The Rise of the Overproof Spirit

Staff Writer
Can you handle a bottle that's up to 150 proof? Get used to it

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

It's official: your booze is getting stronger. What does that mean? More and more distilleries are hopping on the "overproof" train, making their rums, gins, whiskies, and other spirits higher than the normal 80-proof. 

The Wall Street Journal reports on this trend in distilleries, who say that overproof spirits are just part of the artisanal drink movement that's sweeping the nation. And overproof spirits are gaining market power: for example, the Laphroaig Cask Strength whisky (made by the same distillery behind Jim Beam) is expected to sell an entire case of 2,500 bottles by the year's end. 

Although distilleries have actually moved toward lower alcohol content in the past (ShakeStir notes earlier generations were used to 100-proof whiskies, yikes), more are looking to keep the alcohol content in tact. Why? For the taste and integrity of the spirit: the more water that's added to the spirit, the more diluted it becomes. But that means an overproof spirit allows for more creativity, whether by simply adding water or ice to your whiskey neat, or in a cocktail. Said Beam spokesman Dan Cohen to the WSJ, "It allows you to customize your experience." 

The Best of Bitter Spirits

Some of the more popular bottles being sold today: the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve bourbon, the Wild Turkey 101 rye, and Perry's Tot Navy Strength Gin. Just make sure to not overpour the overproof.