Has it ever happened to you that you have gone out for a couple of drinks, but didn’t know your Dirty Martini from a Whiskey Sour? For many of us, taking note of correct bar lingo can be a daunting task, landing us in sticky situations.
Bar expert Vasul Chauhan says that even though people have educated themselves on bar vocab, there were instances when people ordered something, without full knowledge of the drink. “One time, a client asked for a screwdriver, which is made with orange juice and vodka. When it was served to him, he sent it back, saying it was not a screwdriver, and instead demanded it be made with mint and lemon. He probably wanted a mojito.”
Getting the pronunciations right is also important. “People often pronounce mojito (mo-hi-toh) as mo-jee-to. There are misconceptions about other drinks as well. For instance, some don’t know to take tequila with salt and lime. I leave the glass half-rimmed with salt in case people don’t wish to take salt. You can also follow a shot with a chaser like orange or grapefruit juice,” says mixologist Gaurav Dhyani. “Some think that Old Fashioned is made with scotch, whereas, it’s made with Bourbon, which is an American whiskey,” he adds.
Here, we have compiled a list of basic bar terminology, and how you can avoid prospective embarrassing situations.
Back: A small glass that contains water or cola (or other liquid accompaniment) to a drink.
Bitters: A Herbal alcoholic concoction that is added to cocktails to enhance the flavour.
Chaser: Anything that is consumed immediately after taking a neat shot of alcohol in order to mask its strength or taste.
Dirty: When a bartender adds olive juice to a martini, it becomes dirty. Hence, the name Dirty Martini. Similarly, dry is when some vermouth is added to martini.
Float: When one alcohol rests on top of another alcohol in a shot glass. The alcohols used need to be of differing weights to get it right.
- Some think that Old Fashioned is made with scotch, whereas, it’s made with Bourbon, which is an American whiskey
Highball: When a liquor is mixed with soda and served in a tall glass.
Rocks or On the rocks: Serving a drink on just a bed of ice cubes is called On the Rocks. Classically used to refer to Scotch on the rocks.
Sour: It refers to the sourness of the bar lime mix that is used in cocktails. Simple liquors can also be served with sour mixes.
Stiff: A drink that contains more alcohol and less mixers that result in stronger tasting drinks.
Virgin: Any cocktail that is made without alcohol, like Virgin Pina Colada and Virgin Mojito.