Spirits

The term spirit refers to a distilled beverage that contains no added sugar and has at least 20% alcohol by volume (ABV).  A distilled beverage, spirit, liquor, hard liquor or hard alcohol is an alcoholic beverage produced by distillation of a mixture produced from alcoholic fermentation. This process purifies it and removes diluting components like water, for the purpose of increasing its proportion of alcohol content (commonly expressed as alcohol by volume, ABV).  As distilled beverages contain more alcohol, they are considered “harder” – in North America, the term hard liquor is used to distinguish distilled beverages from undistilled ones.  As examples, this term does not include beverages such as beer, wine, and cider, as they are fermented but not distilled. These all have relatively low alcohol content, typically less than 15%. Brandy is a spirit produced by the distillation of wine, and has an ABV of over 35%. Other examples of distilled beverages include vodka, gin, rum, and whisky.  Distilled beverages generally have an alcohol concentration higher than 30%. Beer and wine, which are not distilled beverages, are limited to a maximum alcohol content of about 20% ABV, as most yeasts cannot reproduce when the concentration of alcohol is above this level; as a consequence, fermentation ceases at that point.

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