According to the EU Spirits Regulation, an alcoholic beverage intended for human consumption, with special sensory characteristics and an alcohol content of at least 15% vol. Exceptions are eggnog and advocaat with 14% vol. It is produced differently for each category of spirit drink, either directly by distillation from naturally fermented products and/or by maceration (maceration) of plant substances in ethyl alcohol(ethanol) and/or in distillates. It may also be produced by mixing a spirit drink with another spirit drink, ethyl alcohol, other alcoholic beverages or beverages. All alcoholic ingredients must be of agricultural origin.
Depending on the category, flavourings, sugars and other sweeteners such as rectified concentrated grape must, concentrated grape must or fresh grape must may be added. Furthermore, there are defined maximum quantities for certain substances per category of spirit drinks, such as acetaldehyde and acetic acid (total acidity) for any ethyl alcohol used, and methanol (different for each category). See in this context also under the problem substance ethyl carbamate.
Depending on the basic product used (fruit, cereals, fruit, grapes, etc.), alcohol content and production method, there are different designations. The term Spirituous beverages is today only used for a distillation product from wine. Colloquially spirits are often also called Schnapps but this name has no legal meaning. With a Fire a mash is fermented and the resulting product is distilled. In the case of a spirit (lat. spiritus = spirit), added alcohol first dissolves the aromas from the fruit or starting product before distillation takes place.
Spirit categories are for example aquavit, bitter, brandy,Kornweingin, liqueur, maraschino, fruit brandy, rum, brandy, whisky and vodka. There are designations reserved for certain countries. These are, for example, Grappa (Italy) and Zivania (Cyprus) for the marc brandy. However, the usual names for this schnapps, Marc (France), and marc (Germany, Austria) are not protected. Other protected designations are Korn (Germany or in countries with German as official language), Ouzo and Tsipouro (Greece). In addition, there are products of protected origin within the EU such as Armagnac and Cognac from France, Lourinhã from Portugal, Metaxa from Greece and Pacharán from Spain. Well-known spirits from overseas are Pisco from Peru, Singani from Bolivia and Tequila from Mexico.
For spirits, as with wine, there are different types of spirit glasses for the different types. Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures or cellar techniques, as well as the various types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law are included under the keyword vinification. Comprehensive information on wine law can be found under the keyword wine law.