By definition, aguardientes are strongly alcoholic beverages, obtained by fermentation and later distillation of sugared or sweet musts, vegetable macerations, or mixtures of the two. This is the most generic level; by this definition aguardientes may be made from a number of different sources. Fruit-based aguardientes include those made from oranges, grapes, bananas, or madronho. Grain-based ones may be made from millet, barley, or rice and tuber-based aguardientes from beet, manioc, or potato, and finally what are classed as "true" aguardientes from sugarcane and other sweet canes including some species of bamboo. Under this definition, many other distinct liquors could be called aguardientes, including Vodka, Sake, Pisco, and certain forms of hard Chicha.
Variations of it are made in Portugal, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Galicia (Spain), Mexico and Portugal.