Types of Alcohol

An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing the psychoactive drug ethyl-alcohol (also known as ethanol) and other small amounts of  alcohol. These alcohols are reviewed in this page. 

There are two main categories of alcohol used by people.

The first being Distilled Beverages (produced by means of distillation) and Fermented Beverages (produced by the fermentation of fruit).

Beneath these 2 catergories lie many sub-catergories, some of these are listed below.

  • Spirits – A distilled alcohol, usually produced from grains and fermented fruits.
  • Liqueurs – Flavoured spirits, usually prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers, in either water or alcohol, and adding sugar, etc.
  • Wines and Champagnes – Produced from the fermentation of grapes.
  • Ale – A fermented beverage cotainting malt and hops, similar to but heavier than beer.
  • Ciders – A fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice.
  • Beers – A fermented alcohol brewed from malt and flavoured with hops. 

Many different types of alcohol beverages fall within these catergories, here are the most commonly used.

  • Beer – A fermented alcohol brewed from malt and flavoured with hops.
  • Ale – A type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm-fermentation with a strain of brewers’ yeast.
  • Ginger Beer – Ginger beer is a carbonated drink, that is flavored primarily with ginger and sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Rum and Coke – An alcoholic liquor distilled from fermented molasses or sugar cane.
  • Vodka and Orange –  A distilled beverage composed primarily of water and ethanol, sometimes with traces of impurities and flavorings.
  • Tequila – An alcoholic liquor distilled from the fermented juice of the Central American century plant Agave tequilana.
  • Margarita – A cocktail made with tequila, an orange-flavored liqueur, and lemon or lime juice.
  • Wine – A beverage made of the fermented juice of any of various kinds of grapes, usually containing from 10 to 15 percent alcohol by volume.
  • Champagne – A sparkling white wine made from a blend of grapes, especially Chardonnay and pinot, produced in Champagne.
  • Cider – a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, most commonly and traditionally apple juice.

All alcohol beverages have different Alcohol by Volume (ABV). Here are a few examples of the most common beverages available.

  • Beers
    • A half pint (284 ml) of beer with 3.5% ABV contains almost exactly one unit; however, most beers are stronger. In pubs in the United Kingdom, beers generally range from 3.5%–5.5% ABV, and continental lagers start at around 5% ABV. A pint of such lager (e.g., 568 ml at 5.2%) contains almost 3 units of alcohol rather than the oft-quoted 2 units.
    • Stronger beer (6%–12%) may contain 2 units or more per half pint.
    • A half litre (500 ml) of standard lager or ale (5%) contains 2.5 units.
    • One litre (1000 ml) of typical Oktoberfest beer (5.5%–6%) contains 5.5–6 units of alcohol
  • Wines
    • A medium glass (175 ml) of 12% ABV wine contains around two units of alcohol. However, British pubs and restaurants often supply larger quantities (large glass ≈ 250 ml), which contain 3 units. Red wine may have a higher alcohol content (on average 12.5%, sometimes up to 16%).
    • A 750 ml bottle of 12% ABV wine contains 9 units. Some port wines may contain 20% ABV or more, which is 15 units of alcohol per bottle.
    • A 750 ml bottle of 14.5% ABV wine contains 10.88 units.
  • Fortified Wines
    • A small glass (50 ml) of sherry, fortified wine, or cream liqueur (≈20% ABV) contains about one unit.
  • Spirits
    • Most spirits sold in the United Kingdom have 40% ABV or slightly less. In Great Britain, a single pub measure (25 ml) of a spirit contains one unit.

Each of these drinks equates to approximately one standard drink:

  • A little less than 285ml pot of full strength beer (4.8% alc./vol)
  • 2/3 of a 375ml stubbie/can of full strength beer (4.8% alc./vol)
  • a 375ml stubbie/can of mid strength beer (3.5% alc./vol)
  • 1¼ of a 375ml stubbie/can of low strength beer (2.7% alc./vol)
  • 100ml of wine or sparkling wine (12.0% alc./vol)
  • A 30ml ‘shot’ or ‘nip’ of spirits (40.0% alc./vol)
  • 2/3 of a 275ml bottle/can of ready-to-drink spirits/wine (7.0% alc./vol)
  • 2/3 of a 375ml bottle/can of alcoholic cider (5.0% alc./vol).
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