So this goes guy goes up to the bar, slams his fist down on the countertop and says in a gruff tone “give me the strongest shit you got…and make it double!!”. We’ve all seen this scene played out in movies but have you ever thought “the strongest shit you’ve got” is really a very relative statement and would really depend on where in the world “this bar” is located? Every country, state, region or culture has their own favorite “mother of all cures” or most potent alcoholic drink to drown one’s sorrows, bond over, party with, have a meaningless conversation over and then develop a hangover with the next morning. What you get at the local bar or liquor store as the most alcoholic or potent drink poured up for you depends on where you are.
Here are some of the suggestions for the most potent alcoholic drink options from all around the globe:
1. Poitin From Ireland
Those who have been brave enough to try and down this potent home-distilled, once illegal grain alcohol drink have stories about feeling their throat set on fire or feeling like they swallowed a fire-breathing dragon. Listed as having an alcohol content of 60% to 90% this could easily be considered one of the world’s most alcoholic beverages by far!
Commonly referred to as Irish Moonshine, this drink distilled from potatoes, malted barley, sugar, and yeast this ancient version of the drink is still considered illegal for the most part with only two distilleries in Ireland still legally allowed to produce it. Available with alcohol contents ranging from 40% to 90% ABV, Poitin is the closest you can get to having something so alcoholic it’s almost clinical grade.
2. Spirytus Vodka From Poland
In the world of spirits (not the ghosts and ghouls one) Vodka is perhaps one of the strongest alcoholic beverages for those looking for something serious. In fact, if you find yourself in a bar in Russia, Ukraine or Poland, you’ll find Vodka on your table. Ask for anything else and you’ll find eyebrows going up. If your drinking in this part of the globe, you’re drinking vodka and there will be no two ways about that.
Surprisingly, the purest distilled Vodka with the most mind-boggling alcohol content by volume comes from Poland. The Spirytus brand Vodka sports a label which says it contains…now brace yourself…. 95% ABV!!! Rumor has it that you need to handle this kind of stuff very carefully and responsibly since the human body doesn’t do very well with this kind of levels. Risks include going blind (if you drink straight up) and a host of other….side effects. It’s almost strange it doesn’t come with a nuclear label or something more befitting. It comes in a simple plain bottle but don’t let that fool anyone.
3. Everclear 190 From The United States
That’s right! Just when you thought nothing as insanely alcoholic as the drinks above could be legal for selling, let alone manufactured in the USA…we present Everclear neutral grain alcohol. Although not among the most readily available off-the-shelf drink, Everclear comes in two flavors (strictly speaking the drink itself is flavorless and neutral) the 151 proof which has 75.5% alcohol by volume and then the meaner 190 proof which has 95% alcohol by volume.
Needless to say, the 190 version is banned in several states across the US where the 151 is still available but that won’t stop us from tooting our horns about distilling some of the most potent drink options in the world! If you’re in one of the states where it’s legally available and go up to a bar asking for the strongest stuff they’ve got… expect a bottle of Everclear coming your way.
4. River Antoine Royal Grenadian Run From Grenada
Rums are one of those drinks you take seriously and know pack a serious punch (no pun intended) with alcohol contents hovering near 40% ABV. That is till you’ve been to Grenada and sampled their local “firewater” rum. The River Antoine Rum Distillery has seen more than it’s share of tourists being on the tour map of everyone there and why not? They make one of the meanest brands of rum you’ll ever find anywhere.
Supposedly, what they offer tourists is a sugarcane-based rum with up to 75% ABV!!! However, they have the 69% bottles which tourists can take home because the 75% one is just so inflammable, the airlines won’t allow it. Rumor has it among circles that the locals get another version of the rum exclusively for them which goes way beyond the 75%ABV mark. Now that would make a lethal rum punch!
5. Bruichladdich X4 Perilous Scotch Whiskey From Scotland
If it’s Scotland….it’s Scotch Whiskey ….enough said! This, however, isn’t your everyday 40% ABV Scotch, Whiskey or single malt. This is the result of a record-breaking attempt by a Scottish distillery to distill a single malt whiskey four times to come up with a finished product that will have 92% alcohol by volume.
With just 5000 bottles produced and left to age for 10 years in oak casks, this is perhaps not going to be available at every bar, but more of a prized possession among Scotch lovers. Nevertheless, it makes our list of most potent beverages and rightly so!
6. Ouzo & Raki From Greece & Turkey
Raki, the national drink in Turkey, loosely translates as lion’s milk (milk for the brave) owing to the milky color the otherwise clear liquid takes on when you dilute it with water. When that’s a how a drink gets its name …you know you’re dealing with some serious stuff and the scores of tourists will tell you about their hangovers following a night out on the town in Turkey. With a distinct aniseed flavor similar to Absinthe, most popular brands of Turkish Raki have an ABV of about 45% and going by our list so far, that may not seem a lot.
However, the process of making Raki distills the alcohol all the way up to about 94% and then moderates the “lion’s milk” to sell-able proportions before it gets to the stores. Ouzo which is traditional in Greece and Cyprus also starts of with 96% alcohol then added to flavorings of anise seed, star anise, cinnamon and other spice flavorings. While Ouzo is also mostly available at a 40% alcohol content level, both these drinks are not for the faint-hearted.
Care to share something else that should make it to this bar menu of throat scorchers?
Main image source: depositphotos.com
brian t says
There are two types of moonshine coming out of South Africa: “witblits” (from grapes) and “mampoer” (from just about any other fruit). I had a taste of “peach brandy” mampoer when I lived there years ago, and was tempted to give up drinking entirely on the spot. As with Poteen, there are more “normal” commercial versions for export, but also a thriving amateur scene with some insane ABV levels.
Scotch Whisky not Whiskey.
Felix A. says
I can’t believe that Grenada’s River Antoine made it on this list and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Sunset Strong Rum didn’t make it. Sunset is stronger than Grenada’s rum. Check it out. I’m sure you’ll be impressed.
You missed Pisco, a Peruvian liquor, generally 50% or more.
Stroh Rum from Austria.
There are four versions, Stroh 40, Stroh 54, Stroh 60 and Stroh 80, and yes the numbers stands for ABV
interesting but a pile of dogsh.t that article:
Spirytus means distilled spirit in Polish, nothing else, and it’s not a brand of vodka. it’s not meant to be consumed straight.
And if you go to a bar in Poland, you’ll find people drinking exactly the same alcoholic beverages as anywhere else in europe. pure vodka served in shots will be a rather rare sight.
Bruichladdich X4 is not whiskey, it’s whisky. Whiskey comes from Ireland.
U FAILED TO MENTION PISCO, ITS A PERUVIAN LIQUOR THAT IS VERY STRONG.
Guys you have forgotten the Stro Rum 80 its 80% vol