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Category Archives: Spirits

Irish Whiskey

What is Irish Whiskey? Irish Whiskey is a grain spirit distilled and aged on the island of Ireland Must be aged 3 years in wood (usually oak) vessels that are less than 700 litres in size Must be distilled to less than 94.8% abv Only water and caramel colouring can be added to the matured...

Vodka

What is Vodka? A neutral distilled liquor that is clear, colourless and has no definite taste or aroma Can be made using a mash of anything from grains to potatoes Must be distilled to 95% ABV (US) and 96% (EU) Alcohol content of vodka ranges from 37.5 to 55 percent Vodka is typically charcoal filtered....

Rye

What is Rye Whisky? To be called Rye Whisky in Canada: The spirit has to be distilled and aged in Canada. The Whisky must be matured in wooden barrels no larger than 700L Rye must be aged in wood casks for a minimum of 3 years. Must be bottled at no less than 40% ABV...

Mezcal

What is Mezcal? It is a spirit drink that comes from any cooked and distilled agave. Mezcal is made by harvesting agaves, cooking them often in a pit in the ground, fermenting them in a vat and then distilling before bottling. Following the Denomination of Origin, Mezcal must be made in one of 9 Mexican...

Gin

What is Gin? There are different rules about Gin, depending on where in the world you are, but generally speaking: – The “predominant” characteristic must be juniper. – Must be bottled no lower than 37.5% ABV – Must be made from a re-distillation of spirit with botanicals or a maceration of botanicals in the spirit....

Chilean Pisco

What is Chilean Pisco? A grape-based spirit usually made with Muscatel grapes (but there are a total of 11 varietals that can be used) Made in only two regions in the north of Chile: Atacama and Coquimbo. The climates here are dry and desert-like. The maximum distillation strength is 73% After distillation, water is added...

Canadian Whisky

What is Canadian Whisky? To be called Canadian Whisky, the distilled spirit must be: Made with cereal grain The cereal mash production must take place in Canada The distillation must take place in Canada; Canadian producers can distil any way they choose The aging process must take place in Canada for a minimum of 3...

Bourbon

What is Bourbon? It must be made in the United States. It must be made with a minimum of 51% corn in the mashbill. It must be aged in new charred oak barrels. (Hint: this is why so many other spirits are aged in bourbon barrels!) Straight Bourbon must be aged for a minimum of...

Quick Spirits

spir•it (liq•uor)  noun An alcoholic product made from a grain or fruit/vegetable-derived sugar that is fermented and then distilled. Refers to liquor that contains no added sugar and has a minimum of 20% alcohol by volume (ABV).   Quick Spirits is a guide to different liquors as a way to educate you on the what...

Let’s Talk Non-Alcoholic Spirits

About 105 days ago my city of Toronto shut down. Three weeks prior we had been innocently touring distilleries in Northern Italy. We had kept up with the news of a Global Pandemic but all of it seemed so far away. Upon landing home from Italy, we learned of the outbreak there and then those...

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A QUICK GUIDE TO ALCOHOLIC SPIRITS