Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, spirits, or simply alcohol) is an organic chemical compound. It is a simple alcohol with the chemical formula C
6O. Its formula can be also written as CH
2−OH or C
5OH (an ethyl group linked to a hydroxyl group), and is often abbreviated as EtOH. Ethanol is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. It is a psychoactive substance, recreational drug, and the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
Ethanol is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration. It has medical applications as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is used as a chemical solvent and in the synthesis of organic compounds. Ethanol is an alternative fuel source.