Course 4

Alcohol FAQ

What is the difference between 100% agave and 51% (mixto) agave tequila?

51% agave tequila is made with at least 51% blue agave. Other sugars are added before fermentation to produce this blended spirit. 100% agave is made with only fermented agave juice.


How is alcohol measured by proof?

No matter what spirit it is, you may see two numbers on the bottle/packaging that convey how much alcohol is in the drink inside: the Alcohol by Volume (ABV), which is simply the percentage of the liquid that is alcohol. The second number is proof, which can be different depending on the country. In the US, the proof is measured as 2 times the ABV, so a 35% ABV spirit is 70 proof in the US. Proof is dwindling in its common usage and you now mostly see ABV on bottles all over the world.


What does overproof mean?

In gins and rums, this means that the spirit has a higher ABV than is the norm. Historically, this meant the spirit was 57% ABV or more.


What is a common ABV for certain types of alcohol?

The usual ABV range of 10 major alcohol beverage categories are:

  • Vodka – 40% ABV (flavors generally 30-35% ABV)
  • Whiskey – 40-68% (usually 40, 43, 46%) ABV
  • Rum – 37.5-80% ABV (mostly 40-50% ABV)
  • Gin – 37.5-50% ABV
  • Mezcal – 32-60% (mostly 40%) ABV
  • Tequila – 32-60% (mostly 40%) ABV
  • Brandy – 35-60% (mostly 40%) ABV
  • Liqueurs – 15-55% ABV
  • Beer – 2-12% (mostly 4-6%) ABV
  • Wine – 9-16% (mostly 12.5-14.5%) ABV



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