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Basic Spirits Every Home Bartender Needs To Know About

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Generally, liquor refers to fermented ingredients that have gone through the process of distillation. If you want to upgrade your ability to serve alcohol in your home bar, it's important to know the type of liquor that is out there and the characteristics of the most common types of liquor.

Hard Liquor Basics

Hard liquor is generally liquor that has little or no sugar added to it. Because of this, hard liquor tends to be more alcoholic and can be more potent. However, when the liquor is in a mixed drink, you will be able to use it to dilute the power of the alcohol. Part of the reason why there are so many types of liquor is that there are several types of fruit, grains, and sugars you can use to create your liquor.


One American example of liquor is whiskey. This includes scotch and bourbon. How these types of liquor are made is actually regulated. For example, bourbon must be aged in an oak barrel. 

There are many types of whiskey to choose from and you will want to select an option that suits your taste. For example, decide whether you'd like your liquor to be sourer or if you want it to be sweeter.


Vodka is one of the most common types of hard liquors and can be found in a large variety of drinks. Because the vodka flavor is neutral, it can be used both to make simple and complex drinks and is clear.


Gin is clear like vodka because it is very neutral. However, it has a herbal and pine-like aroma because of the addition of juniper berries. Because it is not sweet, it's best used in cocktails that aren't meant to be sweet.


Rum is a sweeter spirit. It comes in many varieties due to the different methods used to ferment rum. For example, you could choose between light or dark rum. You could choose between spiced or flavored rum.


Brandy is made with fermented fruit instead of grain. Therefore, it's sometimes described as tasting more like wine. However, it has a much higher alcohol content.


Tequila is made using an agave plant. It's similar to other spirits in that the alcohol comes in several varieties due to how it is aged such as gold and silver. Once you understand what each of the basic types of liquor has to offer, you'll be ready to head to a liquor store to stock your bar.

For more information, contact a full-service liquor store near you.