In many ways the bartending profession has its own language.
Bartender jargon isn’t particularly complex and you could probably pick up on it pretty quickly.
Regardless, here’s a list for you to help you out on some bartending terms you’ll probably come across.
Shot- A shot is a measure of liquor equaling 1.5 ounces. Most shot glasses hold 1.5oz unless it’s a double shot; in which case it will be taller. Many shot glasses actually have a line marking when the glass is filled to 1.5oz.
Build- Building a drink is when you mix a drink in the glass it will be served in.
Up- This refers to a drink that is served without any ice. This does not mean however that it has not been shaken over ice.
Rocks/ on the rocks- A drink served “on the rocks” is served over ice, rocks being the ice.
Neat- A drink served “neat” is when it is poured and served straight out of the bottle. This is common with more high quality drinks.
Double- This refers to doubling the amount of alcohol within a drink. It’s important to note that this bartending term does not mean also doubling the amount of mixer within the drink . This results in a much stiffer drink.
Muddle- This refers to crushing fruits or herbs . This is done with the use of a tool called a muddler. This is done in order to release the full flavor of the fruits or herbs.
Float- A float is a small amount of liquor poured over top of a mixed drink. The float is not mixed into the drink, it is simply poured on top after the mixing process.
Well or House liquor– Bars have a list of basic liquors that are used when a brand name liquor is out or not specified by a customer. This series of liquors are called “well” or “house” liquors. These are your more generic “go to” liquors that will be used unless a customer specifically asks for a name brand liquor.
Premium liquor– A premium liquor is just the opposite of a well liquors and need to be ordered by name.
Sour- Sour refers to a mixer called “sweet and sour”.
Virgin or NA- Virgin means a non alcoholic version of a drink.
Tall- Tall is just the opposite of double. This refers to adding double the amount of mixer but the same amount of alcohol. This make for a larger drink which in turn slows the consumption of alcohol.
Twist- Ordering a drink with a twist means adding a slice of a lemon or lime to the cocktail. For example, a vodka on the rocks with a “twist”.
86- 86 can have two meanings. For one it is a phrase meaning that an item is out of stock. It could also be said as “86ed”. This refers to kicking someone out of the bar.
Shaken- This is pretty self explanatory. This refers to pouring the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shaking the drink to mix it. You can then pour the entire contents of the mixed drink or strain the mixed drink and serve the cocktail up.
Back- A “back” is a small glass of something to accompany a drink. This could be water, soda, a beer, or anything else. “I’ll have a Scotch on the rocks with a water back”
Chaser- This refers to anything that is quickly consumed after a shot of alcohol. This is generally mean to ease the strength or mask the taste of the first shot.
Dirty- This refers to the adding of olive juice to a martini. This makes it a “dirty” martini.
These are just some of the more popular bartending terms that should be known before beginning a trip into the world of bartending. Learn these bartending terms and you will be well on your way to speaking the bartender language.