Climbing is popular and fun – Royal Examiner

Whether served neat, on ice or in cocktails, spirits are increasingly popular in winter and summer alike. Here is a guide to the standard choices.

• Vodka. Many people enjoy this neutral-tasting alcohol that is usually made from grains, vegetables, or fruits. Vodka is an essential ingredient in many cocktails, including bloody mary and cosmopolitan. It is often assumed that vodka comes from Russia and is made from potatoes. However, depending on where you are, you might find unique vodkas from local distilleries made with surprising ingredients like maple sap or quinoa.

• Gins. This spirit is a definitive ingredient in G&Ts and other cocktails. It results from the combination of macerated and distilled juniper berries with aromatic ingredients such as herbs, citrus fruits and flowers in a neutral grain-based alcohol. London dry is a well-known variety of gin whose name represents a style of distillation and is not exclusive to England. Jenever has Dutch and Belgian origins and is now also produced in Canada.

• Whisky. Made from grains such as corn and oats, whiskey has distinct identities depending on the country where it is distilled. The whiskey brewed in the United States is mostly bourbon, while the Canadian version is rye. Scotch refers to the variety produced in Scotland.

• Rum. Made from molasses or fermented cane syrup, this spirit drink usually comes in light, golden, and dark varieties, depending on their filtering and aging processes. Spiced rum is generally aged for the same length of time as dark rum. Among the must-have rum cocktails are the mojito and the piña colada.

Visit authorized retailers in your area to stock up on these essential spirits for your collection or visit a bar or distillery to discover new ways to enjoy them.

Please do not drink and drive.

Virginia F. Goins