How do you make an alcohol ‘smooth’?


How do you make an alcohol ‘smooth’?

In: Chemistry

Ethanol is flavorless,but the production of ethanol through fermentation also produces other alcohols and esters that have harsh flavors. To make a drink “smooth” you either have to filter those out, or cover them up. Careful fermentation, multiple distillations, and aging can reduce the presence of unwanted harsh compounds, but that tends to make your drink more expensive. The cheaper alternative is to use strong flavorants, or just a ton of sugar.

Gin was incredibly popular for a long time because the juniper used to flavor it does a good job of covering up harsh flavors, so gin could be made very cheaply and still be reasonably pleasant to drink.

Generally, by aging it. During the fermentation process a bunch of stuff is produced by the yeast. Mostly the alcohol that just gets you drunk but also other types of alcohols that have different tastes and effects. Depending on how the alcohol is fermented, these other alcohols will be in different amounts and some of them can feel or taste harsh, especially if they’re in large amounts. These alcohols are also somewhat unstable and if left alone start to break down. Over time, the amount of them gets low enough that you can’t taste the harshness and the drink becomes “smooth”