The Essential Guide to Spirits and Liquor

April 07, 2016

The Essential Guide to Spirits and Liquor

The Essential Guide to Spirits and Liquor

Whether you are planning a bridal shower, a holiday party, a casual get-together, a giant rip-roaring graduation bash, or you are in the middle of an impromptu celebration, a party for adults will almost always involve adult beverages. Alcohol has been used as a centerpiece for celebrations for as long people have been gathering together party. And parties have been happening for a long, long time!

But the question that sits in front of us every time we are planning a party is, “What adult beverages should we be serving?!” What do people like? There are countless different spirits and liquor, what are the differences between them all?

Today, we offer you our essential guide to the four major spirits. Your next party is sure to be A LOT of fun!

Vodka – The Mixed Drink Chameleon

Vodka is one of the most popular spirits in the entire world, in large part due to its versatility. Frankly, vodka is just amazing for parties. Because of its smooth flavor profile, it can be used
in hundreds of drinks. You can’t go wrong with simple mixed drinks, but when you start sampling the
wide range of
flavored vodkas2355249759_e93ef33eeb_o_dout there, you discover the possibilities are nearly endless.

And really, these ENDLESS possibilities are what make vodka such an incredible hit. If you spend just a few minutes browsing your local liquor store you will find flavors like chocolate, whipped cream, blueberry, strawberry, orange, and even bubble gum. How can you NOT have fun with all these amazing flavors?

Popular vodka drinks include the Cosmopolitan, the Appletini, the Screwdriver, the Bloody Mary, the Vodka Tonic, and the Gimlet.

Check out 9 of our favorite recipes right here!

We recommend this light and fun vodka cocktail called the Sea Breeze Special. It features some of the same ingredients as a Cosmo but with a less formal twist!

Sea Breeze Special Recipe

1 1/2 oz Vodka

4 oz cranberry juice

1oz grapefruit jioce

1 lime wedge

Combine the vodka in highball glass. Add cranberry and grapefruit juice. Stir to combine. Add ice. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Enjoy!

Whiskey – The Complex Companion


No other spirit in the world has a mythos as rich and interesting as whisky. The legendary writer George Bernard Shaw once said, “Whiskey is liquid sunshine.” The fact is, when most people think of whiskey, they think of smoky bars, melancholy nights, crooning blues music, and cranky writers.

However, we are not going to let this incredibly complex and flavorful spirit get pigeonholed! Whiskey can be perfect for parties as well. The right whisky drink has the potential to absolutely amazing your guests. The odds are, they will be experiencing something they have never tasted before!

There are four primary types of whiskey, which are categorized by their country of origin: Scotch Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, and American Whisky, which we just call “Whiskey.”

When tasting whiskey, you should be looking for a rich, smoky, smooth, woody flavor. The flavor profile will change depending on if you are drinking malt, grain, or blended whiskey.

Now, what about whisky at parties? Well, there are many, many options. Some bold party hosts eschew cocktails all together and serve whiskey straight, letting the distinct flavor of the spirit speak for itself. But, who doesn’t love cocktails? Fun options include, the Old Fashion, the Whiskey Smash, the Sazerac, the Boulevardier, and the Whiskey Collins.

Check out this slideshow with 27 awesome recipes!

We like to recommend the Whiskey Collins. It actually calls for Japanese whiskey and features a smooth, citrusy, delicious kick! This recipe makes enough for several people to enjoy!

Whisky Collins Recipe

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups Japanese whisky

1 cup fresh lemon juice

12 oz club soda

Lemon twists

Combine the sugar and water in a large jar. Mix until the sugar dissolves. This creates a simple syrup. Mix the whisky, club soda, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Add ice. Garnish individual glasses with lemon twist. Enjoy!


Gin – The Old Country Classic

ChartreuseSmashFor several centuries, gin held a place as the world’s preeminent spirit. In recent times, it has been usurped by vodka, but this timeless liquor still holds a spot in the hearts and on the tables of people all around the world.

Of all the major spirits, Gin may have the most distinct and iconic flavor. This come from gin’s most essential ingredient: juniper berries. The flavor profile of gin is often described has light, flowery, crispy, tangy, and bitter. Or, as some particularly eloquent gin enthusiasts like to say, “Gin tastes like a Christmas tree.”

Dry gin, which is by far the most popular type, was created in London in the 1800s. Most people still view gin as a sort of “vintage” drink, which makes it perfect for a vintage type party. Decorate your house like a speakeasy, dress in beautiful 20s style clothing, and prepare to have an awesome time!

Are you ready to make some classic gin cocktails?! They are sure to impress your party guests. Popular options include Gin Gimlets, Negronis, Tom Collins, French 75s, and the Gin Fizz.

Here are 14 awesome gin cocktail recipes!

Of course, true gin snobs tend to think martinis are the best drink on the planet, but we like to recommend something with a little more fun and flavor. Try this Chartreuse Smash!

Chartreuse Smash Recipe

1 cup honey

1 Lime


2 tablespoons Chartreuse Liqueur

2 tablespoons dry London gin

Simmer honey with 1 cup of water to make a simple syrup. Muddle together 1 lime wedge, 1 sage leaf, and 2 tablespoons in a cocktail shaker. Do not mash the everything to a pulp! Stir in the Chartreuse and Gin. Strain into tumbler filled halfway with ice. Garnish with mint and sage.

Rum – Fresh, Refreshing & Fun

foodiesfeed.com_Gunel-Farhadli-bottles-at-a-barWhen you think of rum you think of the Caribbean Islands. You think of beautiful beaches, soaking in the sun, having fun while
smiling and laughing. Rum is popular for a few reasons: it tastes good , goes down easy, and mixes incredibly with a wide range of flavorful mixers.

Why is rum so delicious? Well, let’s consider its source. While all of the other spirits we have talked about today originate from wheat, grain, or barley, rum comes from SUGAR! That is right, rum is distilled from sugar cane and sugar molasses. It makes a lot of sense why everyone LOVES rum, now doesn’t it?

There are three primary types of rum: dark, light, and flavored. There are three different levels of light rum: white, gold, and añejo. The longer light rum is aged; the more color it gains.

Dark rum is distilled using a slightly different process than light rum, and is usually aged for at least five years. Flavored rums start off as light rum, before spices and fruit are added to give them an a dynamic and exciting taste.

Are you ready serve some light, refreshing and fun rum drinks at your next party? Consider some of these popular options: Mai tai, Strawberry Daiquiri, Rum and Coke, Pina Colada, Rum Runner, Hurricane, or Rum and Pineapple.

Explore this slideshow with 10 delicious rum cocktail recipes!

When we think of our favorite rum cocktails to serve at a party, the first thing that springs to mind is the Mojito. Try this awesome recipe at your next party.

Mojito Recipe

1 oz simple syrup

10-15 fresh mint leaves

3/4 oz lime juice

1 1/2 oz white rum

club soda

Start by placing the mint leaves, simple syrup, and lime juice in your favorite tall cocktail glass. Muddle gently, causing the mint to release its essential oil. Fill glass with ice. Add rum. Top with club soda. Stir until all ingredients have been combined.

Make sure you serve with a straw, after all, you don’t want to be gobbling crushed mint leaves.

We hope you have learned a lot about the 4 major spirits, vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum. You should be prepared to blow your guests away at your next party with your depth of knowledge and your incredible cocktails.

All we can say now, is:


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