What Is Alcohol?
As far as chemistry goes, alcohol is an organic compound made when the hydroxyl functional group bonds to a carbon. Alcohol is generally made by fermenting grain, fruits or vegetables (any kind of edible starch that can be converted into sugar). This fermentation process just needs a starchy or sugary ingredient that the yeast can act on. The most common of these starches or sugars are:
- grapes for producing wine and brandy
- grains like barley, wheat, corn and rye for producing beer, gins, whiskeys, vodka and other spirits
There are specialty spirits like tequila and mezcal that are made from specific plants — both of these are agave-based.