentation that Spiritsfully specially designed for you and it will actually be useful.
Indeed, I have grouped here all the spirits in 6 families. This is not a usual grouping. I find that it allows to better understand the common points, not to be fooled by the geography. By family I understand all the spirits made from a type of ingredients.

There are two ways to discover spirits and fine liquors:


either you choose a spirit directly in the list:

American Whiskey AnisApple CiderAppleJackAquavitArmagnacArakBacanoraBaijiuBatavia ArrackBitterBrandy de JerezCachacaCalvadosCognacCreme de LiqueurEaux de VieFineFruit brandiesGeneverGinGrappa Irish WhiskeyKornLiqueurMastikaMarcMezcalOuzoPalinkaPastisPiscoPechugaPommeauRaicillaRakiRakiaRumRhum agricoleSambucaScottish WhiskySlibovitzShoshuSojuTequilaTsipouroTsuikaVermouthVodkaWhisky


or you explore a family:

Grain based family
Fruit based family
Herbs and spices based family
Plant based family (with sugarcane and agave based spirits)

The family of
grain based spirits

Here we will explore the making of all alcohols that are made from cereals. This is really the largest family of all, we will literally go around the world: from whisky to shoshu, from vodka to baijiu, from soju to korn!
When you feel ready, go and do that quiz about grain based spirits.

The family of
plants based spirits

As you can imagine, this section is dedicated to all spirits made from plants and especially two:
–> sugar cane (whether juice or molasses) from rum to rhum agricole to ceylan arrack to cachaca or charanda! When you are ready to check your knowledge, there is a quiz for that, the sugarcane spirits quiz.
–> agaves: tequila, mezcal and other less known beverages such as raicilla or bacanora!
When you want to check your knowledge, there is a quiz for that, the agave spirits quiz

The family
of fruit based spirits

This is also a large family, and it is also unusual to approach the family this way, through the main ingredients: fruits. So let’s discover this magical category from grappa or fine, from eaux de vie to palinka, from calvados to pisco to cognac! And remember: when you want to check your knowledge, there is a quiz for that, the fruit spirits quiz!

The family of
herbs & spices based spirits

This is also a large family including pastis or gin or aquavit, and it is a category that requires to understand how flavors can be extracted beyond distillation. And when you feel ready, there is a herbs and spices quiz.