Rectified spirit

Rectified spirit

A rectified spirit or rectified alcohol is highly concentrated ethanol (drinking alcohol) which has been purified by means of rectification (repeated distillation). It is used in mixed drinks, in the production of liqueurs, for medicinal purposes, and as a household solvent.

Neutral grain spirits are rectified spirits made from grain. However, rectified spirits are also made from other kinds of plant material, most often from sugar beets or potatoes.

Rectified spirits are illegal for nonmedical purposes in some nations (e.g., India), but they are legal in most industrialized nations. Until recently, they were banned in Canada.

United States

In the United States, a rectified spirit labeled as Spirytus Stawski is imported from Poland by Stawski Imports of Chicago, Illinois. It contains 96% alcohol (192 proof) and is also available in 76% alcohol (152 proof).

Another popular rectified spirit in the United States is Everclear, bottled by Luxco. Everclear is available in both 95% alcohol (190 proof) and 75.5% (151 proof), although a few states have banned the 190-proof variety.


In Polish, spirytus rektyfikowany means rectified spirit. The Polish product is distilled to slightly above 95% (190 proof). Tourists can buy and drink spirytus in Poland, but it is illegal to export it. Enforcement of the export ban, however, is fairly lax.


In German, rectified spirit is generically called Primasprit (colloquial) or, more technically, Neutralalkohol. It contains 96.5% alcohol (193 proof) and is usually available in apothecaries only (some Russian food stores do sell it as well). In former East Germany, it was available in regular stores.

In Germany, Primasprit is most often used for making homemade liqueurs; other types of use are rare. Most of the Primasprit produced in Germany is made from grain and is therefore a neutral grain spirit.

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