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  • Types Of Alcohol | List Of Popular Drinks By Alcohol Content

    Published on September 2, 2021

    There are three different types of alcohol:

    • methanol (also called methyl alcohol), a type of alcohol found in antifreeze, fuel, and solvents 
    • isopropanol (also called isopropyl alcohol), a type of alcohol found in rubbing alcohol and various household products, such as cleaners and disinfectants
    • ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol), a type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks and the only type that’s not poisonous to humans

    The amount of alcohol in an alcoholic beverage is known as alcohol content. Alcohol content varies widely depending on the drink. 

    Types Of Alcohol

    There are two main categories of alcoholic drinks: distilled alcohol and undistilled alcohol

    Distilled Alcohol

    Distilled drinks are drinks that are both fermented and distilled. During the fermenting process, yeast or bacteria converts sugar into alcohol. During the distilling process, the alcohol is heated to create a vapor, and the vapor is condensed back into a liquid. 

    Distillation increases a drink’s alcohol content. 

    Undistilled Alcohol

    Undistilled drinks, also called fermented drinks, are drinks that go through the fermentation process but not the distillation process. They have lower ABVs (alcohol by volume) than distilled drinks.

    Types Of Distilled Alcohol

    Popular distilled drinks (also called distilled spirits) include:


    Brandy is a distilled wine. Common types of brandy include:

    • armagnac, which has between 46% and 48% ABV
    • calvados, which has about 40% ABV
    • cognac, which has about 40% ABV
    • kirsch, which has between 40% and 50% ABV
    • medronho, which has about 48% ABV
    • metaxa, which has about 40% ABV
    • palinka, which has between 37% and 86% ABV
    • rakia, which has between 40% and 80% ABV


    Gin is a drink made from juniper berries. Popular types of gin include:

    • London Dry Gin, which has about 45% ABV
    • Old Tom Gin, which has about 40% ABV
    • Plymouth Gin, which has about 41.2% ABV
    • Navy Strength Gin, which has about 57% ABV


    Liqueurs are alcoholic drinks that are flavored and sweetened. Their ABVs range between 15% and 55%. Popular liqueurs include:

    • 99 bananas, which has about 49.5% ABV
    • amaretto, which has between 21% and 28% ABV
    • campari, which has between 20.5% and 28% ABV
    • disaronno, which has about 28% ABV
    • frangelico, which has about 20% ABV
    • galliano, which has about 43.2% ABV
    • Irish mist, which has about 35% ABV
    • Tia Maria, which has about 20% ABV


    Rum is a drink made with molasses or sugarcane juice. Popular types of rum include:

    • demerara rum, which has about 43% ABV
    • navy rum, which has about 57% ABV
    • overproof rum, which has between 57.5% and 75.5% ABV
    • white rum, which has about 40% ABV


    Tequila is a drink made from the blue agave plant, which is native to Mexico. Its ABV ranges between 33% and 55%. The main types of tequila are añejo, blanco, and reposado. 


    Vodka is a Russian drink made with fermented grains and potatoes. Popular types of vodka include:

    • plain vodka, which has between 40% and 95% ABV
    • flavored vodka, which usually has between 30% and 50% ABV
    • fruit vodka, which usually has between 30% and 50% ABV


    Whiskey is a drink made from fermented grains. Common types of whiskey include:

    • bourbon, which has between 40% and 80% ABV
    • Canadian whiskey, which has about 40% ABV
    • cask-strength whiskey (a type of whiskey not diluted with water), which has between 60% and 65% ABV
    • Irish whiskey, which has about 40% ABV
    • rye whiskey, which has about 80% ABV
    • scotch, which has between 40% and 43% ABV
    • single malt whiskey, which has between 40% and 50% ABV

    Other Distilled Drinks

    Other popular distilled drinks include:

    • absinthe, a drink made from leaves and herbs, which has between 40% and 90% ABV
    • arrack, a Southeast Asian drink made with coconut flowers or sugarcane, which has between 33% and 50% ABV
    • cachaça, a Brazilian drink made with sugar, which has between 38% and 48% ABV
    • horilka, a Ukranian drink made with wheat or rye, which has about 40% ABV
    • jenever, a distilled malt wine made with juniper berries, which has about 50% ABV
    • martini, a blend of gin and vermouth, which has about 15% ABV
    • ogogoro, a Nigerian drink made with palm tree juice, which has between 30% and 60% ABV
    • soju, a Korean drink made with rice and other grains, which has about 20% ABV

    Learn more about What Is Considered Liquor?

    Types Of Undistilled Alcohol

    Popular undistilled drinks include:


    Beer is made from cereal grains like malted barley, wheat, oats, and rice. It’s likely the oldest alcoholic drink in the world. The most common types of beer include:

    • barleywine, which has between 8% and 12% ABV
    • bitter ale, which has between 3% and 5.5% ABV
    • brown ale, which has between 3.6% and 4.4% ABV
    • mild ale, which has between 3% and 3.6% ABV
    • pale ale, which has about 5% ABV
    • stout, which has between 5.7% and 8.9% ABV
    • stock ale, which has between 7.5% and 9% ABV 
    • fruit beer, which has up to 4.2% ABV
    • pale lager, which has between 3.5% and 5% ABV
    • schwarzbier, which has around 5% ABV
    • sahiti, which has around 8% ABV
    • small beer, which has between 0.5% and 2.8% ABV
    • wheat beer, which has between 4% and 7% ABV


    Wine is made from fermented grapes. As with beer, different types of wine have different ABVs. 

    Red wine has between 12% and 15% ABV, while white wine has between 5% and 15% ABV. Champagne, a popular type of white wine, has between 10% and 12% ABV. 

    Fortified wines have higher ABVs because they’re mixed with distilled alcohol. Common fortified wines include:

    • port, which has between 19% and 20% ABV
    • madeira, which has between 18% and 20% ABV
    • marsala, which has between 15% and 20% ABV
    • sherry, which has between 15% and 22% ABV
    • vermouth, which has between 16% and 18% ABV
    • vin santo, which has between 18% and 19% ABV

    Other Undistilled Drinks

    Other popular undistilled drinks include:

    • chicha, a South American and Central American beverage made from maize, which has about 3.1% ABV
    • hard cider, or fermented apple juice, which has between 4.5% and 7% ABV
    • huangjiu, a Chinese beverage made from rice and other grains, which has between  8% and 20% ABV
    • mead, a blend of water and fermented honey, which has between 5.5% and 20.5% ABV
    • saké, a Japanese drink made from rice, which has between 15% and 20% ABV

    Drinking any type of alcohol can lead to alcohol abuse. If you feel unable to control your drinking or it’s causing problems in your life, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. 

    We provide comprehensive treatment services for alcohol abuse and addiction, including medical detox, support groups, and therapy.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - What Is A Standard Drink?
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Commonly Used Drugs Charts
    National Institute of Standards and Technology - How Do You Measure the Percentage of Alcohol in Beer, Wine and Other Beverages?

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