Nightclub Advice

Bartending terminology

Some wine bottles you will get bartending

Bartenders have to learn different terms people use when ordering drinks at the bar. I have compiled a list which may help you.


A small amount of alcohol designed to induce hunger. Some examples are vermouth, gin, and martinis.


A back is a small glass of a non alcoholic drink which accompanies an alcoholic drink. For example Scotch on the rocks with a water back.

Bar Spoon

This is a long mixing spoon. It often has a lemon zester or something similar on the other end. The length allows it to reach the bottom of the tallest jug or tumbler to mix ingredients directly in the glass.


Bitters are alcohol based flavoring agents with bitter plant extracts.


This refers to mixing up ingredients and ice in an electric blender. Depending on where you live, these could be called frozen drinks or blended drinks.


Pour a drink into and out of a shaker, usually only once. This gives the drink a quick mixing without shaking.


This is a bar term meaning to make a drink, starting with ice.


This refers to burnt martinis; martinis with Scotch instead of vermouth.

Call Drink

This is a drink consisting of a specific brand of liquor and a mixer. Examples include Tanqueray and Tonic, Bacardi and Coke.


This is a tall drink consisting of liquor and served with fresh fruit and mint springs. This drink also has shaved or crushed ice and is typically served in a collins or highball glass.


A mixer that "chases" (consumed immediately after) a shot of liquor.


The act of putting ice then water into a glass, letting it sit for a minute or two, pouring out the drink then straining the a different drink in the glass.


An alcoholic drink consisting of one or more spirits mixed with other ingredients. Common ingredients include fruit juice and cream. It's often served chilled.


This is a tall drink similar to a sour with soda water or seltzer water.


A drink containing ginger ale, soda water, and a fresh spiral or twist of citrus fruit rind, served in a collins or highball glass.


A sour-type drink served in a glass that is completely lined with an orange or lemon peel cut in a continuous strip.


A group of cups or glasses with punch-type drink in them.


This is a bigger than usual sour-type drink, usually made with rum or gin. It is served over crushed ice with a straw, and fruit syrup to sweeten it.


This is a drink taken after a meal to assist with digestion. Examples include brandy and scotch.


A drink with olive juice added to it. As an example people may request a Dirty Martini.

The more olive juice that you put in the rink: the dirtier the Martini.


To create a dry drink you add a small amount of vermouth, giving just a slight vermouth flavor to the drink.


A traditional holiday drink, usually served at Christmas time. It contains a combination of eggs beaten with cream or milk, sugar, and a liquor such as brandy, rum, or bourbon.


This is a sour-type drink similar to the daisy. It's made with crushed ice and served in a large goblet.


An effervescent beverage, these beverages are carbonated or emit small bubbles. They usually make a hissing sound when opened.


This means setting a drink on fire. Sambuca and 151 poof rum are flammable and are good for this. Ensure that you know what you're doing before attempting this.


This is a chilled, creamy drink containing sugar, eggs, and a wine or spirit. Brandy and sherry flips are two of the most common types.


This is a partially frozen, often fruity drink. It is usually a mixture of ingredients served over a mound of crushed ice.

Free pour

Pour a drink without the use of a measuring device.


Frost can form on the outside of a glass by dipping it in water and leaving it in the fridge for a while. It's sometimes done with beer glasses.


A rum-based drink with water, fruit juice and sugar, usually served in a large mug.


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


A mixed alcoholic drink, or cocktail, consisting primarily of bourbon, mint, sugar and crushed ice. This is also commonly referred to as a Mint Julep.


A jigger is an hour-glass shaped steel measuring device. Both sides can order a different amount. An example combination would be one side measuring 1 ounce (30 mills) and the other measuring 1.5 ounces (45 mills).


This refers to pouring an ingredient on a drink, usually the final ingredient.


To layer a drink is to float a heavier alcohol on top of a lighter one.


A spirit pre-mixed with herbs and spices.


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


Mist is a liquor served over a glass filled with crushed ice, often a way of serving liqueur as an after dinner drink.


A mixer is a non alcoholic drink that's used as part of a mixed drink. Common mixers are coke, lemonaide, Redbull, milk and water.


A sweetened and spiced heated alcoholic drink, served as a hot punch.


Ingredients (often herbs, fruits, or spices) are mashed against a hard, flat surface with a muddler to infuse or mix the flavors before adding them to the drink.


Ordering a drink neat means wanting it the spirit as a straight, unaccompanied shot.


This is a punch-like combination which has a wine, such as port, spices and sweetened. It's either made with hot water or is heated.


A nip is a quarter of a bottle.


A nightcap is a drink taken before bedtime, usually wine or liquor.

On The Rocks

A drink poured over ice cubes.


A drink meant to lessen the effects of overindulgence in alcohol and make the customer feel better.

Pony shot

A pony shot is equal to one ounce. It's also referred to as a pony.


This drink is a mixture of heated ale or wine curdled with milk, eggs, and flavored with spices. It's an old British drink from which the eggnog was derived.


You see the proof number on alcohol bottles. It is the alcohol percentage doubled. For example 100 proof would indicate the bottle has 50% alcohol contents.


This is a traditional afternoon drink made of equal parts spirit and milk, topped with club soda and served over ice.


Punch is a party-size beverage usually in a bowl with a liquor or wine base. It usually contains fruit, fruit juices, flavorings and sweeteners and soft drinks.


A drink made of liquor, typically gin, a half lime and soda water. It's sometimes sweetened, and usually served in a rickey glass and with ice.


A tall wine/liquor garnished with nutmeg, it's also chilled and sweetened.

Shaker Tin

A tin made of metal and this combines with a mixing glass on top seal it. As you may have guessed it's used to shake ingredients.


A shooter is a name for a shot of alcohol. This can be a combination of alcohol too. It's usually taken in one gulp.


A drink made up of spirits, fruit juices, and sugar. This drink is aged in a sealed container such as a cask or crock, and then normally bottled.


A tall drink made with brandy, whiskey or gin. It also contains lemon juice, sugar and soda water. It's served both hot and cold.


A short julep made of liquor, sugar, and mint, served in a small glass.

Speed Rail

This usually refers to a stainless steel shelf connected in front of the sink. It's used to hold the most popular liquor. It also can be used to hold liqueuers and mixes.


A Sour is a short drink containing liquor, lemon/lime juice and a sweetner such as sugar. For example a Whiskey Sour is a popular sour drink that contains lemon juice, sugar, and whiskey.


A drink shaken or stirred with ice then strained from the ice. This chills the drink.


High priced alcohol. Such types may be high octane, higher proof alcohols, super-aged or flavored. This is also referred to as top-shelf or super premium.


A tall cocktail, usually rum based. It's filled with cracked ice. Alternatively gin and bitters are used instead of rum.

A swizzle stick or stirring rod is quickly rotated between the palms of the hands to form frost on the glass.


A drink (or desert) made from a mixture of wine, spices and sweetened milk/cream. Cider can be used in place of wine.


This is commonly referred to as a Hot Toddy, a mixed drink of liquor and hot water. It's sweetened with honey or hot water

It frequently has herbs and spices and is served in a tall glass.


A tot is a small amount of liquor.


A virgin drink refers to a drink which normally contains alcohol without the ingredient containing alcohol. For example a Virgin Bloody Mary would be a Bloody Mary without the gin.

Well Drink

A liquor and mixer, of which neither are defined brands and easy to reach. Typically these drinks are easy to make. Examples include Gin and Tonic, Rum and Coke.

View our guide for bartenders