20 Must Know Mixology Terms

bartenderI thought I would post 20 must know mixology/bartender terms.

Brandy – by definition is any spirit made from distilled grape wine.   Brandy is made all over the world, the most famous coming from the Cognac Region of France.  Brandies are also made from other fruits such as apples or cherries. 75% of Brandy sold in the US comes from California, while 75% is consumed in Wisconsin.

Build – To pour ingredients directly into the serving glass on top of the previous ingredient. When Building you usually want to add the ingredients in the order they are given in the recipe.

Call Drink – A liquor and mixer, of which the liquor is a defined brand. (ie. Tanqueray and Tonic, Bacardi and Coke)

Chaser – a mild drink, such as beer, taken after a hard liquor

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.

Collins – A drink akin to a sour which is served in a tall glass with soda water or seltzer water.

Grenadine – a thick, red syrup used in cocktails, traditionally made from pomegranate juice

Gin – A spirit made from grain and flavored with a mixture of botanicals and juniper berries. It is the berries that give gin its distinctive aroma. Although first made in Holland, Gin was popularized by the English.

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

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

Muddle – To muddle is to combine ingredients, usually in the bottom of a mixing glass, by pressing them with a muddler before adding the majority of the liquid ingredients.

Muddler – Small wooden pestle shaped like a baseball bat. One end is large and rounded and it used to mash the ingredients. While the other end is skinnier and flat and is used to mix ingredients.

Neat – The consumption of a spirit as a straight, unaccompanied shot.

On the Rocks – Serving a drink over ice. Often the term is used when referring to a straight shot of liquor poured in a short glass filled with ice, i.e. “I’ll have a Scotch on the rocks.”

Rum – Once so important that the British Navy gave every sailor a half-pint a day ration, Rum is made of fermented sugar cane or molasses (also from sugar cane).

Shooter – A straight shot of whiskey or other kind of spirit taken neat.

Tequila – made from the fermented juice of the agave plant, is the national drink of Mexico. It is double distilled and then aged in wood casks.  Just like a fine cognac tequila gets better with aging.

Toddy – A sweetened drink of liquor and hot water, often with spices and served in a tall glass.

Vodka – a clear spirit that is generally made from grain, but can be distilled from other starches such as potatoes, corn and beets. Vodkas are commonly flavored with essences of citrus or other fruits, or spices such as pepper.

Whiskey (Whisky) – Made principally in five countries:
Scotland, Ireland, Canada, The USA, and Japan. These varieties can be extremely varied as they are similar.  A Kentucky Bourbon and a Single Malt Scotch are both whiskey, but very, very different.

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6 Responses to 20 Must Know Mixology Terms

  1. Reading that list made me thirsty!

    – David

  2. admin says:

    Now all I need to add are some recipes like Bull Frog. Tasty…


  3. Bullfrogs! What fond memories I have of bullfrogs!

    – David

  4. kc says:

    So, a drink ‘straight up’ is what? the same as ‘neat’? the same as a ‘shooter’? either, neither or both?

  5. Omar X says:

    Handy info for sure. As a person who seldom drinks, on occasion I have been a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know what a term meant that everyone else was clued in to, such as “neat” or “highball.” As you might guess I tend to be the automatic choice for designated driver, but I demand an unlimited supply of free soft drinks, so fair trade I think. It also means I remember every single embarrassing detail of the evening, which provides a bit of blackmail leverage on occasion.

    Please keep them coming.

  6. I just enroll myself into a bartending school in Las Vegas and I get to attend some interesting bartending courses and classes with them. I’ve learned a lot and there are some funny and interesting bartending terms. In bartending world, there are some common bartending terminologies and it is quite difficult for a newbie like me to learn it all in a short time. I tried to do my research on it online and my research progress brought me to your website. There’s still a lot to learn before I could be an aspiring bartender. Please post more information like this one. I am very thankful for this and I will continue to keep an eye on your website. Thank you so much.

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