Many alcoholic beverages are derived from materials that contain starch. Enzymes break down the starch into glucose molecules through fermentation, which is then converted into ethanol. Fermentation can be divided into two stages:
—a small concentration of ethanol is produced, as enzymes are sensitive to pH level, temperature, and alcohol concentration.
—this stage is usually necessary to increase the ethanol concentration, and it is called distillation.
The production of fermented alcoholic beverages using raw materials containing starch has been practiced for centuries. The choice of raw materials used in the production of alcoholic beverages is usually based on local supply, as it is more cost-effective. For example, barley is used for the production of malt whiskey in the UK, while other cereals are used for grain alcohol manufacturing. In North America, corn (maize) and rye are used for whiskey production. Rye is generally used for its flavor characteristics, although it is less effective in fermentation compared to corn.
Potatoes are another starchy material used in alcohol production. Potatoes and grains are widely produced in Germany and Scandinavia, making them the main regional raw materials for spirits production. Rice, a widely grown cereal, is also used in distilled spirits manufacturing, but it is more commonly used as a raw material in the Far East for the production of sake. However, advances in transportation have made it easier to import uncommon raw materials to specific areas, eliminating geographical restrictions on alcohol production.
There are several main alcoholic drinks and spirits that contain starchy raw materials and can be used in cocktails:
When making beer, yeast is added to start the fermentation process. Malt, which is artificially sprouted grain (usually barley and wheat), is used in beer production. Malt, along with water, yeast, and hops, are essential ingredients in beer production. Malt and other fermentable materials contain starch, which is used in the alcoholic fermentation process. The products of this process are carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol.
There are three main types of beer: ale, lager, and lambic. Ales are sweeter than lagers, and their colors range from pale gold to dark shades. Lagers have a smoother flavor. Ales can be further divided into several types, such as amber ale, pale ale, stouts, porter, wheat beer, and others. Ales pair well with citrus fruits like lemon and orange, or summer berries, making them ideal for ale cocktails.
The main types of lagers include bock, dunkel, marzen, pale lager, and dopple bock. They have a malty taste that can be complemented by coffee or chocolate flavors. Spices and fruit flavors can also be added to both ales and lagers to produce beverages with lower alcohol content and more pronounced flavors.
Liquors and Vodka
Pure grain alcohol is about 190 proof, but vodka available in stores is typically diluted to around 80 proof. Vodka and other spirits usually have an alcohol content of 40%, while liquors may vary from 15% to 55%. Vodka is fermented from beets, barley, wheat, corn, and sometimes molasses or fruits. In some countries, potato vodka is also a popular alternative as it is gluten-free. Vodka is classified into neutral, flavored, non-flavored, and regional varieties.
Vodka may have a strong alcohol aroma or may contain additional flavorings, depending on the ingredients used in its production. To enhance the taste, odorless and tasteless vodka can be flavored with chili peppers, lemons, oranges, and other fruits to create a pleasant aroma. Another option is to use vodka in cocktails, which are very popular in America and Western Europe.
Whiskey is mostly made from barley, corn, and rye. This type of alcohol undergoes two or three rounds of distillation and is aged in oak barrels for at least three years.
There are several types of whiskey:
* American or American corn
* American Rye, which contains at least 51% rye and usually has corn and malted barley added to the mash
* Canadian Rye, which does not have a specified amount of rye content
* Canadian whiskeys, which are blends of different grains and often contain a large percentage of corn spirit, resulting in a lighter style compared to other whiskeys
* English, Finnish, German, Indian, Irish, Japanese, Scotch, South African, Malt, Wheat, Blended, Australian, Welsh, etc.
Whiskey is commonly used in cocktail recipes and is a popular choice in bars and pubs. The different types of whiskey used in cocktails create unique flavors and sensations. There are many delicious whiskey cocktails that can be made, and their variations depend not only on the other ingredients but also on the type of whiskey used.
There are various types of grain spirits that can be made and used in cocktails or liquor production. They can be combined with other spirits, juices, sparkling water, ginger ale, and flavorings, resulting in a wide range of flavor palettes.