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What Alcohol Has The Highest Alcohol Content

by Annabel Caldwell
What Alcohol Has The Highest Alcohol Content

What Alcohol Has The Highest Alcohol Content

With Everclear, the U.S. holds the distinction of being the first to bottle and sell a liquor that is 190 proof, or 95 percent ABV, but the record holder for the strongest liquor to date is Poland’s Spirytus vodka, which is 96 percent ABV.

Ever since humans started distilling alcohol out of other substances like grain and grapes, they’ve been able to create stronger liquors than those found in nature. And when it comes to pure ethanol, there are only two contenders left standing — America and Poland.
The United States has become known as the birthplace of super-intense liquors thanks to products like moonshine, Everclear (190 proof) and Gold Label Vodka, while Poland, with its Spirytus brand vodka at 96 proof, is now the world champion when it comes to producing the most alcoholic drink per unit volume. But what makes these drinks so strong? It all boils down to how much water was removed from them during production.
When you take any form of sugar — be it corn syrup, cane juice or barley malt — and boil it into alcohol, you’re going to end up with something that has less water in it than the original substance. For example, if we were to compare regular beer with distilled alcohol, we’d find that distilled alcohol contains about 7.5 percent more alcohol by weight. This means that one liter of regular beer will contain roughly 63 grams of water, whereas the same amount of alcohol would weigh in at around 105 grams in distilled alcohol. That’s because alcohol molecules are bigger than water molecules, so even though both have similar chemical properties, alcohol tends to pack more punch when it comes to pure ethanol.
But why stop there? If you want your booze to reach new heights, you can actually remove more water than just alcohol molecules. You can get rid of water until nothing remains except pure ethanol. In fact, some vodkas claim to have an alcohol content greater than 100 proof, which is defined as 60 percent alcohol by volume.
So who are the current record holders? To learn more about this subject, read on.
Poland Is King When It Comes to Strongest Liquor
As mentioned before, Poland may currently hold the title of highest alcohol concentration among beverages. Its Spirytus brand vodka claims to have an alcohol percentage of 96 percent, meaning that for every 1 liter of liquid, there is 0.96 grams worth of alcohol. In comparison, the average wine contains 14 percent alcohol, and a standard shot of whiskey typically packs 40 percent alcohol by volume.
According to Polish officials, the secret behind their product lies in the way that it is produced. First, the grains are soaked in water for several days until they start fermenting. Then, the fermented mash goes through a process called “polishing,” where the alcohol is extracted. After that, the remaining liquid is heated to reduce its viscosity. Finally, it undergoes another extraction using carbon dioxide gas, after which the final product is bottled.
This method produces a vodka with a high ethanol content, but not necessarily the strongest. However, the country’s official limit allows for a maximum alcohol content of 120 proof, which is equal to 45 percent alcohol by volume. As such, it takes five liters of this vodka to produce one liter of its strongest liquor. With this said, it should come as no surprise that the industry leader in terms of pure ethanol content is none other than the U.S., whose national liquor store chain stores bottles of Everclear liquor that reaches a whopping 190 proof.
To put things in perspective, the typical wine that Americans consume generally contains 13 percent alcohol by volume, and the average mixed drink contains around 25 percent. So next time you order a martini, try ordering it straight up instead. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also avoid a hangover!
Alcohol content aside, the best part about drinking vodka over gin is that vodka doesn’t taste nearly as bad. Why? Because gin is made with juniper berries, which add a lot of flavor to it. On top of that, gin is traditionally served chilled, giving it yet another reason to be hated upon. So if you’re looking for a good mix between the two, go for vodka.

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