Cocktails: the key terms

As with wine, the world of cocktails has its very own vocabulary, often confusing to the outsider. Cocktails: the key terms is our lowdown of some of the principle words and their meanings.

COLLINS – Tall cool punch-like drinks. Any basic liquor with the juice of lemon or lime, over ice cubes, in a frosted highball glass. Sugar and soda water are added. A lemon slice is a typical garnish, with a cherry if desired.

FLAIR – The act of flipping, spinning, throwing, balancing, catching bottles, drinks, and various bar tools whilst in the process of making cocktails. Available on request in our cocktail making & tasting events.

FLOAT – A small amount of liquid poured onto a drink so that it floats on the surface.

JULEPS – Made with Kentucky Bourbon and fresh mint leaves (muddled, crushed or whole). May also be made with Rye, Brandy, Rum or Champagne. Typically served with shaved ice in an ice-frosted glass with a mint or fruit garnish and a straw.

LONG – Five measures or more of fluid in total.

MARASCHINO CHERRIES – (red) cherries, pitted and then macerated in flavoured sugar.

MIXOLOGIST – A person skilled in preparing, mixing and serving drinks; a trained individual who serves drinks at a bar. Available via our cocktail making and tasting events.

MUDDLE – Combining and mashing ingredients in a vessel using a muddler (an item not dissimilar to a small rolling pin, although we prefer using the super affordable two in one muddling spoon available from Amazon here).

NEAT – A drink served without ice or a mixer.

ON THE ROCKS – Refers to a drink served over ice.

POUSSE-CAFÉ (after coffee) – Refers to the method of adding ingredients (typically over a bar spoon) in order of density, so as to form distinct layers in the glass.

ROLL – Ingredients poured from one glass to another to mix contents.

SMOOTH – When blending with ice, mixture achieves consistency of thick milkshake.

SOUR – A cocktail made by combining a spirit with lemon juice and a little sugar.

SPIRAL – Long, coiled virtually pith-free length of citrus peel. For spiralling we use the simple zester/grater/peeler available on Amazon here.

STRAIN – Pour out, leaving ice and other solids behind.

TWIST – 3-6cm length of citrus peel, held over the drink and twisted in the centre to release a little essential oil onto the surface.