Is Chemistry Cat correct? Is alcohol indeed the solution? I know a lot more about cats than about chemistry, so I invited an expert, Dr. Rubidium, a real live chemistry professor with a PhD and everything, to explain:
A solution is a homogeneous mixture – a mixture that looks (to the naked eye) the same throughout. Throw a bit of salt in water, and voila! Homogeneous mixture. A solution (homogeneous mixture) doesn’t have to be a liquid! Air is a solution, i.e. a homogeneous mixture of gases.
For any solution, the chemical present in the largest amount is the solvent and all the other chemicals present are solutes.
Drinking alcohol (ethanol) is a not a mixture, but a pure substance that happens to be a liquid at room temperature and typical atmospheric pressure (your house).
So, pure ethanol is not a solution, but all hard spirits are solutions. Depending on their proof (amount of ethanol), either ethanol or water will be the solvent.
Laphroaig single-malt scotch, however, is a solution. It’s about 43% ethanol, the rest is mostly water. Because water is present in the highest amount, water is the solvent and ethanol is the solute.
Two things should be abundantly clear by now: a nice scotch (or gin or bourbon) is the solution, and you should be following @DrRubidium on twitter.