Types of Alcoholic Beverages

There are various types of alcoholic beverages and the concentration of ethanol differs across preparation. Alcoholic drinks prepared by using yeast to ferment various sugar containing plant products usually have a low concentration as yeast ceases to grow when the concentration of ethanol reaches about 15 percent. Stronger liquors, on the other hand, are prepared through distillation.

Some of the commonly used alcoholic beverages include:

Wines – these are usually made from grapes or other fruits such as peaches, plums or apricots. These fruits undergo a period of fermentation and ageing. They usually have an alcohol content ranging between 40 to 50 percent.

Beer - is made by the process of fermentation of starch by combining yeast and malted cereal, such as corn, rye, wheat or barely. It contains 4 to 8 percent of alcohol.

Distilled Spirits – it is an alcoholic beverage produced by distilling ethanol by fermentation of grains, fruits or vegetables. It is also referred to as hard liquor. These include gin, rum, vodka, tequila and whiskey. The usually contain around 40 percent alcohol.  

See the table below for more information about types of alcoholic beverages in India

Alcoholic Beverage

Source

Alcohol Content

(%ABV)

Absolute Alcohol

Standard Drink

Beer (standard)

Cereals

3-4

2.3-3.1

300-400ml

Beer (Strong)

Cereals

8-11

6.2-8.6

100-150ml

Wine

Grapes

(and other fruits)

5-13

3.9-10.1

100-250ml

Fortified Wine

Grapes

(and other fruits)

14-20

10.9-15.9

60-90ml

Distilled Spirits

Fruits, cereals, sugarcane

40

31.2

30ml

Arrack

Coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain

33

25.7

40ml

Toddy

Palm sap, coconut flowers

5-10

3.9-7.8

200ml

Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL)

Molasses, grain

42.8

33.4

30ml

 

Sources:

Prevention of harm from alcohol use: get high on life without alcohol- Report by WHO SEARO region (2003) [pdf file]

Silva et al. (2003). The prevalence and correlates of hazardous drinking in industrial workers : A study from Goa, India. Alcohol & Alcoholism, 38,78-83 

Lal R. Substance Use Disorders: A Manual for physicians. New Delhi: National Drug Dependence Treatment Center, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 2005.