Cocktail Glossary

Embark on a flavorful journey through the art and science of cocktails with our comprehensive A-Z glossary. Whether you're a curious novice eager to explore the basics or a seasoned enthusiast looking to deepen your appreciation, this guide is your ultimate companion in the world of mixology.

Each term in this glossary has been carefully selected to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the cocktail craft. We've given each term a succinct short description which is easily understood before a more deep dive into the term to help expand the knowledge.

Use our live search to instantly filter any of the terms. Enjoy enhancing and growing your cocktail knowledge and repertoire.

A a


A beverage served before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

An aperitif is a drink, typically an alcoholic beverage, served before a meal with the intention of stimulating the appetite. Common choices include dry vermouth, champagne, and other light, refreshing drinks. The concept originates from European dining traditions, and aperitifs are often enjoyed as a way to prepare the palate for the flavors of the meal to come.
Absinthe Rinse

A technique used to infuse glassware with a hint of absinthe's flavor before serving a cocktail.

An Absinthe Rinse involves pouring a small amount of absinthe into a glass, swirling it around to coat the interior surface, and then discarding the excess. This process leaves a subtle layer of absinthe on the glass, imparting its distinct anise and herbal flavors to the cocktail that is subsequently served in the glass. Often used in cocktails like the Sazerac, this technique enhances the drink without overpowering it with absinthe's strong flavor.

B b


A non-alcoholic drink served alongside a shot or cocktail.

In bartending, a 'Back' refers to a small non-alcoholic beverage that is served alongside a shot or a cocktail. The purpose of a back is to cleanse the palate, enhance the overall drinking experience, or simply to provide a sip of something non-alcoholic in between drinks. Common examples include water, soda, or juice.

Concentrated botanical extracts used to add depth and complexity to cocktails.

Bitters are a diverse group of alcohol-based preparations flavored with botanical matter such that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor. Typically used in drops or dashes, they serve as a flavoring agent adding depth, complexity, and balance to cocktails, enhancing the overall flavor profile without overpowering the drink. Originating as medicinal tinctures, bitters have become an indispensable tool in the art of mixology, with numerous varieties available ranging from the classic Angostura bitters to more contemporary and specialized flavors.

A bartending technique of creating a cocktail by adding ingredients directly to the serving glass.

Building a cocktail refers to the bartending method where ingredients are added one after the other directly into the glass in which the cocktail will be served. This technique is commonly used for simpler drinks that do not require the vigorous integration or chilling that shaking or stirring provides. Ingredients are typically added in a specific order, often starting with ice, followed by the main liquor, and then mixers or modifiers. Building is often used for layered drinks or when the desired outcome is a gently mixed cocktail, preserving the distinct layers or flavors of the ingredients.
Blind Shake

A cocktail mixing technique without ice to blend flavors intensely.

The 'Blind Shake' is a bartending technique where ingredients for a cocktail are shaken without ice, often as a preliminary step before the main shake with ice. This method is particularly used for cocktails that include egg whites or cream, as it helps to emulsify these ingredients thoroughly, creating a smoother, richer texture before dilution and chilling are introduced with the addition of ice. The technique is also known as a 'dry shake.'
Boston Shaker

A two-piece cocktail mixing tool consisting of a metal tin and a glass or second, slightly smaller, metal tin.

The Boston Shaker is a fundamental tool in mixology, comprising two components that fit into each other to create a tight seal. One part is a larger metal tin (or sometimes a tempered glass), and the other is a smaller metal tin. To use, a mixologist combines ingredients in one half, seals them together by tapping the ends, and then shakes vigorously to mix and chill the cocktail. It's preferred for its durability and simplicity, making it a staple in both professional and home bars.

C c


A beverage consumed after a shot of alcohol to mitigate its strong taste.

A chaser is a drink that is consumed immediately after taking a shot of a strong or straight spirit, with the purpose of either cleansing the palate, mitigating the harsh taste of the liquor, or diluting its effects. Chasers can range from simple water or soda to more flavorful options like juice, soft drinks, or even a beer, depending on personal preference and the type of alcohol consumed.
Craft Cocktail

A high-quality, artisanal drink made with top-notch ingredients and precise techniques.

A craft cocktail represents a pinnacle of mixology, where each drink is meticulously designed and the ingredients used are of the highest quality. These cocktails are distinguished by their unique combinations, artisanal spirits, fresh garnishes, and often, a creative presentation. Attention to detail, from the sourcing of ingredients to the precision in mixing, is paramount. Bartenders crafting these beverages usually possess deep knowledge and skills, ensuring each creation is not just a drink, but an experience to be savored.

A vital visual attribute of a cocktail, signifying purity and quality.

In the context of mixology, clarity refers to the transparency and absence of cloudiness in a cocktail, making it visually appealing. It is especially crucial in cocktails that are meant to be clear or lightly colored, as it signifies the skillful combination of ingredients and proper technique. Achieving clarity can involve techniques such as careful straining to remove solid particles, using clarified juices, or the precise control of dilution. High clarity in a drink is often associated with purity, quality, and a refined drinking experience.

A refreshing, fruit-laden cocktail often served with crushed ice and a straw.

A Cobbler is a classic type of cocktail that dates back to the 19th century, characterized by its simple yet elegant composition of a spirit, sugar, and fresh fruit, usually served in a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Cobblers are often garnished with fruit or berries and served with a straw, providing a refreshing and flavorful drinking experience. The most traditional versions include the Sherry Cobbler, made with sherry wine, but the format can be adapted to use a variety of spirits.
Cocktail Fork

A petite fork designed for spearing and eating cocktail garnishes and small seafood items.

A Cocktail Fork is a small, slender fork typically used in formal and informal settings where cocktails and small appetizers or seafood, such as olives, cherries, shrimp, or oysters are served. Its design, usually featuring two or three tines, enables guests to easily spear and consume small items without the need for larger, more cumbersome utensils. Cocktail forks are essential tools in bars, restaurants, and at cocktail parties, facilitating the elegant consumption of garnishes and enhancing the overall cocktail experience.

D d


A tiny but potent addition to cocktails, usually of bitters or syrups.

A 'dash' refers to a small, often imprecise, measure of an ingredient added to a cocktail. It is typically used for potent or flavorful components such as bitters, syrups, or liqueurs that can significantly influence the taste and character of a drink even in minor quantities. Unlike more precise measurements like an ounce or milliliter, a dash is generally understood to be the amount dispensed by a single quick press or shake of a bottle fitted with a dasher top, making it less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.

Denotes a cocktail with minimal to no sweetness, often highlighting the spirit's characteristics.

In the context of cocktails and mixology, 'dry' refers to a quality of a drink where there is a lack of sweetness. This characteristic can stem from either the minimal use of sweetening agents or the omission of such ingredients altogether. Dry cocktails tend to focus more on the herbal, floral, or pure flavors of the base spirits and other non-sweet components, offering a crisper and more subtle taste profile. A classic example of a dry beverage is the dry martini, which is renowned for its crisp, clean flavor with little to no sweetness, allowing the botanicals of the gin or the character of the vodka to shine through.

A cocktail serving size containing twice the alcohol of a standard drink.

In cocktail parlance, a 'Double' refers to a drink that contains twice the amount of alcohol compared to a standard single serving. While the standard single serving of spirits is typically 1.5 ounces in the United States, a double would therefore contain 3 ounces. This term is crucial in bartending and mixology, allowing patrons to request a stronger beverage without specifying the exact measurement of alcohol desired.

A mixology technique involving the addition of olive brine to a cocktail.

In the world of cocktails, the term 'Dirty' refers to a preparation style where olive brine (or olive juice) is added to a cocktail, most commonly used in the preparation of a Dirty Martini. This technique imparts a salty, savory flavor to the drink, and the amount of brine added can be adjusted according to taste preference, ranging from slightly 'dirty' to very 'dirty' depending on the desired level of saltiness and olive flavor.
Dry Shake

A technique used to emulsify ingredients without ice.

Dry Shake refers to the process of vigorously shaking a cocktail mix in a shaker without ice, usually as a preliminary step before adding ice for a second shake. This technique is often employed to emulsify egg whites or other frothy ingredients, enhancing the cocktail's texture and creating a smoother, airier foam on top of the drink.

A post-meal drink to aid in digestion.

A Digestif is a type of alcoholic beverage served after a meal, intended to aid in digestion. Typically heavier and more complex than aperitifs, digestifs can range from spirits and liqueurs to fortified wines. Common examples include brandy, port, whiskey, and herbal liqueurs such as amaro and chartreuse. Their consumption is rooted in the belief that their herbal qualities or alcohol content can stimulate digestive processes, making them a traditional close to many meals.

A classic, sour family of cocktails, traditionally featuring a spirit, citrus, and a sweetener.

A Daisy is a traditional category of mixed drinks made with a base spirit, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener, often garnished with a seasonal berry or fruit. Originating in the late 19th century, the Daisy family includes variations with different base spirits such as gin, whiskey, or rum, and is considered a precursor to the modern Margarita. It is typically served in a large cocktail glass and is recognized for its balance of tart and sweet flavors.

A small unit of liquid used in measuring spirits or liqueurs.

A dram is a traditional unit of measurement for spirits or alcoholic beverages, particularly whisky. Historically, its quantity varied by region and context, but in modern terms, it is typically used informally to refer to a small serving of spirit, roughly equivalent to a teaspoon (about 5 ml) up to an ounce (about 30 ml). The term is often used colloquially to imply a casual measure, rather than a precise volume, reflecting a cultural or personal gesture of serving spirits.

E e


A technique to release essential oils from citrus peel into a cocktail.

Expressing is a bartending technique used to enhance the aroma and flavor profile of a cocktail by releasing the essential oils from the peel of a citrus fruit, such as lemon, lime, or orange. This is typically done by holding a piece of the peel over the drink and giving it a gentle squeeze or twist, causing the oils to spray over the surface of the drink. It not only adds a vibrant aroma and nuanced flavor but also contributes to the overall presentation of the cocktail.
Egg White Cocktail

A smooth, frothy drink made by shaking egg whites with cocktail ingredients.

An Egg White Cocktail refers to any mixed drink that includes egg whites among its ingredients. The egg whites are vigorously shaken with the rest of the cocktail ingredients, often in a two-step process starting with a 'dry shake' (shaking without ice) to aerate the egg whites, followed by a 'wet shake' (shaking with ice) to chill the mixture. This process emulsifies the cocktail, resulting in a silky texture and a visually appealing frothy top layer. Egg White Cocktails are popular both for their unique mouthfeel and for the aesthetic touch the froth adds to the presentation.

F f


A bartending technique involving layering a small amount of liquid on top of a drink.

In mixology, a 'float' refers to a technique used by bartenders to gently layer a spirit or liqueur over the top of a cocktail. This is achieved by slowly pouring the liquid over the back of a spoon or directly onto the surface of the drink, allowing it to rest delicately on top without mixing into the layers below. Floats are commonly used to add a contrasting flavor, create visual appeal, or adjust the potency of the cocktail.

A light, foamy layer on top of a cocktail, often adding texture and visual appeal.

Froth refers to the light, airy layer of bubbles that forms on the top of a cocktail, resulting from vigorous shaking or blending of ingredients. It enhances both the tactile and visual experience of a drink, often incorporating elements such as egg whites, cream, or carbonated beverages to achieve its texture. Froth adds a creamy mouthfeel and can act as a canvas for garnishes or aromatic bitters, making it an essential technique in mixology for creating visually stunning and complex cocktails.

A technique to add a burst of flavor and aroma by igniting a citrus peel or alcohol.

In mixology, 'flame' refers to the process of briefly igniting a piece of citrus peel or a high-proof alcohol to enhance the aroma and flavor of a cocktail. When a citrus peel is used, oils are expressed and then ignited, creating a small flame that caramelizes the oils before they are introduced to the drink. This not only adds a visually striking element but also a complex layer of flavors. Similarly, flaming a layer of high-proof alcohol on top of a cocktail can add depth and an aromatic charred note. This technique requires skill and caution to execute safely and effectively.

A chilled, frothy cocktail or coffee drink served over crushed ice.

A frappe is a type of drink that is made by blending or shaking a cocktail or coffee with ice until it becomes frothy and chilled. The term originally comes from France meaning 'chilled in ice,' and it typically refers to a drink served over crushed or shaved ice, creating a refreshing and cooling effect. Depending on the region, the composition of a frappe might vary, but it commonly involves blending the chosen beverage with ice (and sometimes milk or sweeteners for coffee frappes) to achieve a slushy consistency.

A refreshing, carbonated cocktail typically featuring gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water.

The 'Fizz' is a classic cocktail genre that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, belonging to the sours family of cocktails. Characterized by its effervescent quality, a Fizz typically includes a spirit base (often gin), lemon or lime juice, sugar, and soda water. This combination not only creates a refreshing and invigorating drink but also showcases the skillful balance of sweetness, acidity, and carbonation achieved by mixologists. The most famous variant is the Gin Fizz, though variations exist that involve different base spirits, sweeteners, and additional flavorings.
Flair Bartending

The art of entertaining guests with the juggling and manipulating of bar tools and bottles while mixing drinks.

Flair Bartending is a skillful and entertaining practice where bartenders perform various tricks, such as juggling bottles, flipping shakers, and catching ingredients, all while preparing cocktails and drinks. It combines the precision of mixology with the showmanship of performance art, aiming to enhance the guest's experience by adding visual spectacle to the craft of cocktail making. Flair Bartending requires extensive practice and dexterity, and is often featured in competitions and showcases around the world.

G g


An embellishment added to cocktails for visual appeal and flavor enhancement.

A garnish refers to an item or items used to enhance the presentation and often the flavor or aroma of a cocktail. These can range from fruit slices, herbs, edible flowers, and olives to sugar rims and specialty items. The choice of garnish is crucial as it can complement and accentuate the flavors in the drink, while also making it more visually appealing. In mixology, the art of garnishing is considered an essential skill, adding both aesthetic value and sensory experience to the cocktail.

H h


A refreshing cocktail of spirit and non-alcoholic mixer, served in a tall glass.

A Highball refers to a family of mixed drinks that are composed of a base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer such as soda water, ginger ale, or fruit juice, served in a tall glass over ice. It is known for its simplicity and refreshing qualities, typically garnished with a slice of lemon or lime, making it a popular choice for social gatherings and casual drinking.

I i


A process of extracting flavors from ingredients into a liquid, enhancing cocktails with depth and complexity.

Infusion refers to the technique used in mixology where fruits, herbs, spices, or other flavorful ingredients are steeped in a liquid, such as alcohol or water, to impart their flavors into the liquid. This method allows the essences of the ingredients to be extracted over time, creating a unique and flavorful base that can be used to craft cocktails with more depth, complexity, and customized taste profiles. The infusion process can vary in duration, from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the desired intensity of flavors.
Ice Sphere

A large, round block of ice used to chill and minimally dilute spirits or cocktails.

An Ice Sphere is a meticulously crafted, large spherical piece of ice that serves a dual purpose in the world of high-end mixology and spirits. Unlike traditional ice cubes, the larger surface area and reduced surface contact with the drink slow down the melting process, resulting in minimal dilution of the drink's flavors and strength. Typically used in spirit-forward cocktails or with fine spirits served neat, an ice sphere ensures a consistently cold, yet slowly evolving drinking experience, preserving the integrity and depth of the beverage.

J j


A bartending tool used for measuring liquid ingredients accurately.

A jigger is a small, hourglass-shaped measuring device used in bartending to accurately measure and pour liquid ingredients into cocktails. Typically made of stainless steel, a jigger has two opposing cones of different volumes, commonly 1.5 ounces on one side and 1 ounce on the other, allowing for precise measurements to ensure the balance and flavor of the cocktail is maintained.
Japanese Mixing Glass

A thick, elegant glass vessel used for stirring cocktails.

A Japanese Mixing Glass, typically known as a 'Yarai' mixing glass, is a staple in the craft cocktail scene, distinguished by its sturdy, often beautifully designed thick glass. It is used primarily for mixing drinks that are stirred, not shaken, such as martinis or Manhattans. The design features a wide base for stability, a spout for easy pouring, and etched lines or patterns not only for aesthetics but also to assist in grip. Their craftsmanship and elegance make them a favorite among professional bartenders and mixology enthusiasts alike, offering both functionality and a touch of sophistication to the cocktail preparation process.

L l


A visually striking method of drink presentation involving distinct layers of ingredients.

In mixology, a 'Layered' cocktail refers to a technique where various ingredients, often liqueurs, creams, or fruit juices, are carefully poured one after the other over the back of a spoon or directly into the glass over an ingredient with a higher density. This method relies on the specific gravity of each component to create a stratification effect, resulting in a visually appealing drink with distinct layers of colors and flavors. Mastery of the layered technique allows bartenders to craft cocktails that are not only a feast for the palate but also for the eyes, providing an elevated drinking experience.

A technique in cocktail making that creates distinct layers of different ingredients.

Layering is a meticulous cocktail crafting technique where ingredients of different densities are gently poured one on top of another to create visually distinct layers within the glass. This method, often employed in making multi-layered shots or cocktails, requires a steady hand and a good understanding of the specific gravity of each liquid to achieve the desired effect. Bartenders typically use the back of a spoon or a special pouring device to slow the flow, allowing each layer to settle softly on top of the previous one without mixing, creating a striking stratified appearance.

M m


A non-alcoholic ingredient added to cocktails to enhance flavor or texture.

In the context of bartending and mixology, a 'Mixer' refers to any non-alcoholic substance that is combined with alcoholic spirits to create cocktails. Mixers can include carbonated sodas, fruit juices, tonic water, and other flavored syrups or creams. Their primary purpose is to complement or contrast the flavors of the alcohol, add complexity to the drink, adjust the drink's strength, or modify its texture, thereby creating a more balanced and enjoyable beverage.

A technique used to gently mash ingredients to release their flavors.

Muddling is a bartending technique that involves pressing ingredients against the side of a glass or cocktail shaker with a muddler - a tool similar to a pestle. This method is commonly used to extract juices, oils, and flavors from fruits, herbs, or spices to incorporate them more effectively into cocktails. The goal is to mash the ingredients gently enough to release their essential oils and flavors without shredding them to bits, ensuring the resulting drink is flavorful without being bitter or overly pulpy.

A non-alcoholic drink crafted with the complexity of a cocktail.

A mocktail is a beverage that mimics the appearance, flavor complexity, and presentation of traditional alcoholic cocktails but is made without any alcohol. Ideal for those seeking the cocktail experience without the effects of alcohol, mocktails often use a mix of fresh juices, herbs, syrups, and carbonated beverages to achieve a balanced and appealing drink suitable for any occasion.

N n


A straight pour of spirit with no mixers, ice, or water.

In bartending, 'neat' refers to a single, unmixed liquor served without any water, ice, or other mixers. It is poured at room temperature directly into a glass, allowing the drinker to experience the spirit's full flavor profile. Serving a spirit neat is often preferred for high-quality, aged spirits such as whiskey, scotch, or brandy, as it allows one to fully appreciate the complexity and nuances of the drink.

A rich, creamy, egg-based holiday beverage often spiked with liquor.

Nog, often referred to as 'Eggnog,' is a traditional holiday drink made from milk or cream, sugar, raw eggs whipped to add froth, and flavored with spices such as nutmeg, and frequently spirits like rum, brandy, or whiskey. While it is particularly popular during the winter holidays, its creamy texture and warming properties have made it a festive favorite, adapted into various modern cocktail variations.

O o

On the Rocks

A drink served over ice cubes.

In bartending, 'On the Rocks' refers to a way of serving a drink where the liquid, such as whisky, scotch, or any other spirit, is poured over ice cubes in a glass. The ice slightly dilutes the drink as it melts, allowing for a smoother taste and a cooler temperature, enhancing the drinking experience.

A sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water.

Orgeat syrup is a key ingredient in various cocktails, most notably the Mai Tai, lending them a sweet, nutty flavor with subtle floral undertones. Derived from almonds, sugar, and either rose water or orange flower water, orgeat adds depth and complexity to drinks, acting as a sweetener and flavor enhancer. While originally from the Mediterranean, its use has spread globally, becoming a staple in bars and among cocktail enthusiasts seeking to add a nuanced sweetness to their creations.

P p


A small measure of liquor in cocktails, typically 1 ounce.

In bartending, a 'Pony' refers to a specific volume measure used for serving or mixing alcoholic beverages, equivalent to 1 fluid ounce (about 30 ml). It's a smaller volume compared to the more commonly used 'jigger' measurement and is often utilized for adding a smaller quantity of a stronger or more potent spirit or ingredient into cocktails, ensuring a balanced flavor profile without overpowering the drink.

A rich, earthy flavor note often found in Scotch whisky.

Peat is a type of organic material that consists of partially decomposed vegetation. In the process of making certain whiskies, especially Scotch, peat is burned to smoke the malt, imparting a distinct smoky, earthy flavor profile that can vary in intensity. This characteristic is highly sought after by whisky enthusiasts who appreciate the depth and complexity it adds to the spirit.

Q q


A bitter compound used to flavor tonic water, essential in creating classic cocktails like the Gin & Tonic.

Quinine is a bitter compound extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree, native to South America. Historically used as a prophylactic against malaria, quinine is now primarily known for its role in the beverage industry, where it gives tonic water its distinctive bitter taste. This flavor profile makes quinine-laced tonic water a key ingredient in several iconic cocktails, including the classic Gin & Tonic, enhancing the drink with a complex, bitter edge that complements the botanicals in gin and other spirits.

R r


Coating the edge of a glass with salt, sugar, or spices.

Rimming refers to the process of applying a coating, such as salt, sugar, or variously flavored spices, to the edge of a cocktail glass. This is commonly done by moistening the rim of the glass with a fruit wedge or a liquid, and then dipping or rolling it in the chosen coating. The purpose is to enhance the flavor and visual appeal of the cocktail.
Rice washing

Rice washing involves rinsing or soaking rice in spirits to remove impurities and impart a silky texture to cocktails.

Rice washing, a technique borrowed from culinary traditions, is making its mark in the realm of mixology by introducing a delicate, starchy layer to cocktails. This method involves either rinsing or soaking rice in spirits, which not only helps in removing impurities but also imparts a smooth, silky texture to the drink. Ideal for refined cocktails, rice washing subtly enhances the mouthfeel and balances the flavor profile, allowing mixologists to craft beverages with a unique twist. As mixologists continue to push the boundaries of creativity, rice washing stands out as a testament to the innovative integration of traditional methods into modern cocktail crafting.

S s


A vigorous mixing method used in cocktail preparation.

Shake refers to the process of putting cocktail ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, then vigorously agitating it. This method not only mixes the ingredients thoroughly but also chills and dilutes the drink to the desired consistency and temperature. Shaking is particularly suited for cocktails with juices, cream, eggs, or other ingredients that require thorough integration.

A gentle mixing technique used in cocktails to combine ingredients smoothly without aerating the mixture.

Stirring is a fundamental bartending technique where a bar spoon is used to gently rotate the mixture of ingredients in a mixing glass. This method is particularly suited for cocktails that are spirit-forward and do not contain citrus or dairy ingredients. The goal of stirring is to chill and dilute the cocktail to the desired taste while maintaining a clear, smooth texture. Unlike shaking, stirring avoids introducing air bubbles into the drink, resulting in a more refined and visually appealing presentation.

The act of separating liquid from solid ingredients in a cocktail.

Straining is a crucial technique in mixology that involves passing a cocktail or mixed drink through a strainer to remove solid particles such as ice shards, fruit pulp, or herbs. This process ensures a smoother, clearer beverage, enhancing the drinking experience. There are several types of strainers used in bartending, including the Hawthorne strainer, fine mesh strainer, and julep strainer, each designed for specific types of cocktails and vessels.

A tangy syrup made from fruit, sugar, and vinegar, used in cocktails.

A Shrub is a cocktail or soft drink ingredient that combines fruit, sugar, and vinegar to create a tangy syrup. Originating from methods to preserve fruit before refrigeration, shrubs add a complex acidity and depth of flavor to beverages. The infusion process melds the sweetness of the sugar, the tartness of the fruit, and the sharp bite of vinegar, resulting in a versatile syrup that can be mixed with various spirits, soda water, or used as a base for non-alcoholic drinks.

A refreshing, spirit-based cocktail typically featuring lemon juice, sugar, water, and a dash of nutmeg.

The Sling is a category of cocktails that dates back to the 18th century, characterized by its simple yet refreshing combination of ingredients. It typically consists of a base spirit, lemon juice, sugar, and water, shaken or stirred together and served over ice. A dash of nutmeg is often added as a garnish, giving the cocktail a distinctive flavor. The most famous variant, the Singapore Sling, has gained worldwide popularity, but the basic Sling remains a classic, versatile template in the world of mixology.

A classic cocktail that combines muddled fruits or herbs with spirits, sweetener, and ice.

A Smash is a family of cocktails that traditionally feature fresh, muddled seasonal fruits or herbs, combined with a spirit, sweetener (such as simple syrup), and ice. The drink is typically shaken or stirred, resulting in a refreshingly flavored cocktail that spotlights the ingredients' natural aromas and tastes. It's a versatile drink category that allows for creativity, making use of available seasonal ingredients to produce a wide array of flavors.

A tart and refreshing category of cocktails featuring a core trio of spirit, sweetener, and citrus.

A Sour refers to a broad family of mixed drinks that are characterized by the harmonious blend of a base liquor, a sweet component such as simple syrup or triple sec, and a sour or citrus element like lemon or lime juice. This balance of sweetness and acidity is foundational to classic cocktails such as the Whiskey Sour, Margarita, and Sidecar. Sours can be customized and varied with additional flavors or spirits but always maintain their signature combination of sour (citrus), sweet, and spirit, making them perennial favorites for their refreshing and vibrant taste.

A method and style of mixing drinks characterized by rapidly rotating a swizzle stick between the palms.

Swizzle refers to both a specific style of cocktail and the method used to mix it, which involves inserting a swizzle stick into a drink and then rapidly spinning it back and forth between the palms. This technique not only mixes the drink but also aerates it, creating a frothy consistency. Traditionally used in Caribbean and tropical drinks, swizzle sticks are often made from the branch of the Quararibea turbinata tree, also known as the 'Swizzle stick tree.' The method is especially popular for crafting refreshingly cool, evenly mixed cocktails.

T t


A concentrated extract used to add complex flavors to cocktails.

A tincture in the context of mixology refers to a highly concentrated alcoholic extract made by soaking herbs, spices, fruits, or botanicals in high-proof alcohol. The process, which involves letting the mixture steep over a period of time, extracts the essential flavors and aromas from the ingredients, resulting in a potent flavoring agent. Tinctures allow bartenders to add nuanced, precise flavors to cocktails in small, controlled doses, enriching the drink's overall complexity without diluting it.

A citrus peel garnish that adds aromatic oils and flair to cocktails.

In mixology, a 'Twist' refers to a thin piece of citrus peel, often lemon, lime, or orange, used as a garnish in cocktails. The peel is twisted over the drink to spray its essential oils onto the surface, adding a subtle aroma and flavor. This decorative element not only enhances the cocktail's presentation but also provides a sensory experience, engaging both the sense of smell and taste.

A vibrant and exotic style of cocktail that embodies tropical escapism.

Tiki refers to a style of mixology and bar culture that originated in the mid-20th century, inspired by the South Pacific and its imagery, flavors, and mythology. These cocktails are characterized by their creative use of rum, tropical fruits, spices, and elaborate garnishes, served in distinctive mugs or glasses often shaped like totems or tropical figures. The Tiki culture emphasizes an immersive experience, combining these unique and often potent drinks with a thematic decor that includes tiki torches, bamboo, and Polynesian art, creating a whimsical and escapist atmosphere in bars and parties dedicated to this theme.

A warming, sweetened classic cocktail traditionally made with spirits, water, sugar, and spices.

The Toddy is a traditional mixed drink that has been a staple of mixology for centuries, often associated with colder seasons due to its warming qualities. It generally involves a base spirit, which can be whiskey, rum, or brandy, diluted with hot water and sweetened with sugar or honey. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg, and sometimes citrus elements like lemon or orange slices, are added to enhance the flavor. The Toddy can be served hot, making it a popular choice for soothing warmth during the winter months, or cold, offering a refreshing twist on the classic recipe.

A final ingredient added to garnish or complete a cocktail.

In mixology, a 'Topper' refers to any ingredient, typically a small amount of a distinctive element, that is added last to a cocktail. This could be a splash of soda, a float of a spirit, or a decorative garnish. The purpose of a topper is to either complement the flavors within the drink, add a contrasting note, or enhance the drink's appearance, making it visually appealing and inviting.

V v


A non-alcoholic version of a cocktail.

In the context of mixology, 'Virgin' refers to a cocktail that has been adapted to remove all alcoholic components while maintaining the flavor and essence of the original drink. These are also commonly known as mocktails. Virgin cocktails are designed to provide inclusive options for those abstaining from alcohol, allowing everyone to enjoy the social and flavorful aspects of cocktail culture without the intoxicating effects.

W w

Well Drink

A basic mixed drink made with the most affordable spirits available behind the bar.

A 'Well Drink' refers to a cocktail or mixed drink that is made with the least expensive brands of alcohol that a bar stocks. These liquors are typically stored within easy reach of the bartender in the 'speed well,' hence the name 'well drink.' Well drinks are often the base for common cocktails offered at a reduced price during happy hour or promotions, making them a popular choice among patrons seeking a budget-friendly option.

The liquid base that remains after fermenting ingredients for distillation.

In the context of cocktail-making and mixology, 'wash' refers to the liquid substance that results from the fermentation of sugars by yeasts in the initial stage of alcohol production. This liquid, which contains alcohol, is then often distilled to increase its alcohol content. The term is particularly prevalent in the making of spirits such as whiskey, where the wash is created from a mixture of water, yeast, and grain. The quality and flavor of the wash play a crucial role in defining the character of the final distilled spirit.

Y y


The amount of cocktail a recipe produces.

In bartending and mixology, 'Yield' refers to the total volume or number of servings a particular cocktail recipe is expected to produce. It is an essential factor for both home cocktail enthusiasts and professional bartenders to assess the ingredients needed and the number of servings that can be made from a recipe, ensuring consistency and effective resource management.

Z z


The colorful outer skin of citrus fruit, used as a flavorful cocktail garnish or ingredient.

Zest refers to the outer layer of the skin of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, which is rich in oils and aromatic compounds. When finely grated or peeled into thin strips and added to cocktails, zest imparts a vibrant, tangy flavor and aroma, enhancing the overall sensory experience of the drink. It can be used as a garnish on the rim of a glass or as a key ingredient in mixed drinks and syrups. The art of using zest highlights the importance of precision and creativity in mixology, balancing the cocktail's flavor profile.