Spirits are drinks that have had the alcohol concentrated by the process of distillation. The final product, after the distillation process, will create a product with about 37% to 43% alcohol (with a minimum of about 20%). Remember that beer is around 3% to 8% and wine is in the range of 7% to 16%. Anything that can be fermented, can be made into a spirit. All that is required is sugar, or starch that can be converted into sugar. So raw materials such as fruit, vegetables and grains, are fair game.
Spirits made from wine (made from grapes) is known as Brandy (see my article on Cognac). Spirits like Vodka can be made from a number of different materials: potatoes, grain, or even sugar cane, while others, like Tequila can only be made from the Agave plant (see my article on tequila). The most common spirits are: Brandy, Gin, Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, and Tequila.
Liqueurs (or cordials) are spirits that have added flavor or sweeteners. These additions were originally included for medicinal purposes (usually digestive aids, or herbal cures), where the alcohol helped to accelerate the absorption. Most liqueurs are based on secret recipes, with a mix of herbs, bark, roots, seeds, fruit, etc. Some of the best known liqueurs are: Bailey's Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Sambuca, Frangelico, and Schnapps.
For those of you who still insist on wine at your Halloween party, why not try some Orange Wine? Basically, just white wines with some longer skin contact. Or, you could buy any number of wines with spooky themes: Vampire Vineyards, Hocus Pocus Syrah, Skeleton Wine, Witch Creek Winery, or even Big Red Monster Wine.
Whatever you decide to do with your Halloween party, have fun, and enjoy!