There are many different kinds of alcoholic drinks, and some of them contain more alcohol than others. The types of alcoholic drinks with higher concentrations of alcohol are able to cause drunkenness and alcohol poisoning more quickly and in smaller doses.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage worldwide. In fact, after water and tea, beer is the most commonly-consumed drink in the world. Beer is also most likely the oldest alcoholic drink in history. A standard beer, whether it be a lager or an ale, has between 4% to 6% ABV, although some beers have higher or lower concentrations of alcohol. For example, “light beers” only have between 2% to 4% ABV while “malt liquors” have between 6% to 8%.
Wine is another popular and ancient alcoholic beverage. Standard wine has less than 14% ABV. Champagne, the most well-known sparkling wine, has an alcohol concentration of about 10% to 12%. Some wines are “fortified” with distilled alcohol. Port, Madeira, Marsala, Vermouth, and Sherry are examples of fortified wines. They usually have about 20% ABV.
Hard cider is fermented apple juice. It usually has about 5% ABV.
Mead, a blend of water and fermented honey, has between 10% to 14% ABV.
Saké, a well-known Japanese drink made from fermented rice, has an alcohol concentration of about 16% ABV.
Distilled Drinks (Liquors and Spirits)
Gin is a spirit made from juniper berries. It can have anywhere from 35% to 55% ABV.
Brandy is distilled wine. The concentration of alcohol in brandy ranges from 35% to 60%. For example, one famous brandy, Cognac, has 40% ABV.
Whiskey is a spirit made from distilled, fermented grain. The ABV of whiskey ranges from 40% to 50%.
Rum, a distilled drink made from fermented sugarcane or molasses, has a typical alcohol concentration of 40% ABV. Some rum is “overproof,” meaning that it has an alcohol concentration of at least 57.5% ABV. Most overproof rum exceeds this minimum, usually reaching 75.5% ABV, which is equivalent to 151 proof.
Tequila is another popular spirit. The main ingredient of tequila is the Mexican agave plant. The alcohol concentration of tequila is usually about 40% ABV.
Vodka, a liquor usually made from fermented grains and potatoes, has a standard alcohol concentration of 40% ABV in the United States.
Absinthe is a spirit made from a variety of leaves and herbs. There is no evidence for the idea that absinthe is a hallucinogen, but it does has a high alcohol concentration. Some forms of absinthe have about 40% ABV, while others have as much as 90% ABV.
Everclear, a grain-based spirit, is another drink with a heavy alcohol concentration. The minimum ABV of Everclear is 60%, but Everclear can also have 75.5% and 95% ABV.