What Are Spirits?
A spirit is distilled alcohol. Spirits distillation is the process of heating a fermented liquid, evaporating the alcohol into vapour, and then condensing it back into liquid form.

Spirits can be made from any organic substance that can be fermented to create alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are made by fermenting fruit or grain-based solutions.
How Are Spirits Measured?
Spirits are measured by alcohol content. Different countries use different scales. Most countries use alcohol by volume (ABV), also known as the Gay-Lussac System, which expresses alcohol content as a percentage of the total liquid volume of the beverage. A 40% ABV spirit contains 40% alcohol.

In the United States, the Proof Scale of measurement is used, with the proof of a spirit being double the ABV. Thus a 40% ABV spirit is 80 proof. A degree symbol is customarily used when expressing proof.
How Are Spirits Classified?
Generally speaking, spirits are classified by the fermented material that they are distilled from. Whiskies, Vodka, Gin and most types of Schnapps are made by distilling a kind of beer made from grain. Brandy is made from fermented grape juice, and Fruit Brandy is made from other fruits.

Rum and Cane Spirits derive from fermented sugar cane juice or molasses. Tequila and Mezcal are derived from the fermented pulp of the agave plant. Fortified wines are hybrid beverages, in that they are a blend of fermented wine and distilled spirits (usually Brandy).
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