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Alcohol – A colorless, flammable liquid obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches.

Anise – Fragrant plant that causes the special taste of Pastis (star anise) and the anisettes (green anise).

Anisette – Anise liqueur with 250 grams of sugar per liter. Commonly consumed in the Mediterranean countries and know as Sambuca in Italy. In France the anisette of Bordeaux (Marie Brizard) is the oldest.

Aperitif – A refreshing drink typically served before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Aquavit – Alcoholic beverage from grain or potato’s, distilled in northern Europe.


Back – A non-alcoholic drink such as water or a soft drink served in a separate glass alongside an alcoholic drink.

Bitter – This family of spirits of in alcohol soaked fruit with a more or less bitter taste, consists of many members. Some are suited as aperitif, like Picon, Punt e mes (alcohol free), while other, stronger bitters are added in smaller quantities, like fernet-branca and angostura.

Bitters – Bitters are a cocktail flavoring made from herbs, bark, flowers, seeds, roots, and/or plants steeped in or distilled with spirits. Bitters come in many different flavors and can be made with many combinations of ingredients. For example you may have peach, cherry or orange bitters. The most popular bitters used in drinks are angostura bitters or Peychaud’s bitters.

Blend – Use a blender to mix a cocktail.

Box – Pour into and out of a shaker, usually only once. Gives the drink a quick mixing without shaking.

Boston (standard) shaker – Large glass and a metal tumbler which is a little bigger. Put together and shaken to mix ingredients, ice makes a seal. Chills and mixes ingredients. Most common shaker.

Build – To pour ingredients directly into the serving glass.


Call drink – To request a brand name liquor when ordering a drink.

Champagne flute – Long narrow glass, the shape of which keeps drinks bubbling with fizz as long as possible.

Chilling glasses – Putting glasses in the freezer to cool and chill drinks. Used best with Straight Up drinks.

Cocktail – Any of various alcoholic beverages consisting usually of brandy, whiskey, vodka, or gin combined with fruit juices or other liquors and often served chilled.

Cassis – Crème of liqueur made of black berries.

Condiment – Item used to add to the drink. Can be anything from Bitters and Sugar Syrup to Tabasco, horseradish and Grenadine.

Cooler – A drink consisting of ginger ale, soda water, and a fresh spiral or twist of citrus fruit rind, served in a collins or highball glass.

Cordial or Liqueur – Sweet distilled spirits with a base liquor, sugar and a variety of fruits, herbs and spices for flavor that varies greatly by type or brand.

Crème – Liqueur which contains more than 400 grams of alcohol per liter.


Dash – The smallest bar measurement.

Digestif – A drink served after dinner to complete a meal.

Dirty – Martini served with an olive and a little brine in the mix.

Double strained – Put through a cocktail strainer, and then a finer strainer to get all the pieces and serve a cocktail.

Dry – Sometimes people like their martinis “dry.” What does this mean? Well, martinis are made with some dry vermouth in them. Counterintuitively, a “dry” martini has less dry vermouth in it than a normal martini. I hate to break it to people who think a “dry martini” means you just show the vermouth the glass and then put it away, but what you are drinking there is just really cold gin. It’s not a cocktail if you’re not mixing anything, so use that vermouth even if it’s just a small amount.


Fizz – a long drink with lemon juice and often Gin.

Flag – When someone has had too much to drink. Also a garnish.

Flaming zest – Taking a piece of citrus peel, usually orange, and squeezing the oils then igniting them over the drink. The peel is then wiped around the rim of the glass before dropping it in.

Flip – Cocktail made with egg, in a shaker.

Float – To carefully pour a small amount of liquid over the back of a spoon to balance as the top layer of a drink.

Frosted glasses – Glasses kept in the freezer. See Chilled Glasses.


Grand Marnier – Liqueur made of orange skin and cognac. For cocktails the Cordon Rouge is most commonly used.

Gomme – Sugar syrup. Usually added to drinks for extra sweetness and, perhaps more importantly, a little more body. It is also easily made at home.


Highball – Any spirit served with ice and soda water in a medium to tall glass (often a highball glass).

Highball (Collins) glass – tall glass that holds 8-12 fluid oz. used for cocktails or other mixed drinks


Infusion – Spirits with a special ingredient mixed in over days, weeks, months, etc. (ie. vanilla in vodka)

Izarra – Liqueur from Basque based on Armagnac, herbs and plants; de green version (48%) is much stronger than the yellow (40%).


Kahlua – Liqueur of coffee beans, originally from Mexico, with an alcohol percentage of 26%.

Kibowi – Exotic liqueur of Kiwi; green colored

Kummel – a colorless liqueur with anise like taste, flavored with caraway seed, cumin, and fennel


Layered – Heaviest liquors poured in first, and other liquors poured over it (usually using the back of a spoon).

Liquor or Distilled spirit – A beverage distilled from alcohol.

Lowball – A short drink made of spirits served with ice, water or soda in a small glass (Lowball glass).


Malibu – a soft, colorless, liqueur with rum, mixed with coconut and lime.

Measure (Jigger) – Item used to measure when mixing. Best used instead of guessing. Also, a shot glass used for pouring about an ounce and a half.

Mist – Pour a drink over crushed ice.

Mixed drink – A drink that combines one or more alcoholic beverages.

Mixer – Any non-alcoholic beverage used as an ingredient in a cocktail.

Mixologist – A person who s skilled at mixing cocktails and other drinks.

Muddled – Drink served with mashed fruit.

Muddler – A muddler is a large stick designed used for a common bartending technique known as muddling, or the mashing of ingredients in the bottom of a glass.


Naked – Ice cold martini rinsed or sprayed with vermouth. Filled with gin or vodka straight from the freezer. Not shaken or stirred.

Neat – Served at room temperature with no ice.

Nip – Little more than a Jigger.


Old fashioned – Low and wide glass, mostly used for whiskey. Also the name of a sort of cocktail of whisky with a few drops of angostura.

On the rocks – Refers to a drink served over ice.


Pony – One ounce.


Rim – Running citrus peel around the rim of glass. Adding sugar or salt (by dipping glass into sugar/salt) is optional.

Roll – Ingredients are poured from one glass into another and back again to mix.


Schnapps – Spirit made of grain or potato’s. Most popular in middle and northern european countries.

Served Long – Long or Tall drink over 4 fl oz. and served in a highball glass.

Shake – Add ice, then ingredients & shake in cocktail shaker.

Short – A cocktail prepared with just a little mixer in a short glass.

Shot glass – Small and with a heavy bottom, usually used with vodka or tequila.

Simple syrup – Heavy sugar water.

Spirits – Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors.

Soda – Carbonated, slightly mineralized, water.

Splash – More than a dash, less than an ounce.

Stirred – Add mix together with ice and stir until properly mixed.

Straight up – Shaken or stirred then strained into a cocktail glass with no ice.

Strainer – Wire gadget with a spring around it that fits over the top of your mixing container so you can strain ice or pulp when pouring into a serving glass.


Tabasco – Spicy American sauce, made form in vinegar soaked red spanish peppers and other herbs.

Tonic – Carbonized drink aromatized with fruit and plant extracts, like the quina.

Triple-sec – Sweet, soft liqueur, perfumed with oranges. Curaçao, Cointreau, and Grand marnier belong to the family of the triple-sec’s.

Twist – Citrus peel piece used as a garnish on rim of glass.


Wheel – Citrus spiral used to add color, texture, and variety to drinks.

Williams – A type of pear, which is used in the wonderful tasting Poire Williams brandy.

Worcester sauce – A powerful emulsion of extracts of meat, molasses, anchovies, garlic and spring onions. Used to enhance the taste in many cocktails.custom writing