Ethanol is chemically expressed as C2H5OH. Also referred to as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol or alcohol, it is a colorless liquid with distinct taste and odor.
Ethanol has many uses. It is used medicinally in drugs, as a biological specimen preservative and as a disinfectant. As a solvent, ethanol is a common ingredient for perfumes and varnishes. As the specialized automobile fuel E85, the mixture is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Ethanol also serves as the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages, including wines, beers and spirits. The process of sugar or starch fermentation produces an ethanol concentration of about 10 percent, or 20 proof, in alcoholic drinks.