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Facts About Liquor

Getting Into The Spirit

Photos: 1- V.S., V.S.O.P, and X.O. Cognacs; 2 - Assorted Rums from around the world; 3 - Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo Tequilas; 4 - Some of our 36 flavors of Vodka; 5 - A few of our finest single-malt Whiskies.

Bourbon is a whiskey made from at least 51% corn. It can only be made in the U.S. Its history dates back to the late 1700's where it was first made in Kentucky. Most whiskeys are pulled from the barrel and blended with whiskeys from other casks, the purpose being that every bottle will taste the same. A single barrel bourbon is not blended and there will be some variation in taste.

Brandy is a distilled spirit, made from fermented fruit (wine). Under this category are:

1. American Brandy - all of this is distilled in California. Made by individual firms, and marketed under their own own brand name, these are lighter than European brandies.

2. Cognac is a special designation for fine brandy, and comes from Gers, southeast of Bordeaux, France. It has a drier, harder taste than Cognac.

3. Calvados is brandy made from the distilate of apple cider, or the pulps of special apples that grow in wood for ten years before bottling. Applejack is an American version but only aged two to five years.

Cognac is a special designation for fine brandy, and can only be produced in the Cognac region of France. Brandy can be made anywhere. Thus all Cognac is brandy but all brandy is not Cognac. Cognac will often be labeled with special designations to indicate its age, which affects its quality.

VS (Very Special) is a blend of brandies that have aged at least 2-1/2 years.

VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) is a blend that has aged at least 4-1/2 years.

XO (Extra Old) is aged 6-1/2 years or more, and can be quite a bit older.

Kirsch is cherry brandy. Yum!

Marc is more commonly known by its Italian name Grappa and is made from a distilate of the pulpy mass left in the wine press after the juice of the grapes has been extracted.

Metaxa is a sweet, heavy, dark Greek grape brandy.

Ouzo is grape brandy flavored with anise. It is the most popular apertif of Greece.

Pisco is grape brandy produced in the Inca Valley, Peru. It is usually aged in porous clay jars.

Raki is a Turkish and Syrian brandy usually distilled from a mash of wines, figs, and dates.

Spanish Brandy is made from a distilate based on sherry. It is heavier and sweeter than either Cognac or Armagnac.

Rum is distilled from sugar cane and/or molasses. It is aged in barrels to give additional flavors. Rum is a huge category, which can best be explored at www.scottesrum.com.

Tequila is a distilled spirit, made from the blue agave variety of the Maguey plant. To obtain the juices, the heart of the plant is chopped, shredded and cooked into a pulp. It is then pressed for
its juices. Its origins date back to the Aztecs. Tequila comes in 4 styles:

1. Blanco (white or silver) is unaged. It is either bottled immediately or stored in stainless steel tanks for no more than 60 days. Its flavor is more crisp and lively than the others because it hasn't taken on any wood characteristics.

2. Reposado This is Tequila that has been aged in wood for not less than two months. The slight aging makes it more mellow than Blanco.

3. Anejo is aged in wood for at least a year. This is considered the best sipping Tequila.

Tequila is a spirit that legally can only come from a specific region in Mexico. The best Tequila will be labeled 100% Agave . If it doesn't, it will probably be a mixture containing up to 40% of something other than Tequila.

Vodka is a distilled spirit, made usually from grain, but it can also be made from almost any kind of food plant, like dates, grapes, corn, soy and the popular potato. Vodka is ready to drink as soon as distillation is complete; no aging necessary. It is all but totally flavorless. A host of flavored Vodkas are available but the flavors are all infused.

Whiskey is a distilled spirit, made from grain, and aged in oak casks. There are four categories of Whiskey:

1. Irish Whiskey
is a blend of grain and barley malt whiskies. It doesn't taste smokey like Scotch and is available in 'single malt' and 'blended'.

2. Scotch Whiskey is made the same way as Irish but has a unique smokey flavor as a result of a slight variation in rocessing. It, too is available in 'single malt' and 'blended'. NOTE: A single malt means it comes from a single distillery not a single barrel, or even from a single year. A blended Scotch or Irish can have a blend of whiskies from different distilleries.

Three sub-categories, depending on what they are made with, are:

~ Bourbon is made with at least 51% corn, the rest barley, rye or wheat. It must be aged for at least two years in new charred oak.

~ Corn is made of at least 80% corn, the rest barley and rye. It is aged two years.

~ Rye is made with at least 51% Rye, the rest barley and corn. It also must be aged at least two years.

3. Canadian Whisky is almost always blended and often uses Rye as the main ingredient although that is not legally dictated. Usually it is lighter and smoother than the other styles.

Please Drink Responsibly!!
Michael's Liquor, Inc.
Michael's Liquor
6979 N. Wickham Rd Melbourne, FL 32940 US
Phone: 321-242-2422 Website: www.michaelsliquor.com