The highest-level categories are fermented beverages
like beer and wine, and distilled beverages
, like liquor. The former are made by allowing yeasts (a type of fungus) to consume sugars and excrete alcohols. There is a theoretical upper bound to the concentration of alcohol that can be produced by this process, since the yeast cannot survive in alcohol and will eventually drown in its own excrement. (Lovely image, right?) In order to produce beverages above, let's say, 15% alcohol by volume, it's necessary to distill some of the water off of a fermented beverage.
Of course, after the actual alcohol has been produced, it's possible to mix things together and add additional flavorings. There is a hybrid cat... (more)