Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest If you love hanging out by the bar and watching bartenders create your favorite drinks, you’ll often hear them throw around some interesting yet foreign phrases. We’ve gathered some terms that will guide you in understanding some bartending language. So, next time you sit by the bar and chat up your bartender you can throw around these words with a smile: “Hey, easy on the shake, I don’t want a ‘bruised’ drink.” ABV – It stands for alcohol by volume or the measure of alcohol in the solution. ABV equals 1/2 of the spirit’s proof. Bar Spoon – A long mixing spoon that comes in different style depending on drink preparation. Some have a flared end, ideal for stirring and layering drinks, the Trident is used for grabbing olives, cherries or other garnishes, and a Muddler bar spoon has a hammer or disk placed on the end to mash –or muddle– fruits, herbs, and spices at the bottom of a glass. Bitters – Herbal alcoholic blend used to enhance flavor profile of a cocktail (e.g a Manhattan is rye, sweet vermouth, and a couple dashes of bitters). One of the most popular brand for bitters is Angostura Bitters. It was first invented by a German physician for stomach maladies in 1824. Box – It means pour into and out of a shaker, usually only once. It mixes the drink quickly without shaking. Bruised – It is when a cocktail has been over shaken and thus has more water than normal. Build – To build a drink is a process where the bartender adds ice to a glass and then follows it with the spirit and mixers. Cask Strength – It is a term often used with whisky. It describes the level of alcohol-by-volume used for a whisky during its storage in a cask. The spirit in the cask is much stronger, typically in the range of 60 to 65 percent ABC. During maturation, water is added in the process to bring the alcohol down to 40 percent. Some distillers sell cask strength bottles in small batches. Dash – It means a few drops or a small amount of an ingredient for the drink. Dirty – A term used when making a martini, it means adding olive juice to a martini which makes it a Dirty Martini. Adding more olive juice makes a dirtier martini. Double Strain – Straining the liquid out with a hawthorne strainer on the lid of the shaker and an additional fine strainer while pouring the drink to make sure that there will be no leftover pieces of herbs, spices, or other ingredient particles transferred into the finished drink. It gives the drink a smooth finish. Dram – It means a “wee bit” or small portion of whisky or other spirits. Dry – A term used for a martini. It means a small amount of vermouth is added to a martini. An “extra dry” martini is made by washing the glass with a small amount of whisky before adding the gin. Finish – The term is used when tasting wine or whisky. After tasting and swallowing, the finish is the aftertaste that you can taste on your tongue. Flame – While making a cocktail, flame means setting a drink on fire. Flamed Zest – It is when the bartender ignites a flame using the aromatic oils found in the rind of citrus fruit. You can gently squeeze the zest to release the oils over a flame. Float – Usually done for shots. It is when one alcohol sits on top of another alcohol in a shooter glass Free pour – Bartenders use this style of pouring liquids without using a jigger or measuring cups. They measure by counting seconds. Garnish – It’s what’s added on top of the drink, or on the side of the glass to showcase the ingredients used or enhance the cocktail presentation. Infuse – It is used when flavoring spirits. It is the process of absorbing a flavor from spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients into a spirit or alcohol. Jigger –The jigger is the mark of precision and care in crafting cocktails. It is an hourglass-shaped cup used to measure liquid ingredients. It comes in different styles and colors–copper, gold, and the more common stainless steel. The most common measurement has a side that measures 1 ounce (30ml) and the other measures 1½ ounces (45ml). Lace – It applies to the last ingredient in a recipe mix, meaning to pour onto the top of the drink. Layer – The process of adding one alcohol on top of the other where the heavier alcohol goes on the bottom and the next, lighter alcohol floats to the top using a careful pour down the side of the glass or a pour over an inverted spoon. Legs – This term is used when tasting wine in a glass. The French call it “tears.” It is the lines that stream down the side of the glass after you swirl the wine. The way the legs fall sometimes has to do with the level of alcohol in the wine or sugar in wine. Long – It is a drink served in a tall glass. Mash – It is a distilling term used for the combination of all the grain (malted barley, rye, wheat, etc) with water and heating this mixture. Mixer – These are the non-alcoholic liquid ingredients that can be added to the alcohol in drinks. A mixer can be water, soda, juice, or energy drinks (i.e. in the drink Rum & Coke, the mixer is Coke). Muddle – To crush or grind up ingredients with a tool called a muddler. A muddler comes in different styles. Some resemble a pestle. Nose – The aroma, or the bouquet, of the wine or whisky. Peaty – Peatiness is the smoky quality of a whisky. Peat is an organic decayed plant matter found in marshy places like Scotland. Smoking the peat adds a distinct earthy and smoky flavor to the whisky. In Scotland, Islay whiskies have this distinct flavor in their Scotch. Perfect – Usually used when speaking about martinis and manhattans. It means combining equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth in a drink. “A perfect martini or manhattan will divide whatever amount of vermouth is called for into two equal parts.” Pony – No. not pertaining to a horse. It is a slang word for 1 fluid ounce (30 ml). Proof – It means the measurement of strength in spirits. The proof of a spirit is measured by doubling the ABV. (e.g. A spirit with 44 percent ABV is an 88-proof spirit. Rim – To rim a glass, first wet the rim with a lime, or the lime juice in a rimmer, then gently press the rim of the glass into a saucer of salt. Rinse – It means to wash the inside of a glass with a small amount of alcohol or liquid. Like the process in making an “extra dry” martini. Roll – It is another method for mixing a drink. Instead of shaking or stirring, you build the drink in the mixing glass by gently pouring it into a shaker back and fort to mix things together. Short – It means serving a drink in a short, rocks glass. Shot – No bullet involved. 1.5 fluid ounces (44 ml) Shrub – Spirits, fruit juices, and sugar, aged in a sealed container such as a cask or crock, then usually bottled. Sling – A cocktail without bitters, so it’s just sugar, water, and spirits. Sweeter, generally. Stirred – A drink that is stirred, not shaken, and then strained. Strain – To drain the liquid out of a shaker. Tannins – Tannins are astringent biomolecules found in grape skins that produce a bitter effect, that gives wine its dry flavor. Tot – A small amount of liquor. Twist – Rind of the citrus used as a garnish made by a channeling knife or a citrus peel twisted over the drink, to express the oils, and then dropped in. Wet – Used to describe a martini with an extra mixer or extra vermouth.