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There are many tales told about the “invention” of brandy, and its true origin may never be known.  Undoubtedly, though, it is the French who have refined and perfected the art of making this spirit.

One story tells of brandy being brought from Italy in 1533 to help celebrate the marriage of Catherine de Medicis.  Mention of brandy from the Armagnac region of France, however, dates to 1411.


The   word gin is merely a corruption of the Dutch for Juniper – jenever – or from the French word for juniper – genievre.  Gin is a versatile yet distinctive beverage, the main ingredient in a Tom Collins, a Martini, and a Singapore Sling.  Gin, a wonderfully perfumed potion, is probably the most notorious of liquors, and, for some reason, gin drinkers are seen as serious drinkers, people who like the taste of alcohol and do not try to disguise it.

 Gin was first developed in the seventeenth century by a Dutch doctor, who combined alcohol with the juniper berry to concoct a remedy for kidney complaints.  Apparently, although it did nothing for the kidneys, the “tonic” was very popular due to its amnesia-inducing qualities.  It made the patient forget or, at the very least, not care about his complaint.

Gin-The word gin derives its name from the first syllable of the Italian equivalent of juniper, "ginevra" which is the principal component of gin.  It was once called geneva and is sometimes still referred to as geneva although it has no connection with the Swiss city of that name.


Once referred to as a “necklace of negatives, “vodka, the base of the Screwdriver, Bloody Mary, and the Kamikaze, is immediately recognizable for its distinct lack of aroma, color, and taste.  The word vodka comes from the diminutive of the Russian word voda, meaning “water,” making it “little water.”  Little water with a big kick.

Vodka, popularly described as the purest of all spirits, and translated as 'little water' was originally the standard drink of the Russians, Poles, Finns and many of the Balkan people as far east as Persia.

 Vodka is mentioned in twelfth-century Russian literature, but at that time the name was used to refer to any spirit, no matter what it was distilled from or how highly flavored it was.  The spirit, as we know it, was probably concocted in fourteenth-century Russia.  It didn’t come to America until the 1930s.


Rum is the essence of the Caribbean, the official drink of the British Navy, and the distilled product of simple sugar cane.

Christopher Columbus did much more than discover the Americas;  he also brought sugar cane to the West Indies.

The derivation of the word rum is unknown.  It may have come from saccharum, Latin  for “sugar,”


The word Whiskey comes from the Gaelic word uisgebaugh, which means “water of life”.  If you say “uisgebaugh” quickly (if you can say it at all),  it comes out something like WYS-GER-BAW, which was shortened and Anglicized to “whiskey”.


This e is used only in spelling the names of Irish and American whiskies.


It is not known when wine was first made, although the date is sure to have been very early in the career of Homo sapiens.  In addition to the numerous references to wine made in the Old Testament and by the ancient Greeks over 3,000 years ago, there is also evidence, in the form of grape skins and pips, that suggests wine was made by prehistoric man.  Pleasure, it seems, came early in the life of our species.

Wine can be divided into four categories:  still, sparkling, fortified, and aromatized.


The history of beer is anything but brief.  The ancient Egyptians brewed beer 6,000 years ago;  it has been brewed by every society on every continent since then, and – who knows? – probably before then.

Beer is the ancestor of whiskey, which, in very simple terms, is just distilled beer.


Absolute Alcohol – A.A is the produce having approximately 99.8% alcohol after water in rectified spirit is removed by the dehydration process with the help of various distillation columns.


Caramel is burnt sugar specially made for colouring liquors. Caramel is prepared by heating sugar, especially glucose, under pressure in the presence of amonia.  It is soluble in water and gives a golden yellow colour in dilution.  It has a soft and aromatic flavour which is not too bitter.

E.N.A. (Extra Neutral Alcohol)

E.N.A. (Extra neutral alcohol) is the alcohol produced by taking extraordinary precaution during the process of redistribution of rectified spirit after the addition of chemicals, and treatment by activated carbon.  The spirit is made neutral.


Alcohol for human consumption is called potable spirit.  It should conform to minimum quality standards laid down under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (P.F.A.).  The maximum strength permitted in the country is 75° proof (London) equivalent of 42.8% alcohol volume/volume (V/V).


Hop – Hamulus lupulus is a climbing plant belonging to the natural family Moraceae cannabinacea together  with cannabis, the natural order urticales.  The hop isdioecious, the male and female inflorescences are carried on separate plants.  The female inflorescene  is used in brewing.  The bitter resins and essential oils which give beer its characteristic aroma and flavour are secreted at the base of female flowers.

The finest hops in the world are grown in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Yugoslavia, the U.K., France, the U.S.S.R., Belgium, Australia and the U.S.A. (U.B. Group have provided technical know-how for the cultivation of hops in Kashmir).

 Hop extracts are prepared by dissolving resins, tannin and essential oils in various solvents.  The resins and essential oils are removed with ether and the tannin is extracted with water.  The extracts are blended concentrated and packed in hermetically sealed airtight containers.


 Proof strength represents the alcohol content of spirit expressed in terms of  London proof.


LONDON spirit is a mixture of alcohol and water which shall weigh exactly 12/13 part of an equal quantity of distilled water at 51° F.

The proof spirit as defined above will contain 57.06% of alcohol by volume at 60% F.

On separation it will be noticed that 100 litres of spirit of 57.06% will yield 57.06 litres of alcohol and 46.68 litres of water.  The total volume will rise to 103.74 litres.  On mixing, the blend will contract and measure 100 litres.

Spirit weaker than the one defined above is expressed as UNDER PROOF i.e. 75% proof is termed as 25°  Under Proof.  It means that this spirit contains 75% Proof Spirit and 25% water by volume.

                    The following formula is used for converting Proof Spirit to pure alcohol and vice versa.

                    Percentage of Proof Spirit X 1.751 = Contents of alcohol by V / V.

                    Spirit Contents V/V = Percentage of Proof Spirit

1.753                  (Strength)

Example :

 Spirit containing 57.06% V/V x 1.753 – 00.02618 say 100%  Proof (100 litres Proof Spirit).

 Spirit containing 42.8% V/V x 1.753 = 75.0284 i.e. 75% Proof say 75% Proof or 25% U.P.


Malt is germinated and dried barley.  In composition, malt is mostly carbohydrate, like starch and smaller quantities of sucrose/glucose.


Molasses is the by-product left after centrifugal separation of sugar crystal from the concentrated juice of sugar cane or beet.  It contains sugar up to 50% along with natural salts and impurities in cane juice.  It is a good raw material for fermentation and distillation of potable alcohol.


Pasteurization is a heat treatment that kills part, but not all the micro-organisms present and usually involves temperatures up to 100° C (212°  F).  The heating may be by means of steam, hot water, dry heat and electric currents.  The products are promptly cooled after heat treatment.

Pasteurization is used:

  •     When more vigorous heat treatment would harm the product.

  •     When the main spoilage organisms are not very heat resistant.


Rectified spirit is the produce of fermentation and distillation and can be made from saccharine material and starch.            


Champagne wine is the king of drinks and the drink of kings.  It has always been served at the coronation festivities of French Kings.  It is reported that when Louis XIV arrived in Rheims in 1666 in order to be crowned, he was received by a deputation of the town whose chief said "sir we do offer you the best we have, our wines and our hearts" and the King replied "gentlemen, this is a kind of speech I do like".


In the language of wine trade "Bloody Mary" is not the Tudor queen of England thirsting for non-catholic blood but is a soothing cocktail of vodka, lemon and tomato juices shaken with ice.


"White Lady" is not the blonde beauty of fashion but is a cocktail of gin, lemon juice and ice with some cointreau thrown in.


"Punch" which means five was invented by Anglo-Indians and consisted of arrack, sugar, lime juice, spice and water but the recipe has since become somewhat smeared and now-a-days the mixture contains usually rum, lemon, sugar, etc.