Stealing the limelight from beer and wine...

August 8, 2017


Being that the name of our website is Spirit Animal, I thought it would only be natural that the first post be about spirits. No, I am not talking about Casper or the scary Quaker oatmeal guy from Poltergeist type of spirits. I'm talking about the adult beverage that, when consumed in copious amounts, can lead to a very entertaining personification of Princess Riri, aka Rihanna. What does that even mean!? Ok ok...twerking, wearing a bikini, a backwards cap, a pool, and holding a blunt. In other words, drunk... you get drunk... no regrets, but I digress.


Not all booze gets to be called a spirit (sorry beer and wine you can't sit with us). While all booze goes through a fermentation process, what makes spirits different is that they go through an additional distillation process, where beers and wines do not. There are six base spirits, and like that Bumble match you unwittingly ran into in person and stealthily (some may say awkwardly) tried to dodge, with a 95% chance he recognized you, you're already somewhat aquainted. Nevertheless, let me introduce you to the spirits: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and brandy.


The first step to toward becoming a spirit is fermentation. Fermentation happens when yeast (a living organism) converts sugar into alcohol. It happens effortlessly, if you leave a starchy or sugary liquid out it will begin fermenting on its own. With no health department to tell our pre-history ancestors about proper food storage and safety, fermentation was a happy accident. I love imagining the first person getting a good Sunday brunch type of buzz on after drinking some fig juice left out long enough to be considered questionable by our standards and thought, not bad.


As mentioned before, unlike beer and wine, after fermentation spirits go through an extra process called distillation. Quick science, alcohol boils at 173 degrees Fahrenheit and water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So you take your fermented product, could be fermented grapes...could be fermented milk (but probably not fermented milk because yuck), and heat it until the alcohol turns to vapor. That vapor is caught in a tube, redirected, and cooled down into liquid form again. Because of science, what you end up with is a concentration of alcohol that is much higher, while also getting more enhanced flavors and characters.


Ta-da! You get vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, or brandy. While this is the end of the process for some spirits like vodka, others like whiskey go on to age in wooden barrels. Don't fret, more details about nuances of each spirit will be shared in future posts. Like a loving parent, Spirit Animal will give time and attention to every spirit, as if we don't have a favorite; but as Stephanie Tanner knows all too well, parents do have a favorite kid.





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