SPIRITED AWAY: National liquors that have placed a spell around the world

a drink bottle behind clear ice with sangria in a cup

One may not be an alcohol fan, but nobody can deny that liquors bind people not only during ‘happy times’ but often, sad times as well. Some spirits have reached worldwide fame due to their taste, popular culture, or rich history, while some remain a local pride. No matter what status your national liquor got, we are here to celebrate it as a national treasure that mirrors the country’s resources and discipline in producing these drinks.


Whisky (Scotland and USA)

Whisky is perhaps the king of liquor in the world, especially when we consider how many alcoholic drinks have been derived from it.
For instance, United State’s bourbon, Scotland’s single-malt whisky, Indian whisky, and Japanese whisky all have whiskey as their base. This makes it the most popular alcoholic drink across continents.

United States Bourbon

This is an American pride as it originated in Kentucky and has its own distinct flavor that is a shower of nutmeg and even cinnamon. It requires the spirit to have at least 51% corn and must only be stored and distilled in new barrels. This is why there are more barrels than humans in Kentucky.

Scottish single-malt whisky

Scotland’s pride was a favorite among pirates after its claims of a good source of Vitamin C. It has later on evolved as a national drink with a strong flavor and proof. In fact, its alcohol strength is so strong it can withstand 100 years – more than humans – when sealed in a bottle.

Vodka (Russia)

Owning the second spot is Russia’s vodka. This is perhaps the most ‘national’ liquor drink in the world as no other country has claimed to be a large producer other than its home origin. It is so widespread that you do not have to go to Russia to have a taste of it. Russian’s have perfected the distillation process of potatoes and grains to come up with a pride like vodka.

Soju (South Korea)

Soju is another pride, but this time it is hailing from South Korea. There is perhaps no larger achievement than a small country like South Korea producing one of the biggest brands of liquor in the world. Yes, Jinro, South Korean soju brand is an undefeated top placer in world ranking when it comes to alcoholic brands. Perhaps soju’s influence can largely be attributed to its exposure in the country’s pop culture, which by the way, is also a national pride. It is usually consumed on the rocks, from a shot glass or right from the bottle, whichever you prefer.

Rum (Cuba)

Rum is considered the oldest alcoholic drink, with its history starting as early as the 17th century with monks and pilgrims. Its boom started with the establishment of sugar mills, which is why it has its own distinct sweet taste. It is also the base for other famous cocktails like Pina Colada and Mojito. Cuba might be the origin country of this old drink, but Philippines and Puerto Rico is claiming its market share by having world-renowned rum brands under their belt, most popular of which is Tanduay and Bacardi.

Brandy (France)

Brandy is often referred to as ‘base wine’ due to its similarities with wine preparation. However, a distinct feature of this spirit is young grapes are used to achieve lower sugar levels and must be stored for years to achieve that complex, mellow taste. This makes brandy more expensive than other alcoholic drinks.
On the other hand, India and the Philippines are the current top producers of brandy in the world, despite France’s cognac enjoying overseas fame.


Cachaca used to be referred to as ‘Brazilian rum’ due to the similarities of its preparation with traditional rum, where fermented sugarcane is the base ingredient. However, the Brazilian government has put its foot down by forging agreements with its importers that the product be called as cachaca officially. To add to the growing exclusivity of cachaca, the Brazilian government has made it into law that cachaca is only allowed to be produced within the borders of Brazil, lest it would not be called as such. 800 million liters of cachaca is produced by Brazil and exported worldwide, rightfully giving it a spot in the world alcohol stage.


Gin dates as far back as the infamous 30-years war and is originally discovered in Holland. It has grown widespread acknowledgement that it is produced by numerous brands outside England. Unlike other spirits that can be consumed on the rocks, gin is commonly consumed by mixing with other liquids such as tonic or juices.

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