Whether they’re admiring a glowing sunset in Africa or sipping on a nightcap in Hyde Park, London, people around the world love to end the day with a little bit of what they fancy.
So it’s no surprise to find out that the liquor industry is doing a roaring trade at the rate of more than 1,400 billion dollars every year. There’s more to the liquor industry than whiskey and vodka though.
These are the most popular liquors around the world, in no particular order.
Ouzo is the national drink of Greece. It has a strong anise flavor and is apparently has medicinal qualities too. Its best enjoyed with ice and is the perfect drink to sip slowly while overlooking one of the white sand beaches of the Greek Isles.
Who knew the humble potato could rise to such lofty heights? Vodka, distilled from this common tuberous plant, is Russian’s national drink and widely consumed in this country.
This potent, fiery drink is a great defense against the icy climate of Siberia and also the main ingredient in a Moscow Mule cocktail.
3. Port Wine
Technically, this is wine but it’s so distinct from the usual vintages that it’s widely known simply as ‘port’. Its made from indigenous Portuguese grapes infused with a little brandy during the winemaking process.
The result is a fortified dessert wine that’s great as a nightcap or served with cheese after the main meal.
Made from rice, sorghum, or wheat, Chinese baijiu is best enjoyed in small doses. This strong white liquor comprises up to 65% alcohol and has an unusually strong alcoholic taste.
Despite the Chinese fascination with this strong liquor, it hasn’t really taken off in the West.
The sweet taste of cachaça disguises its potent sting. Made from sugar cane, this Brazilian drink typically contains around 50% alcohol, so don’t let it’s innocuous sugary tones deceive you.
It’s the main ingredient in Brazil’s national cocktail, the lime-infused caipirinha.
Becherovka is a bitter aperitif that packs a powerful punch. It’s made exclusively in the Czech town of Karlovy Vary and consists of mineral water with a top-secret blend of ingredients including over twenty herbs and spices.
In some places, Becherovka’s mixed into a cocktail called Beton, which means concrete, so that’s saying something.
Thanks to sushi’s popularity, sake is well-known in the west and is unique in several ways. It’s another type of wine that’s crossed over into the realm of liquor, although it’s made from rice in a process that’s similar to the beer brewing process.
Unlike wine, sake is also best when it’s fresh and not aged.
Uniquely, you can drink sake warm or cold and one of the rules of engagement is that you should always pour for your friends, and they should pour for you.
Aguardiente, or firewater, comes from Colombia and is not suited to the faint-hearted. Typically, it has more than 30% alcohol and a strong anise-flavor.
Aguardiente comes from distilled sugarcane and also available in Spanish and Portuguese versions which are a little easier on the palate.
9. Scotch Whisky – One of the World’s Most Popular Liquors
Made in Scotland, this is one of the world’s favorite drinks made from barley. You can get it in blended, single grain, blended malt, and single malt varieties. Whiskey is on one of Scotland’s major export products with around 100 million cases leaving the shores of this country every year.
Irish whiskey’s spelled with an ‘e’ and manufactured slightly differently from the Scottish variety.
True tequila must contain 51% blue agave juice to meet Mexican standards, so don’t settle for cheap imitations if you want the full tequila experience, best enjoyed with salt and a slice of lemon.
Nowadays tequila’s available in many variations, you get blue tequila and tequila with flecks of gold. While this doesn’t affect its quality or purity, many enthusiasts still prefer to stick to what they know.
Traditional tequila, like the Patron, Jose Cuervo, and Herradura brands, are still clear favorites amongst traditional enthusiasts of this party starter.
This is a type of South African brandy made with leftover grapes from winemaking. The name ‘witblits’ means ‘white lightning’ and this powerful, up to 70%-proof alcohol certainly lives up to its name.
It’s so strong that it’s also suitable as a disinfectant.
Cognac is basically brandy that’s produced in France. It’s spicy, fruity and bitter taste makes it popular as a nightcap around the world and pairs well with an after-dinner cigar.
Important rules and guidelines control cognac production.
Gin is becoming ever more popular in modern times although it’s first mentioned in literature dating back to the Middle Ages. Since gin contains quinine, British troops drank it as protection against malaria during their colonial exploits.
The main ingredient in gin is juniper berries, with all manner of ingredients added to vary the taste. Some of these include lemon peel, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.
Known in Norway and Sweden as the ‘water of life, Akevitt is also distilled from potatoes. Its distinctive taste comes from adding anise, cardamom, caraway seeds, and spices to the mix.
Akevitt is a very common drink in Scandinavia, so brace yourself if you’re planning a trip there. This strong drink contains up to 45% pure alcohol.
Brandy is one of the least regulated liquors around the world. It can start off any kind of fruit, although it’s typically produced in tandem with grape wine.
The fruit mash undergoes a distilling process and spends time aging in wooden casks before making its way to dinner tables around the world.
If you’re looking for something beyond the most popular liquors, take a look at some of our articles about beer and wine.
Not much of a drinker? We’ve got plenty more to offer on our pages. Keep reading!