Always wanted to breathe fire? Try these ABV champions!

PUBLISHED IN scotch, rum, bourbon, cognac, tequila
Can’t grow a moustache? The list of strongest liquors below should be of some help. If you’re a woman, consuming these spirits may result in hair growth in some other… Wait, no, you’ll definitely grow some moustache too, so beware! Sorry, ladies.

There are 2 main ways of measuring the alcohol content of beverages: In the US, the alcohol content is measured in alcohol proof which is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV), used in Europe. Therefore, 150-proof Rum has 75% ABV. Simple math, right?

In the recent years, alcohol-high spirits have moved past dorm rooms and frat houses onto the mainstream market, as consumers have become hungry for new things to taste. And as we have said countless times before... Tasting is believing!

We assembled a list of the gnarliest spirits, one for each major category. While imagining, how it would be to drink these spirits, just try to remember that your favourite Gins, Whiskies, Cognacs and many other contain approx. 40% alcohol by volume. Strength-wise they are like mother’s milk when compared with the spirits listed below.

The strongest Scotch Whisky
Bruichladdich X4 Quadrupled Whisky 
184 proof (92% ABV)
It is a well-known fact, that some higher-proof alcohols, especially Whiskies, can, in fact, be more flavorful at a higher alcohol percentage because they’re not cut with water to a more standard 40% ABV. These are called cask strength Whiskies and can have anywhere from 50-75% ABV, but Bruichladdich eats these guys for breakfast!

Bruichladdich TrioThis heavyweight champion comes from the Bruichladdich distillery on the Isle of Islay, home of many great distilleries. Makers of this Scotch have decided to revive the ancient method of quadruple-distilling that was used in the 17th century. This single malt Whisky has an alcohol content of 92%, making it the world’s strongest Whisk(e)y.

We dare you to hold it in your mouth for 20 seconds!
The strongest Rum
River Antoine Royal Grenadian Rum 
180 proof (90% ABV)

This Rum has everything: history, style, power. It is a clear Rum, distilled from the fermented sugarcane juice, using a method known as the pot distillation (very slow distillation that gives maximum flavour).

River Antoine Royal GrenadianRivers Rum is a true blast from the past, as the distillery has more than 
250 years of history, yet still remaining true to their beginnings–the Rum is still handmade, in the same place and in the same way, using much of the same equipment, as it was back in the 18th century.

Oh, and get this: cane crushing is driven by a water wheel, making this the oldest distillery driven by a water wheel in existence. Now that’s what we call history!

Drinking it neat might give you some kudos with the locals.

The strongest Cognac
Louis Royer VSOP Force 53 Cognac
106 proof (53% ABV)
Every Cognac lover knows about Louis Royer, but not necessarily about their Force 53–we call it Cognac on steroids! Louis Royer set up their first stills in 1853, making this Cognac either a coincidence or, more likely, an homage. It is a VSOP Cognac, aged for a minimum of 4 years in Limousin oak.

Photo: Facebook/Louis Royer CognacDue to its high alcohol content, it’s usually not consumed neat and if you are a craft cocktail junkie like we are, then you know that finding a Cognac with the horsepower to stand up to mixers can be a challenge, making Force 53 a perfect cocktail companion

This is one of the boldest Cognacs on the market and closest to the cask-strength Cognac you can get.

The strongest Bourbon
Buffalo Trace Stagg Jr. Bourbon
143.4 proof (67.20% ABV)
Buffalo Trace Stagg Jr 1Bourbon must be entered into a barrel for ageing at no more than 62.5% ABV and is then “watered-down” to 40% ABV (or more) before bottling–much like every other Whiskey. But not this one, oh no!

This Bourbon comes from a Kentucky
 distillery, built by George T. Stagg in the Gilded Age of Bourbon (19th century). Buffalo Trace Stagg Jr. is uncut, unfiltered and aged for nearly a decade! It has also won so many medals that it would not be fair to other spirits in this article to list them all.

The strongest Tequila
Sierra Tequila Silver 
150 proof (75% ABV)

Sierra Tequila SilverSierra Tequila Silver is a well-matured,
clear Tequila that is full of character.

And you know what else is it full of? Alcohol. Regularly, Tequila is bottled at 35 to 55% ABV, but this one just went ahead and crowned itself as the strongest Tequila available for sale, containing 75% ABV.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but drinking huge amounts of this spirit is likely te-quil-a.

The strongest Gin
Strane London Dry Gin - Uncut Strength 
152 proof (76% ABV)
Photo: Twitter / @StraneGinUKStrane London Dry Gin is bottled in very limited quantities at Smögen distillery in Sweden. Their Gins are created by distilling 3 differently balanced base Gins (junipery, citrusy and herbal) then blended into their various expressions.

This Uncut Strength Gin is made with the same botanicals as their classic strength Gin, including basil, mint, sage, lime rind, lemon flesh and many more.

In the EU, the minimum bottled alcoholic strength of Gin is 37.5% ABV. In the US it's 40%, so no matter where you live, Strane Gin's 76% ABV will kick you in the face.

A very cool side effect of this Gin is time travel, as drinking it might take you back in the 18th century when Gin was sipped fresh out of a still at around 80% ABV. While this is probably not your everyday Gin, it surely accounts for a remarkable tasting experience!

The strongest Vodka
Pincer Shanghai Strength Vodka
177 proof (88.8% ABV)
Photo: Twitter / @PincerVodkaYou would have thought that the world’s strongest Vodka would come from its birthplace, Russia, yet it comes from Glasgow, Scotland. This botanical Vodka, with quite a heavy price tag, is intended to be used as a concentrate, as you can get 65 shots from a bottle, compared to the usual 26.

Did that carefully placed word “botanical” throw you off track and persuaded you that this Vodka is healthy? Well, it contains wild elderflower and milk thistle, which are used as a liver support in Chinese medicine, so it might as well be better than drinking the regular stuff. Due to the astronomically-high alcohol content, your liver might just need some support.

The strongest Absinthe
Hapsburg Premium Reserve Absinthe - Gold Label 
179 proof (89.9% ABV)
Photo: Facebook / Hapsburg AbsintheAbsinthe, also known as a green fairy, was banned in most of Europe and Americas during the prohibition period. This highly concentrated Absinthe is created with the traditional wormwood bark or Artemisia Absenthium, from where the spirit got its name and which is believed to have hallucinating effects on the drinker. Hapsburg Premium Reserve Absinthe is marketed under a slogan “There are no rules.”

If you want to be like the famous Absinthe drinker, Van Gogh, we recommend consuming this spirit in the traditional way, with sugar and well diluted with water. If you don’t meet a green fairy while drinking this, you probably never will.

What is the strongest spirit in the World? In 2016, the most alcoholic beverage in the world, at 96% ABV, is Spirytus.

The strongest spirit in the world
192 proof (96% ABV)
Photo: PinterestThis spirit is made of raw materials grown and processed exclusively in Poland, where it is used in preparing fruit and herbal liqueurs, Vodkas and desserts. Currently, this is the most alcoholic beverage in the world and a few years ago selling this spirit was approved in the state of New York.

Just a glance at the label makes us somewhat tipsy, so we primarily like to use it for polishing (pun very well intended) other spirits’ bottles. Apparently, pilots in Siberia used to drink this stuff, so who are we to tell you what to do with it.

By Klemen


About the author: Klemen is a freelance translator based in Slovenia. When not doing things with words, he likes to cook, bake and drink premium spirits. He’s still waiting for an invitation to go live in the Lagavulin Bay.

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