Defining Liquor And Spirits

Alcoholic Beverages – Liquor Vs Spirits

These two words are interchangeably used for alcoholic beverages but they carry different meanings. Until 1920, all spirits were liquor but today they represent different drinks at least for bartenders that serve drinks to people and that can serve wrong drinks, if they don’t understand the meaning of liquor and spirits.

Liquor And Spirits

Liquor is taken from the Latin word that means “to be fluid” and it meant “liquid” until 1225. But today it is defined as any non-brewed alcohol – distilled spirits. For common people, it is an intoxicating alcoholic drink. Technically speaking it is an alcoholic beverage that contains ethanol. It is produced by fermenting grain, fruits or vegetables.

Also, it contains added flavouring and sweetness to complement its base. Liquor has flavours of fruits, sugar canes and potatoes. Liquor is sweeter than spirit due to added flavouring but distillation or compounding process gives liquor a concentrated nature due to which it carries a higher alcohol content.

Alcoholic Beverages

Spirits are defined as specific liquors produced to give definite flavours to the drinks. It is a distilled beverage with a minimum of 20% alcohol by volume (ABV).Usually spirits contain alcohol in the ranges from 37% to 43%. But it has no added sugar. Alcohol becomes spirit when it is distilled. It is called fermentation and it involves concentrating the alcohol in a ferment liquid by distilling it so that it develops a sweeter taste or become flavoured. But they are less sweet than liquor.


Both the liquor and spirits are made with distillation process and both are strong alcoholic drinks but they have different alcohol content. Distilled from fermented beverages, liquor has a higher proof rating that is 40% alcohol content. But spirits need at least 20% of ABV. For common men, liquor and spirit could be similar but they have noted difference in alcohol content and flavour.

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