Gin Alcohol Percentage Vs Other Liquors
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The right glass of gin can leave your world spinning—in a good way. After a particularly potent bottle the other day, I got to wondering: how much alcohol is in a thing of gin, anyway?
What’s gin’s alcohol percentage? Though the actual degree of alcohol in gin can very, a drink must be at least 40% alcohol (or 80 proof) to be considered gin, with most products topping out at around 50% alcohol.
Knowing this, how does gin stack up against other liquors? Coming up, I’ll go over this, as well as other important alcohol content information you need to know about gin.
What Is the Alcohol Level of Gin?
To begin with, let’s take a closer look at gin’s specific alcohol content.
Like vodka and other distilled alcohols that can’t legally be made at home, gin contains a relatively high level of alcohol. Generally speaking, the ABV (alcohol by volume) of gin must start at 40% (or 80 proof). The restrictions on just how high ABV can be in gin are less severe. Though most gins top out around 50%, there are a few famous brands that go much higher.
Keep reading to find out just how high gins can go (and which ones are sure to give you the quickest buzz!).
Is Gin Considered a Strong Alcohol?
This leads me to our next question: is gin a strong alcohol? Based off what we’ve seen already, the answer is definitely!
Even the weakest gins (at 40%) have an ABV much higher than your standard canned or bottled beer, which has an ABV of around 5%.
How does gin stack up to wine? You may be surprised. The average bottle of wine has an approximate ABV of 12%--well below the 40% cutoff for gin. This, plus the extraordinary limits some gins can reach in terms of proof, qualify gin as one of the strongest alcohols out there. In other words, definitely not for beginners.
Gin vs Common Spirits
To give you an even better idea of just how strong gin is (or isn’t, depending on how hardcore you are), let’s see how it stacks up against some other common spirits, including some of the highest proof alcohols around:
Vodka: 40-95% ABV
Like gin, vodka starts at around 40% ABV. Indeed, at first glance, there seems little difference between vodka and its Western European cousin. Both alcohols are heavily distilled, clear, and high proof. Unlike gin, however, vodka is not flavored by juniper berries (the signature flavoring in gin) or any other substance.
Its ABV content, however, is remarkably similar. In fact, the average ABV of vodka is virtually identical to that of gin (40%), though the upper extremes on vodka are a little more severe (95% vs 76%). Therefore, it’s safe to say won’t find it much harder getting drunk on gin than you do on vodka.
Read also: Gin vs Vodka (What's the Difference?)
Whiskey: 40-68% ABV
Whiskey is another popular drink that starts at 40% ABV.
Unlike gin and vodka, however, this famed alcohol tops at around 68% alcohol content, making it the least severe of the three in terms of proof. Generally, most whiskeys are 40, 43, or 46% ABV depending on the brand.
Rum: 37.5-80% ABV
Rum, like gin, has incredible diversity in terms of alcohol content. Though the lower-end rums can be weaker than gin, starting at around 37.5% ABV, some of the stronger options have a higher proof (at around 80% ABV). With this being said, however, the average proof of rum is no different than that of gin, at just 40% ABV).
Read also: Can unopened rum go bad?
Tequila: 32-60% ABV
Known for its quick inebriation-inducing abilities, tequila is actually a weaker alcohol than most gins. This classic party drink starts at around 32% ABV and tops out at around 60%, making it weaker than gin on both ends of the spectrum. Still, like many of the other options on this list, tequila has an average proof of 40%, making it largely comparable to most gins.
Wine: 12% ABV
We’ve touched on this already, but it’s worth more investigation.
While the average wine is only around 12% ABV, high-proof options start at 14.5% ABV and can reach as high as 16% ABV. This means that even the strongest of wines aren’t even half as potent as the weakest gins, which is about what you’d expect when comparing a layman’s alcohol to a more serious spirit.
Beer: 5% ABV (with a catch)
Fan of the stuff you can pick up at the convenience store for some light drinking? I am, too.
I say light because most brand-name beers are only around 5% ABV, as I’ve mentioned before.
Unlike wines, however, beer can actually reach quite high in terms of proof.
Just how strong can beer get? The strongest beer in the world, Schorschbrau’s signature Schorschbock, clocks in at a jaw-dropping 57% ABV, making it stronger than your average gin. Still, though, it takes a truly special beer such as the Schorschbock to even come close to gin in terms of proof.
Absinthe: 45-90% ABV
At 90-148 proof, absinthe is some of the strongest stuff on the market and packs a more powerful punch than most gins.
While there is some overlap between lower-end absinthes and more upper-end gins, the heaviest of these spirits blows gins out of the water in terms of ABV (and vodka, too, for that matter).
Moonshine: 40-80% ABV
Even moonshine isn’t as strong as absinthe, with ABV levels that generally top out at about 80%. Lower-end moonshines tend to share ABV levels with lower-end gins, with the full range of proofs being nearly identical between the two alcohols.
Read also: How to proof moonshine?
Three Strongest Gins
Having said all this, it’s time to take a look at some of the strongest gins out there. These bad boys are sure to get you buzzed in no time—though you’ll have to shell out your wallet and then some for some of the items on this list.
#1 Sipsmith V.J.O.P. London Dry Gin: 57.7% ABV
Best combined with cocktails, this “Very Juniper Over Proof” classic from Sipsmith is one of the strongest gins in the world.
This 57.7% ABV alcohol is a great party drink, though you may find the taste a little strong on the junipers (as the name implies).
Unique to this high-proof drink is the hint of chocolate that’s mixed in with the alcohol—one of the reasons why I recommend mixing it with an appropriate cocktail.
#2 Blackwood’s Vintage Dry Gin: 60% ABV
Blackwood’s Vintage Dry Gin, registers at 60% ABV, making it one of the strongest gins anywhere in the world.
This proud Scottish product may be similar in proof to the Sipsmith option in proof, but it’s got a unique flavor that’s totally unlike the previous option.
With strong floral and citrus undertones, this vintage gin offers a fruitier taste to go with its extreme ABV.
#3 (Winner) Strane Uncut London Dry Gin
No gin beats the Strane Uncut London Dry Gin, however.
At a staggering 76% ABV, this famous brand is generally regarded as the strongest proof gin anywhere in the world.
With such an eye-popping ABV, this relatively inexpensive gin is up there with some of the strongest vodkas (and some extreme moonshines!). Without a doubt, this is a drink that you won’t want to guzzle, even if the fresh taste of spices and lemon are easy on the palate.
What’s the Strongest Alcohol in the World?
Now that we’ve covered all of this, it’s time to ask the big question: what’s the strongest alcohol in the world?
It’s not a gin, of course, though you may be surprised it’s none of the other major alcohols listed in this piece either.
Spirytus Rektyfikowany, a rectified spirit from Poland, currently holds the title for world’s strongest alcohol. This potent spirit has an eye-popping ABV of 96%, meaning, essentially, that it’s nearly 100% alcohol.
Obviously, you don’t want to drink this spirit by itself. Even one shot of this potent drink can leave you with a stomachache for the ages, and its strong aftertaste can leave your mouth burning.
The spirit is so strong, in fact, that it’s sometimes used as a disinfectant (not what I would recommend, however).
IMPORTANT: Drinking Spirytus Rektyfikowany without first diluting it or mixing it can literally spell disaster, and chugging the drink can be fatal.
As with all high-proof and extreme alcohols, then, I advise exercising caution and moderation when handling this infamous spirit.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of just how strong gin is.
In this guide, I went over the gin alcohol percentage and examined the potency of the popular spirit in relation to other high-proof alcohols on the market. Whether you’re a fan of the juniper drink or are just now looking to get into gin, it’s always best to know the proof of the alcohol you’re drinking and how it stacks up to the competition.
For this reason, make sure to use this guide to find the gin or other high-proof alcohol that’s the best fit for you!