Spirits are usually between 35%-45% alcohol but there are also spirits available with over 90% ABV. These are known as recitified spirits or neutral spirits. One of the best known of this is Polish liquor Spirytus Rektyfikowan which is a vodka containing 95% ABV. The drink has been thrust to the forefront of alcohol related deaths after an 18 year old girl died in Perth, Australia from consuming a few shots of the Polish liquor.

Rectified spirits

The purity of rectified spirit has a practical limit of 95.6% ABV when produced using conventional distillation processes, because a mixture of ethanol and water becomes an azeotrope at this concentration. They can be produced from grain, grapes, sugar beets, sugarcane, or other fermented plant material. In particular, large quantities of neutral alcohol are distilled from wine.

Neutral spirits are used in the production of blended whiskey, cut brandy, some liqueurs, and some bitters. As a consumer product, it is almost always mixed with other beverages to create such drinks as punch, or is sometimes added to cocktails in place of vodka or rum and is used in Jello shots.

In Polish, spirytus rektyfikowany means rectified spirit.

Following news of the girl’s death Amazon announced they would halted sales of the 95%-alcohol vodka. However, according to a prove by UK’s Mirror, absinthe at 89.9% is still being sold on the platform. They also found a 75.5% strength Bacardi 151 rum which can be bought for  about £80 (11303.08 Kenya shillings) through

In 2005 Mark Shields of Prudhoe, Northumberland, after downing three pints of lager, five double whiskies and three double shots of Aftershock liqueur in less than 40 minutes.

Closely home, there have been several incidents involving illicit brew that contain high concentrations of alcohol. Many Kenyans have lost their lives and majority of them their eyesight after consuming these drinks.

The question remains as to what can be done to prevent such deaths.