Alcoholic Beverages

views updated May 21 2018

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages all share the common feature of being produced through anaerobic fermentation of plant-derived carbohydrate materials by yeasts. Sugars are converted to alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide by these fungi, which also impart characteristic flavors and aromas to the beverage. Depending upon what fermentable material is used, and the method by which the materials are processed, alcoholic beverages may be classified as being wines, beers, or spirits. Many countries in which they are produced regulate the production of most spirits, beer, and wine and carefully control taxation of these alcoholic beverages.


Wines are alcoholic beverages that have been fermented from fleshy fruits (e.g., apples, grapes, peaches, and plums), although most often from the cultivated grape Vitis vinifera (family Vitaceae) and related species. While the vast majority of wines are made from grapes, wines may also be made from the vegetative parts of certain plants.

Wines are made by harvesting ripened grapes from farms known as vineyards. The timing of the harvest is critical, since a balance of accumulated sugar, acids, and other grape flavor components reaches an optimal level to ultimately produce a fine wine. If the grapes are harvested too soon or too late, there is the possibility of producing a lower quality wine. Bunches of

BeverageFermented MaterialsCarbonated?Distilled?Other Features
AlesBarley malt, wheat, riceYesNoWarm fermented
StoutHighly kilned (dark) maltYesNoAn ale using dark malts
LagersBarley maltYesNoCold fermented
Weizen beersWheat maltYesNoWheat beers of Germany
RedGrapes fermented with skinsNoNoServed at room temperature
WhiteGrapes fermented without skinsNoNoServed chilled
PortGrapesNoNo/YesFortified with alcohol/cognac
ChampagneGrapes fermented without skinsYesNoA sparkling wine
Sparkling winesGrapesYesNoMay be blended
ScotchBarley malt, oftenNoYesAged in oak casks
(single malt)peat-smoked
RyeRye (at least 51 percent)NoYesMaximum 80 proof
BourbonCorn (at least 51 percent)NoYesSour mashed with bacteria
GinMalt, other grainsNoYesFlavored with juniper cones
RumSugarcane or molassesNoYesLight or dark rums available
Tequila/MescalAgave tequiliana stemsNoYesTraditional drinks of Mexico
VodkaMalt, grains, potatoesNoYesFew additional flavors
Brandy/CognacWinesNoYesDistilled wines
LiqueursWinesNoYesSweetened with added sugars
SakeRiceNoNoDouble fermentation
CiderApplesYes/NoNoMay be flavored/spiced
MeadHoneyYes/NoNoMay be flavored/spiced

grapes are removed from the vines, usually by manual labor, and are brought to the winery for production. The grapes are passed through a mechanical destemmer that removes the nonfruit portions of the bunches, and the fruits are then crushed to express the juice from the fleshy berries. The liquid obtained from the crushed grapes is termed "must." The must is placed in either open or closed fermentation vessels (typically closed vessels in modern wineries) and readied for fermentation. If red wines are being made, the skins from the pressed grapes are also added to the fermentation vessel (the grape skins contribute reddish pigments to the finished wine); for white wine production, the skins are not used and only clear must is fermented.

The must that is ready to be fermented is then inoculated with a particular strain of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) that has been selected for wine fermentation. There are hundreds of different strains of wine yeast, each imparting a particular flavor during the fermentation. When complete, the fermentation will produce an alcohol content of approximately 12 to 14 percent alcohol by volume. Following fermentation, any suspended particulate material (the lees) is allowed to settle, and the clear wine is siphoned (or racked) to a new storage vessel, which is usually a large barrel made from white oak wood. The wine is then conditioned in these barrels for a year or more, occasionally being racked to new oak barrels as the wine matures. Under these conditions, chemical reactions take place in the wine that add complexity to the flavor profile. Even contact with tannins in the walls of the barrel provides subtle and desirable flavor characteristics that lower quality wines conditioned in stainless steel vessels lack. Most wines are "still" (not carbonated), but sparkling wines are allowed to undergo another fermentation after they mature, and are bottled while this fermentation is occuring, thereby carbonating the wine. Champagne is one famous version of a sparkling (white) wine originally from the region of France known by that name.

Wines are bottled in glass containers and are usually sealed by inserting a compressed cork into the neck of the bottles. Wine is stored and further matured while laying on the side, so that the cork remains moist to maintain its airtight seal. Some wines should be consumed within a year or two of production; others need many years or decades to achieve their optimum flavor.

The wine industry is an extensive one, with major centers of production in France, California, Italy, Spain, and Germany, with additional developing centers of production in South Africa, Australia, Argentina, and Chile. Although wine is vinted around the world, certain places are favored for wine production due to optimal climates and suitable land for the establishment of vineyards. Wine grapes often need warm days and cool nights, with minimal temperature extremes seasonally. Furthermore, ample sunlight, available soil nutrients, and sufficient water are required for grape production. Due to variation in seasonal climates, growing and harvest conditions, and seasonal timing of production events, significant changes occur from year to year that make wines produced in certain years of higher or lower quality. Thus, the practice of labeling vintages of wine (the year of wine production) and the grape variety from which they were made is established so that enologists (people who study wine) can evaluate differences from year to year, as well as to ensure that enophiles (people who enjoy and collect wine) can purchase wines of known quality. Since many of the variables that go into wine production are not controllable by the wine producers, differences are bound to occur in each production cycle. The variation in wine flavors is therefore unending and the source of fascination for many who appreciate wine.


Among the oldest records of the production and use of alcoholic beverages is that of beer, which originated in Mesopotamia and the Babylonian regions of Asia at least fifty-five hundred years ago. Beer is a beverage obtained by fermenting carbohydrate-containing extracts of various grains with yeast. It is usually flavored with bittering substances to balance the sweet flavor of unfermented sugars, which are typically found in beer.

The brewing process begins by taking grains, usually barley (Hordeum vulgare ), and producing malt. To do this, viable barley grains are steeped in water and allowed to germinate under controlled conditions. The germination process produces enzymes that begin to break down the complex carbohydrates (starch) found in the endosperm of the barley grains into soluble sugars. When a specified stage of germination is reached, the enzyme concentration in the sprouted grains is maximized to an optimal level, and the entire process is halted abruptly by rapid drying (called kilning) of the grains to remove most of the water. At this stage the sprouted and dried grains are called malt. The degree of kilning of the malt determines the darkness and color of the resulting beer; for instance, malts that are highly kilned produce beers with darker color.

In order to extract a sufficient amount of fermentable sugars, the malt is crushed to expose the embryo and endosperm components; the ground malt is called grist. To begin conversion of starches and complex carbohydrates into fermentable sugars, the grist is mixed with water (the mash) and heated to a temperature of approximately 65°C (150°F). Under these conditions, the once active enzymes (amylases) are reactivated and continue to break down the carbohydrate materials. When the brewer determines that the conversion is complete, the fluid portions of the mash are removed through a process known as sparging, and the liquid (called sweet wort) is transferred to a boiling vessel.

The sweet wort is then boiled for a specific length of time, typically one to two hours, while the resinous, cone-like inflorescences of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus; family Cannabinaceae) are added to provide flavoring, aromatic, and bittering characteristics to the beer. Hops contain resins, collectively termed lupulin, which gives the beer its characteristic aroma and bitterness. Prior to the use of hops, other herbs, such as spruce, nettle, and woodruff were used for the same purpose: to balance the beer's sweetness with bitterness. The boiling process also kills microorganisms that would otherwise spoil the wort, or produce undesirable fermentation products. The liquid that has been boiled with hops is now termed bitter wort; it is rapidly cooled and passed on to a fermentation vessel.

Fermentation historically took place in open-topped fermenters, although modern commercial breweries use closed fermenters and are meticulous in their sanitary practices to ensure that fermentation is accomplished only by the yeast strain with which the brewer inoculates the cooled bitter wort. Two main kinds of yeast are used: ales are beers fermented with beer strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae at temperatures of 15° to 25°C (59° to 77°F); lagers are beers fermented with strains of S. uvarum at temperatures of 5° to 15°C (41° to 59°F), which are further conditioned (lagered) at near-freezing temperatures for several weeks or months. The alcohol content of the majority of beers is generally around 5 percent by volume, although certain styles of beer are produced with alcohol contents ranging from 8 to 14 percent and higher.

Some beers are naturally carbonated by continued slow fermentation after they are bottled, or they are artificially carbonated prior to bottling. Beers are also packaged in kegs (traditionally in oaken barrels) or in metal cans. Although the earliest beer production took place originally in the Middle East, the origins of modern beer styles can be traced to Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. There are a number of indigenous beers produced by many cultures around the world, but few have had as much influence on the brewing industry as those originating from the European region.


Beverages produced from plant products that have been fermented and then distilled are considered spirits. The distillation process takes the fermented materials, often with a maximum alcohol content of 14 to 16 percent, and increases it to 40 to 75 percent alcohol by vaporizing the alcohol and many flavor components and then condensing them in specialized equipment known as stills. The concentrated alcoholic beverages resulting from this process are spirits or liquor, alluding to the condensate coming from the distillation process. Whiskeys (including Scotch or single-malt whiskey), bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, brandy, and various other liqueurs are produced through the distillation process. Each begins with a different starting material prior to fermentation and these impart different flavor characteristics in the finished spirit. Spirits are measured for alcohol content, and are then described as having a certain proof, or twice the measured alcohol content (an 86 proof whiskey has an alcohol content of 43 percent, for example). Spirits are the major component of mixed drinks.

Other Alcoholic Beverages

A variety of other alcoholic beverages exist in nearly every culture. Often they are safer to drink than local water sources, which may contain parasites, so they are widely used. Additionally, many alcoholic beverages complement different cuisines of served foods, and in some cases have been shown to improve digestion. Sake is a beerlike beverage originating in Japan that uses rice as the source of carbohydrate materials and is double fermented using yeast and a species of Aspergillus fungus. Cider (sometimes called hard cider) is an alcoholic beverage, popular in England, produced from yeast-fermented apple juice; it is occasionally flavored with a variety of spices. Mead, a beverage originating from medieval Europe, consists of honey that is fermented, occasionally together with other herbs or fruits, to produce a winelike drink that may be still or sparkling. The term "honeymoon" is coined from the practice of giving a gift of mead to a newly married couple: if they drank mead (honey) each night until the next moon, they would be given the gift of a new child.

see also Alcoholic Beverage Industry; Cork; Economic Importance of Plants; Grasses.

Robert S. Wallace


Jackson, Michael. The New World Guide to Beer. Philadelphia, PA: Courage Books, 1988.

Johnson, H. The World Atlas of Wine. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1985.

Simpson, B. B., and M. C. Ogorzaly. Economic Botany: Plants in Our World, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc., 1995.

Alcoholic Beverages

views updated May 17 2018

Alcoholic Beverages

Long before the Conquest, peoples of the Americas produced and consumed fermented beverages. These drinks became integral to the fabric of life, and withstood efforts to eliminate or replace them after the arrival of the Europeans. Some are still consumed today.


Chicha is a generic name for beverages made from grains or fruits. Chicha can be nonalcoholic, such as chicha de quinoa, which is simply a quinoa broth. But it is the fermented beverage that has had the most influence on Latin American history. Plantains, algarroba, palms, berries, cassava, sweet potatoes, and maize have been commonly used. The chicha from the Andean region is best known. To produce it, maize kernels were moistened, a diastase (often the saliva of women who chewed the kernels) and water added, and then the mixture was cooked. (Masato, or the common manioc beer of the Amazon region, was made in essentially the same way.) Malting (letting grains germinate after soaking), akin to the European method of beer making, was another method of fermentation. The alcoholic content of chicha varied from 2 to 12 percent, depending on the type of maize and the fermentation process. Twentieth-century Peruvian cookbooks present standard recipes for some of the more traditional chichas.

Pulque was the Nahuatl octli, the "honey water" common to the cultures of central Mexico. Pulque was also a ritual drink, associated with certain gods and ceremonial practices. As with chicha, the process of pulque production was simple. The stem of the maguey plant was cut, allowing the juice (aguamiel) to collect in the cavity of the plant. Traditionally this was extracted from the plant with a long tube, and placed in wooden or leather containers. The addition of already prepared pulque initiated the fermentation process, which could last from a week to a month. Variants of pulque (pulque curado) might include nuts, fruits, and herbs as sweeteners and flavorings. Frances Calderón De La Barca, perhaps Mexico's most famous nineteenth-century observer, wrote: "It is said to be the most wholesome drink in the world, and remarkably agreeable when one has overcome the first shock occasioned by its rancid odor." With distillation (a process introduced after 1492), the juice of the maguey also produced mescal and tequila, beverages that became increasingly popular in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the twenty-first century, tequila enjoys worldwide acclaim.

Chicha and pulque survived the Conquest and competition from imported beverages. They were admirably suited to the geography and culture of the Andes and Mexico. Ingredients were readily available and production was simple. This popularity was also due to their ceremonial use, as offerings to the gods to insure good harvests and to provide strength during battle. They were believed to have a range of magical and relating qualities that insured the continuation of the community and the culture. They were also valued for medicinal purposes, useful in combating infection and disease. The nutritional quality of chicha and pulque has been disputed since the sixteenth century, but modern nutritional analysis has demonstrated that both could, depending on ingredients used and the manner of preparation, contain significant amounts of protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, in addition to other nutrients.


Europeans introduced their own beer—made from barley—soon after the Conquest, receiving licenses to manufacture it in Mexico as early as 1544. Despite early protection from the crown and efforts to limit consumption of Indian beverages, European beers made slow inroads in Latin America until the late nineteenth century, when a new wave of European immigration prompted changes in alcoholic consumption patterns. Regions receiving the largest numbers of immigrants experienced the most profound changes, but throughout Latin America, even those areas with dense indigenous populations, beer gradually became more popular. In Mexico in the twentieth century, the local and regional characteristics of beer have given way to uniform taste and quality as the three giant producers, La Cervecería Cuauhtémoc, Cervercería Moctezuma, and Cervecería Modelo, have dominated the industry. In Brazil, where beer has almost achieved the status of a national drink, the same process of centralization of production and distribution has occurred with the giant breweries of Brahma, Antártica, and Kaiser.


Wine was the staple drink of the Spanish diet in the sixteenth century, and the preference for wine was carried to the New World. Despite the centrality of wine in the Iberian diet, however, it did not become the universal drink of Latin America. In Mexico, the production of wine had a sporadic history, as mercantilist legislation attempted to prevent its production. Disruptions in trade and the need for wine for religious and medicinal purposes led to occasional permission to grow grapes for wine, but it was not until the late nineteenth century that the industry developed in earnest. And it was only after World War II that Mexico developed a wine industry comparable to that of Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Peru, the center of Spanish civilization in South America, supported a flourishing wine industry in its coastal valleys. It hoped to maintain a monopoly of production and supply, but distribution problems led to the development of vineyards in other countries. Eventually, Chile, Argentina, and southern Brazil emerged as important producers. Wine, especially among the immigrant populations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, became common in the diet. Since the 1960s, wine production both for domestic consumption and for export has increased. Chile became an important wine exporter in the mid 1990s, followed by Argentina in the early twenty-first century. Chile has a climate and soil suitable for both red and white wine varieties, and its area devoted to cultivation has doubled. Since 2003 the volume of Argentine wine exports has increased twofold, and its value has tripled. Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world, and is known for its trademark Malbec.


The introduction of distilled beverages had a profound impact on drinking habits in Latin America. High-alcohol spirits were substituted for low-alcohol traditional beverages and the more expensive European wines and beers. References to drinking habits from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries suggest widespread indulgence, at least compared with what was deemed socially acceptable. Grape brandy, first imported from Spain, then produced at the successful vineyards established in Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico, provided spirits for increasingly enthusiastic consumers. It did not, however, equal the popularity of aguardiente, known generally as cachaça or aguardente in Brazil, a spirit made from distilling the juice of sugarcane. The addition of citrus and other flavorings to the beverage helped create variety. Sugar, wherever it was grown in Latin America, was the basis for alcohol production. In the case of the Caribbean, sugar—and its products of molasses and rum—became one of the foundations of trade patterns linking New England, Europe, West Africa, and Latin America. The Spanish islands (and Venezuela) soon became known for light, dry rums, while the English islands produced heavier, darker rums.

Drinks made from these spirits have entered the global cocktail lexicon, and taken their place among martinis and manhattans as popular beverages. Two of the most favored are daiquiris, a drink of Caribbean origin, made from rum, fruit juice, and sugar, and margaritas, made from tequila, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and salt. A rival in taste if not in popularity is the pisco sour, a Peruvian concoction of pisco (a grape brandy), citrus juice, and sugar. Brazilian cocktails have not yet achieved the international reputation of margaritas, daiquiris, and pisco sours, but caipirinhas and batidas, made from Aguardiente, fruit juice, and sugar, are worthy contenders.

Widespread use (and concern about abuse) of alcoholic beverages in colonial society led to attempts to regulate their production, distribution, and consumption. As early as 1529, the Spanish crown considered banning the production of pulque, the prelude to a succession of laws that sought to limit or ban certain types of alcoholic beverages. In some cases the crown's economic motive was clear; in other cases it was hidden behind laments over the moral decay of society. By the eighteenth century, cane brandy had come under as much attack as the local beverages of chicha and pulque. It was the "demon rum" of the colonies that was blamed for most social problems. Excessive drinking disrupted family life, slowed economic production, and caused a range of medical problems. Indians and mestizos drank the most, but Spaniards as well consumed excessive amounts of cheap cane brandy.

In Mexico, chinquirito, a type of cane brandy, was widely consumed, though it was only one of a dozen or so "prohibited beverages." Extremists argued that high mortality rates in the Indian population were largely due to excessive consumption of chinquirito. Compared with this noxious drink, some officials thought that the traditional pulque was "innocent, healthful, medicinal, and necessary." Produced in small stills throughout central Mexico, chinquirito prompted a century-long effort to curtail its production, distribution, and consumption. The trade in chinquirito had reached a level that negatively affected the wine and brandy producers of Andalusia. As fewer wines and spirits were transported across the Atlantic, taxes shrank and the maritime capacity of Spain was reduced.

At stake in the regulatory effort was control over a vast economic activity. In Mexico City alone there were over 1,500 shops, known by many different names, selling alcoholic beverages. The potential for taxing and licensing income was substantial. One eighteenth-century solution was to centralize control through the awarding of monopolies for production and distribution. Here the administrative history of spirits finds comparison with that of tobacco, meat, and other colonial products. In Colombia, this included the regulation of anise, which was the most popular local flavoring for aguardiente. As with other monopolistic efforts, success was often elusive. The availability of ingredients and the simple, inexpensive technology required for production undermined the most thorough legislation. Moreover, because local taverns provided income and were important public spaces for Latin America's nonelites, Mexicans resisted colonial officials' attempts at regulation.

The political explanation for the control of alcoholic beverages invariably pointed to the social and health problems related to drinking, even though medical thought continued to argue in the late eighteenth century that alcohol was important for health, especially in hot regions. One important issue, from the sixteenth through the twentieth century, was excessive drinking among Indians, blacks, and castas.

Alcoholic consumption among Indians before the Conquest was associated with religious ceremonies; the availability and distribution of alcoholic beverages was controlled by politics and custom. After the Conquest, drinking became more widespread, leading to accusations by Europeans that drunkenness was extensive among Indians. By the late eighteenth century, there were carefully articulated theories explaining Indian susceptibility to alcohol due to natural temperament, though consumption was at times regulated in Indian communities by social and religious customs that curtailed widespread alcoholic abuse.

The concern over Indian drinking intensified in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From Mexico to Bolivia, Indian drinking was equated with character and genetic weaknesses. Alcoholism among Indians was referred to as a grave national problem, and began to call forth the efforts of political reformers and educators. It was said to weaken countries economically, physically, and morally. More progressive interpretations, evident by the end of the nineteenth century, saw Indian alcoholism as another attempt by ruling groups to enslave the Indian. Education promised hope for eradicating alcoholism, and the new schools of revolutionary Mexico in the 1920s initiated campaigns to combat drinking, emphasizing the detrimental effects of excessive pulque consumption. When this did not work, reformers considered enacting plans similar to the Volstead Act, which ushered in prohibition in the United States. Nevertheless, consumption of fermented and distilled beverages continued, often to an extent that troubled the national conscience.

Employers throughout the Americas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were concerned about alcohol and drinking. For them, drinking was an obstacle to securing a dependable labor force: Workers failed to show up to their posts on Mondays, instead taking the day off in what became known as the San Lunes holiday, or they left their posts early at the end of the week to drink. The physical and psychological dependency on chicha and pulque, as well as on the new beverages introduced after 1492 has been singled out as the cause of everything from crime to malnutrition.

Pre-Conquest alcoholic beverages retained their cultural significance into the twentieth century. Methods of preparation and rituals of consumption remained intact following the introduction of European beers and wines, though cheap, distilled beverages, especially cane brandy, have provided a popular alternative to the traditional beverages since the early sixteenth century.

See alsoAguardiente de Pisco; Cuisines; Wine Industry.


Introductions to the history of pulque and chicha can be found in Oswaldo Gonçalvez De Lima, El maguey y el pulque en los códices mexicanos (1956); Mario C. Vázquez, "La chicha en los paises andinos," América Indígena 27 (1967): 265-282; A. Paredes, "Social Control of Drinking Among the Aztec Indians of Meso-America," in Journal of Studies on Alcohol 36, no. 9 (1975): 1139-1153; and C. Morris, "Maize Beer in the Economics, Politics, and Religion of the Inca Empire," in Fermented Food Beverages in Nutrition, edited by Clifford F. Gastineau, William J. Darby, and Thomas B. Turner (1979), pp. 21-35. Gilma Lucia Mora De Tovar provides a thorough institutional history of cane brandy in Aguardiente y conflictos sociales en la Nueva Granada durante el siglo XVIII (1988). For comparisons with Mexico, see Gilma Lucia Mora De Tovar, El aguardiente de cana en México, 1724–1810 (1974). The social history of drinking is presented in William B. Taylor, Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages (1979); Michael C. Scardaville, "Alcohol Abuse and Tavern Reform in Late Colonial Mexico City," in The Hispanic American Historical Review 60, no. 4 (1980): 643-671; and John C. Super, Food, Conquest, and Colonization in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Chalhoub, Sidney. Trabalho, lar e botequim: O cotidiano dos trabalhadores no Rio de Janeiro da belle époque. 2nd Edition. Campinas, Brazil: Editora da Unicamp, 2001.

Curto, José C. Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and Its Hinterland, c. 1550–1830. Boston: Brill, 2004.

Godoy, Augusto, Teófilo Herrera, and Miguel Ulloa. Más allá del pulque y el tepache: Las bebidas alcohólicas no destiladas indígenas de México. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, 2003.

Llano Restrepo, María Clara, and Marcela Campuzano Cifuentes. La chicha, una bebida fermentada a través de la historia. Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Antropología, 1994.

Moncaut, Carlos Antonio. Pulperias, esquinas y almacenes de la campana bonaerense: Historia y tradición. City Bell, Argentina: Editorial El Aljibe, 1999–2000.

Orlove, Benjamin, and Ella Schmidt. "Swallowing Their Pride: Indigenous and Industrial Beer in Peru and Bolivia (in Symposium on Food and Cuisine)." Theory and Society 24, no. 2 (April 1995): 271-298.

Pardo, Oriana, and José Luis Pizarro T. La chicha en el Chile precolombino. Santiago: Editorial Mare Nostrum, 2005.

Ramírez Rancaño, Mario. Ignacio Torres Adalid y la industria pulquera. México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2000.

Rodríguez Ostria, Gustavo, and Humberto Solares Serrano. Sociedad oligárquica, chicha y cultura popular: Ensayo histórico sobre la identidad regional. Cochabamba, Bolivia: Editorial Serrano, 1990.

Venâncio, Renato Pinto, Henrique Carneiro, and Andréa Lisly Gonçalves. Alcohol e drogas na história do Brasil. São Paulo: Alameda, 2005.

Viqueira Albán, Juan Pedro. Propriety and Permissiveness in Bourbon Mexico. Translated by Sonya Lipsett-Rivera and Sergio Rivera Ayala. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999.

                                          John C. Super

alcoholic beverages

views updated May 29 2018

alcoholic beverages Drinks made by fermenting fruit juices, sugars, and fermentable carbohydrates with yeast to form alcohol. These include beer, cider, and perry, 4–6% alcohol by volume; wines, 9–13% alcohol; spirits (e.g. brandy, gin, rum, vodka, whisky) made by distilling fermented liquor, 38–45% alcohol; liqueurs made from distilled spirits, sweetened and flavoured, 20–40% alcohol; and fortified wines (aperitif wines, madeira, port, sherry) made by adding spirit to wine, 18–25% alcohol. See also alcohol; proof spirit.

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