Step 1 Select the sugar source
Cereals, fruits, and even molasses provide the sugar needed to make many of the New York spirits listed below. In other parts of the world, rice, agave, potatoes and sweet potatoes are used. Plant sources both contribute to the overall flavor and define the type of bottled spirits.
TYPE OF SPIRIT:
SUGAR (Starch) SOURCE
Grain, Fruit, Potatoes Honey
Grain, Fruit, Potatoes, Honey Maple
Sugar Cane, Molasses
Step 2 Extract the sugar
To extract sugar from starchy grains such as corn or barley, the grains are mixed with warm water to make a so-called paste. A chemical reaction occurs in the mash: carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars that the yeast can consume. When a fruit is squeezed or crushed into juice, it is called a must.
Step 3 Fermentation
When yeast is added to malt or fruit juice, sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide will bubble up and yeast will continue to multiply until most of the sugar is converted. When grains are used, the resulting fermentation broth is basically a basic beer—often called wort. If it is a fermented fruit-based liquid, it is called wine.
Step 4 Distillation
Craft distillers commonly distill the mash or wine in either batches using a pot still or continuously using a continuous still . The concentration of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is increased through the process of distillation – the distillate created is much higher than that of the mash or wine. Different sizes, shapes and temperature of stills contribute to both the overall flavor and alcohol content of the spirit.
Step 5 Aging
The spirit may be placed in wood casks to encourage a layer of complexity -- wood interacts with spirit to add flavor, color, and texture. Whiskey, brandy and rum are good examples of spirits that are often aged in wood.
|What is the difference between gin and vodka?|
Both are distilled spirits and can be made from various starch sources such as grains or fruits. The resulting distillate is often referred to as "neutral alcohol." The difference between gin and vodka is that it contains juniper and other plant ingredients. Brewers will strictly protect the botanicals used in the production of gin.
|What is the difference between brandy and whiskey?|
Whiskey is a grain-based spirit: corn, wheat, rye, and barley are the most popular grains used to make whisky in New York, but also pay attention to those who have tried grains such as buckwheat. Brandy is a fruit-based spirit. In New York, they are made from many varieties, such as apples, plums, and grapes.
|How to drink distilled spirits?|
There are no rules on how to enjoy the spirit, whether it's in a cocktail, on ice, or poured into a glass. Tasting the smell, taste, and feel of a spirit, the winemaker might describe it as a mouthfeel. Aftertaste refers to the aftertaste remaining after sipping. Sometimes the aftertaste is very long, like aged whiskey or rum, and sometimes a clean aftertaste is needed—think vodka.
|Can bourbon whiskey be produced outside of Kentucky?|
Absolutely. Bourbon whiskey can be made anywhere in the United States. However, the brewer must comply with the following federal regulations in order to invoke strong bourbon:
The mash must contain at least 51% corn
It must be aged in burnt new oak containers
The alcohol content must not exceed 80% (160 degrees)
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