Distilled alcoholic spirits, as distinguished from wine, beer, and other less potent alcoholic beverages. Most popular varieties of hard liquor, such as whiskey, vodka, and rum, average around 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume -- though overproof varieties also exist.

Many people think that hard liquor is more intoxicating than beer or wine, but in fact there's about the same amount of ethanol in a shot of 80-proof liquor as in a glass of wine or in an average beer.