Bartending lingo: Learn the language of booze

By: Staff Writer
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Alcohol is one of the oldest and most prized beverages. In the world of beer, wine and cocktails, there's a whole language that a professional bartender must know, pertaining to drinks, ingredients and tools of the trade. Do you speak the language of booze, or is your bartending lingo limited to the three words: "Shaken, not stirred"?

What is the name of the little glass of something that accompanies a drink?

The little glass of non-alcoholic something something that sits beside your drink is called a back. For instance, you may order "scotch with a soda back."

What is it called when a customer orders a specific brand of liquor to be combined with a specific brand of mixer?

The call drink is the term for an order placed specifically, naming the liquor and the mixer. For instance, "I'll take a Bacardi and Diet Coke."

What is it called when a recipe requires only a small amount of something?

Adding a little dash of something means that it's just a bit of that ingredient. For instance, you could order a martini with a dash of cranberry. However, that's not advised.

What is the verb used for setting a drink on fire?

To flame a drink is to set it on fire, common with Sambucca and 151-proof rum. It's highly advised that you not try this at home.

What's the name of the items added after the drink is prepared, to enhance the presentation?

Garnish is added after the fact for visual presentation, such as a lemon wedge, cherry or umbrella. You can eat the garnish if you're hungry, but stay away from the umbrella.

When you mix liquor with soda and put it in a tall glass, what is it called?

A highball is liquor + soda + tall glass. The tall glass itself is referred to as a highball.

What is the hourglass-shaped tool that allows you to measure a certain number of ounces on one side, and a different number on the other side?

The jigger is a simple little tool for measuring a normal 1-ounce or 1.5-ounce pour. That being said, jiggers come in different sizes.

What is the verb for crushing up various ingredients to put in a drink?

When you muddle ingredients for a cocktail, you use a tool called a muddler, and this releases the essential oils from the ingredients. For instance, for a Mojito, you will muddle mint leaves. Yum.

What do you call a one-ounce shot of somethin' somethin'?

A pony is a dainty one-ounce shot of something. Most people will have a pony, and then they'll crave a whole horse.

What's the verb for wetting the top of a glass, then applying salt or sugar?

When you rim a glass, you first wet it with water or lemon/lime juice, then you dip the rim into salt or sugar, depending on the cocktail. Margaritas and Bloody Marys are generally rimmed with salt.

What is the name of the cocktail that mixes wine, fruit, and often triple sec?

Sangria always involves wine, juice and fruit, and often it includes triple sec as well. There are tons of variations of this recipe, and either red or white wine can be used.

What is the name of a drink order that's the opposite of a call drink, ie., no brands specified for liquor or mixer?

Well drinks are ordered in haste and do not contain specifics. For instance, when someone orders a "gin and tonic" or a "vodka and soda."

What is the name of the large mixing tool that often has a lemon zester on the other end?

Bar spoons are quite long and are used to mix drinks. They're long so that they can dip down deep into a shaker.

What's the name of the thing you drink after a shot to lessen the burn or mask its taste?

A chaser is something that accompanies a shot of hard liquor. It can help to diminish the strength and is often taken quite quickly after the initial shooter.

What do you call an extra dry martini that has olive juice in it?

A dirty martini has olive juice in it, straight from the jar. The more olive juice there is, the dirtier the martini.

What is it called when one alcohol sits atop another alcohol in a glass?

When one alcohol is heavier than another it will float atop the other one. You can create a floater that has three or more different kinds of alcohol as well.

What is the name for a drink poured straight out of the bottle, with no ice?

When you order whiskey neat, then you just want the booze in a glass, with nothing else to disturb it. Most often, whiskey drinks served neat are presented in a whiskey glass. Duh.

What do you call gently mixing a drink that is already assembled, using a shaker?

When you roll a drink, you take the already constructed cocktail, pour it into the shaker once, and then dump it right back into the glass. Sometimes the back-and-forth pour is repeated.

This bartender lingo refers to the long stainless steel shelf connected to the ice well and sinks behind the bar.

The speed rail holds some of the most common liquors, such as vodka, tequila, rum and the like. It also holds popular mixes, so that the bartender can get to these things quickly.

What do you call a non-alcoholic drink?

A virgin cocktail is one that has no booze in it and is, ​therefore, no fun at all. For instance, you can order a virgin margarita or a virgin Bloody Mary.

What is the name of the botanical alcohol blend that enhances the flavor of a cocktail?

Bitters were originally created as a digestive aid, but these days bitters are added to bring out the flavor of a cocktail. The slightly bitter taste is a good complement to the alcohol and sweeter ingredients.

What is the verb used to describe the process of adding ice and water to a glass to cool it off before pouring the cocktail in?

You chill a glass with ice and water, generally while you're mixing the drink in a shaker. After you have chilled the drink, you pour the ice out and put the drink in. A chilled glass adds to the enjoyment of cold drinks and prevents condensation.

What's the term used to describe a martini with very little vermouth?

A dry martini only has a faint hint of vermouth. An extra dry martini has no vermouth at all, and perhaps just a drop of scotch added to the glass before the martini is poured.

What's it called when you pour and mix a drink without any kind of measuring device?

A free pour refers to no use of tools such as a jigger or measured pour spout. This kind of pouring requires confidence, experience or just a devil-may-care attitude.

What's another name for top shelf liquor?

Premium alcohol is the best of the best. For example, bar rail gin is Beefeater, but if you want the premium, then you order Tanqueray.

Which of the following cannot be used to make vodka?

Vodka can me made from a number of different grains, potato, fruit or even just from sugar. Nuts, however, cannot turn into vodka. But it would be fun to try.

What is another term for the bar lime or lemon mix?

The sour is a mix of usually lime or lemon with simple syrup. This is added to drinks to give a little kick. For instance, a vodka sour uses the lime mix, as does a margarita.

What do you call a warm, sweetened drink with liquor, served in a tall glass?

A warm toddy is perfect for a winter's day, or when you have a sore throat. Often involving lemon, honey, hot water and whiskey, in Ireland it's just known as a hot whiskey.

What's another bar term for making a drink?

Building a drink refers to creating a cocktail in several stages, beginning with the ice, then adding liquor, juice, bitters, etc. The garnish would be the final step of the building process.

A commercially bottled alcoholic beverage that contains different kinds of alcohols and flavors is called what ?

Coolers can be found at your local convenience store, and they can be made from a number of different things. For instance, there are strawberry wine coolers and peach vodka coolers, as well as hard lemonade. These are gateway​ drinks for high school kids.

How do you frost a glass?

Particularly effective for beer glasses, frosting is achieved by dipping a glass in water, then placing it in the freezer. This gives the glass an inviting, frosty appearance.

What is a shaker tin made of?

Shaker tins are almost always made from metal, and that provides the marvelous sound of ice against metal when shaking a martini. That sound can be as powerful for you as the sound of a dog bowl being filled with food for your furry friend.

What do you call the rind of a lemon often used to garnish cocktails?

It's common to add a twist to martinis, and this is a little curl of lemon rind. This is created by using a peeler or lemon zester.

The term "cocktail" refers to what?

A cocktail refers to an alcohol or liqueur combined with a mixer and then shaken or stirred. So no, your grandma's cranberry and soda is not a cocktail, even though she says it is.

Which of the following cannot be used to hold the garnish in a cocktail?

Technically, you could try, but it's not going to work. It's too long, too thick, and it's for eating sushi. Mini chopsticks might work.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes