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What are Spirits?

Spirits are considered to be the biggest and brawniest older brother of the alcohol family. Unlike beer or wine, spirits are the product of a second step called distillation and have higher average ABVs (Alcohol by Volume), There are a lot more that differentiates one spirit from another, but centuries of distilling history is what clearly separates spirits in the alcohol world.

How to Taste Spirits

It is helpful to pour your spirit into a glass, and certain glassware works better than others - a general spirits-friendly tasting glass will do the trick! Other professionals recommend Bordeaux wine glasses, small snifters or tulip-shaped glasses with narrow mouths in order to concentrate the alcohol's aromas.

Some people tend to keep certain spirits in the freezer, but all spirits including flavorless vodka, should be initially tasted at room temperature. In case of a warmer temperature, the volatile aromatic compounds would be more evident compared to the cold that masks it. Although, this is only suitable for specifically tasting standalone spirits and not recommended for mixed drinks.

Spirits are mostly clear or rusty in color. While not visually exciting compared to other members of the alcohol family, there is certainly more than meets the eye when it comes to spirits. Pay attention to clarity and bubbles, which are not a result of carbonation but agitation, and occus only in higher 50% ABV (alcohol by volume) spirits. Its clearness does not neccessarily translate to less flavor as so is to darker colored beverages. 

Similar to beer and wine, getting a sniff of your alcoholic beverage is recommended by others. This is for the reason that aromas play a huge role in taste, and the aromatics of a spirit can be especially volatile. However, take caution to not dip your nose too deep into the glass because it will give you a burning alcohol sensation. To do this correctly, hold the glass just a little distance from your nose and inhale gently with your mouth open or closed.