Spirits (from the Latin spiritus), also colloquially known as hard liquors or schnapps, are strong alcoholic drinks produced by distilling fermented alcohols such as wine. In the past they were commonly referred to as wine spirits, a term that is still used in several laws today.
The base ingredient for spirits is produced either by fermenting grain or fruit solutions containing sugars (mash), or by infusing alcohol with berries and fruits (maceration). Afterwards, this fermented solution is then distilled one or more times. The distillate is then sometimes aged in oak barrels (brandy, apple brandy) which also give the spirits their slightly brownish color. Finally, the alcohol content is generally diluted to a drinking strength by adding water (www.grander.com).