Humans have created a dazzling (and intoxicating) range of alcoholic beverages, and the most potent are called liquors. How much do you know about Earth's most famous liquors?
Rum is made from parts of the sugar cane plant. Then, most rums are aged in oak barrels to give them a more complex flavor.
Margaritas are a staple of Mexican restaurants everywhere. And of course, no Mexican drink is complete without tequila.
Moonshine is the catchall word for illegally-made booze. During Prohibition, moonshine was a common (and sometimes hazardous) drink.
Whiskey makers often tout the smoothness of their best-selling whiskeys. Some blended whiskeys are known as cheap (and gross), but some of the most expensive whiskeys are carefully blended recipes.
For centuries, absinthe has perpetuated a reputation for producing strange reactions in the human mind. The supposed key ingredient? Wormwood, which few mass-marketed absinthe drinks actually contain in their recipes.
The Japanese are all about traditions, especially during the consumption of sake. The beverage is traditionally served in cute little porcelain cups.
Vodka was traditionally made from fermented potatoes. It's also traditionally consumed "neat," without any mixers or other additives.
Tequila is a distilled beverage made from blue agave. Agave is a desert plant that's particularly high in sugar, which makes it perfect for making liquor.
Scotch is Scotch whiskey. To qualify as Scotch whiskey, the beverage must be barrel-aged for at least three years.
The Japanese are famous for their wide selection of sake. Sake is known as a fermented rice wine but it's actually made with a process that resembles beer brewing.
Rye is one of several categories of whiskey. Because it's made with particularly flavorful grain, ryes are known to be rather spicy in comparison to other whiskeys.
Manhattans are a common bar concoction. The typical recipe blends rye whiskey with vermouth, some bitters, and, of course, a cherry.
Bourbon is a type of whiskey that must be made mostly from corn mash. Bourbon is a highly-regarded (and much-exported) product of the American South.
The Slavic word "voda" essentially means water. Vodka is easily one of the world's most popular liquors.
Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that's flavored with all sorts of herbs and spices. There are two traditional categories of vermouth: sweet and dry.
Jack Daniels has made a fortune selling its famous whiskey. The black-and-white label is one of the most recognizable labels in the spirits section.
Absolut is one of the best-known brands on Earth. The company sells a popular line of vodkas.
Ouzo is one of the most famous beverages consumed in Greece. It's an aperitif that has a distinctive anise taste.
With its supposed mind-altering properties, absinthe has been strongly linked to many artists, from Lord Byron to Vincent Van Gogh. The drink's psychoactive effects seem to be mostly a product of overactive imaginations.
The Caribbean is famous for its sugar cane rum. It's often offered in both light and dark versions, the latter of which is enjoyable neat, like Scotch.
Whiskey come in all sorts of variations. But many whiskeys are aged in charred white oak barrels that give them a smoother, more complex flavor.
Gimlets are simple and refreshing. The basic recipe requires lime juice and your favorite gin.
The pina colada is a famous drink of the Caribbean. It's no wonder, then, that this fruity, creamy drink requires quality rum.
Gin relies heavily on juniper berries for flavor. As any gin drinker can tell you, gins vary widely, depending on the brand and recipe.
Cognac is a specific type of brandy. In order to qualify as genuine cognac, it must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and then aged for a minimum of two years in French oak barrels.
Western companies make a killing by bragging about the fancy distillation processes of their vodkas. Some drinkers prefer vodkas that have no taste whatsoever.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which is a succulent that grows in high-altitude deserts. Producers chop off the leaves of the plant so that it expends most of its energy growing its sugar-heavy heart, which is then harvested for tequila.
Take a base wine, properly distill it, and you wind up with brandy. Brandy is a potent drink that's often served after a heavy meal.
Vermouth, being a type of fortified wine, often makes for a perfect substitute for white wine. In some cases, it even adds a nice flavor that accentuates a recipe.
Single-malt Scotches are among the most prized alcoholic beverages on the market. They're specially made in pot stills and sourced from a single distillery, unlike blended Scotches.