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Akvavit

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The Akvavit is a Scandinavian spirit that has been in production since the 15th century.  It gets its flavor from spices and herbs, mainly caraway or dill and it contains 40% alcohol per volume.

It can be made from grains (Sweden, Denmark) or from potatoes (Norway).  After the distillation is flavored and bottled.  In Norway it is usually aged in casks.

Bourbon Whiskey

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The bourbon whiskey is an aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn.  The name comes from the ancient name of Bourbon County, Kentucky (Old Bourbon) which in turn came from the House of Bourbon, the French royal family.

Bourbon is produced with a mixture called mash bill (70% corn and the rest barley, wheat and/or rye).  This mixture is mashed and mixed with water, then yeast is added and fermented.  After fermentation, it’s distilled and the resulting liquid, which is clear, is put in charred oak barrels and aged.  After aging, it is extracted from the barrels, diluted with water to 80 proof (40% ABV) and bottled.

Kumis

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Kumis is a fermented drink from the Central Asian steppes and produced of mare’s milk (a mare is a female horse three years old or older).  It is part of the diet of Bashkirs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Yakuts, Mongols and Kalmyks.

Though Kumis is produced with mare milk, because of industrialization, cow’s milk is used, cow’s milk is richer in fat and protein but lower in lactose than the milk from a horse.  The final product contains from 0.7 to 2.5% alcohol.

Rum

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Rum is an alcoholic beverage made by the distillation of molasses or directly from sugarcane juice by distillation.  The clear liquid that comes out after the distillation is then aged in oak barrels.

According to the age period, it can be called Light or Dark Rum.  There is also the white rum, which isn’t aged, that is mainly used for cocktails.  Rum is mainly produced in Latin America and the Caribbean, though other countries like Australia, South Africa and India also produce it.  Rum had an important role in the Royal Navy, which gave its sailors a daily rum ration until 1970.

Cognac

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The Cognac is a brandy named after the town of Cognac, France and with Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), which translates as “controlled designation of origin”.  That means that the Cognac must meet specified legal requirements. It must be made from certain grapes; of these, Ugni Blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the most widely used variety today.  It must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais.

The Cognac is also officially graded as follows:

  • V.S. (“very special”),Very Special, or ✯✯✯ (three stars) designates a blend in which the youngest brandy has been stored for at least two years in cask.
  • V.S.O.P. (“very superior old pale”)  designates a blend in which the youngest brandy is stored for at least four years in a cask, but the average wood age is much older.
  • XO (“extra old”) designates a blend in which the youngest brandy is stored for at least six years but on average for upwards of 20 years. On 1 April 2016, the minimum storage age of the youngest brandy used in an XO blend will be set to ten years.

The names are in English because Britain was the main market of Cognac .

Kvass

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Kvass is a beverage made by fermenting black or regular rye bread.  It is considered non alcoholic, due to its low alcohol content, which typically is less than 1.2%.  Kvass can also be flavored with fruits or herbs.

Kvass is popular in Russia and in the former Soviet republics of Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as some areas of China influenced by Russian culture.  Kvass is sold in the streets during the summer, but now its sold packed year round.

For more information, PetroMarine Energy Services, LTD invites you to visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kvas

Mama Juana

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Mama Juana is a drink from Dominican Republic made by steeping tree barks and herbs in a mixture of rum, red wine and honey.  The name comes from the English word Demijohn, a large squat bottle with a short narrow neck, usually covered in wicker.

Mama Juana is traditionally made by soaking the barks and herbs in wine for a week.  The wine is then drained and the bottle is filled with ¼ honey and ¾ dark rum, adding other flavors like vanilla, ginger or cinnamon.  It is drunk after a few days and refilled until the flavor of the herbs disappear, some 15 to 20 times later or more.

Snake Wine

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Snake wine is considered one of the weirdest alcoholic beverages in the world.  Not actually a wine, snake wine is produced by infusing or mixing snakes (mostly poisonous ones) in rice wine or grain alcohol.  The alcohol denaturalizes the proteins in the snake’s venom and makes it inactive.

There are two ways of producing snake wine, one is by placing a snake along with some medicinal herbs, into a container with rice wine.  There is left to steep for some months before bottling.  The other way consists in mixing the blood of the snake, sometimes even the gall bladder contents, with rice wine or grain alcohol.  According to Chinese Traditional Medicine, snake wine enhances virility, and health.

Brandy

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The brandy is a spirit that comes from distilling wine.  The original name was brandywine, that comes from from Dutch brandewijn—"burnt wine", which explains the origin of the spirit.

Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink.  It also can be produced by distilling other fruits, but then it’s called Eau de Vie.  Brandy is usually aged in wooden casks, which give it its distinctive color, although some have that coloring added.  Brandy has many uses, apart from drinking, it can also be used for cooking.

Neutral Grain Spirit

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Neutral grain spirit is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid that has been distilled from a grain-based mash to a very high level of ethanol content.  The name neutral comes from the lack of flavor of the alcohol.  It can be produced from any type or mixture of cereal grains.

Neutral grain spirit is used in the production of blended whiskey, cut brandy, some liqueurs, and some bitters. As a consumer good, it is almost always mixed with other beverages to create such drinks as punch and various cocktails, or to produce homemade liqueurs.