Cocktails: the key terms

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.

Pip Martin is the Founder of The Tasting Quarter, a Corporate Wine Tasting & Specialist Events Company. After management positions in Harrod’s Foodhall, Pip became Corporate Events Manager at Richard Branson’s online wine merchant, Virgin Wines, where he hosted over 200 wine events in a little over 15 months for companies including BBC, Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCoopers and JP Morgan.

Since 2002, via The Tasting Quarter, Pip and his team have produced and hosted tastings in Spain, Russia and South Africa and co-hosted events in Ireland, Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark and Switzerland for groups of 10 to 3000+. He has run virtual, hybrid and AI augmented tastings for companies including AVMI, Oracle, Adobe, Google and Cisco. He also counts all the Magic Circle law firms in the UK as repeat clients for in-person events.

Pip’s media work has included wine presenting on Sky One’s Taste programme and BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen. Writing credits include wine articles for Condé Nast’s Gourmet Travel and Esquire.