If you’ve spent time in a bar, you might have heard bartenders throwing around all sorts of peculiar lingo. Or perhaps you've observed their workmanship while you wait for a drink. Here’s a quick rundown of bartending phrases, tools and techniques.
A non-alcoholic drink, usually water or soda, ordered alongside an alcoholic drink e.g. “neat whisky, water back.”
It’s a way to cleanse the palate and slow down the inevitable tipsy wave that comes with drinking. Water is usually free but make sure you put down a few extra dollars for fizzy drinks and whatnot.
A bar term which allows the drinker to drop the name of their preferred liquor brand e.g. Jack and Coke.
In most places, if you want top-of-the-line liquor in your G&T, you have to ask for it by name.
Behind the stick
Slang for being a bartender. Most of the time they’ll be behind the bar, pulling beer handles and stirring up delicious creations.
The technique of pouring liquor straight from the bottle without measuring.
Bartenders have an impressive knack of making building drinks without having to break out the measuring jugs. However, a shot glass or jigger is often used for liquor to prevent disgruntled bar patrons from getting wound up about not getting enough booze for their buck.
The aforementioned jigger is a bartending tool used for measuring quantities of alcohol. It’s typically made with stainless steel and holds 45ml.
You’ve surely seen one of these been used before. It’s a reusable spout attachment placed in the neck of a liquor bottle. It helps regulate the liquid’s pour rate, measurement and prevents splashing.
Margaritas wouldn’t be the same without that tasty rim of sugar or salt. The lip of the glass must be moistened with liquid (water or juice) before being coated in the dry ingredients, and repeated if they refuse to stick.
There’s nothing nicer than kicking your weekend off with a snazzy looking drink in hand. A twist is a piece of citrus peel used as a cocktail garnish or to add flavour in a drink.
It gets its name from the curled shape it often has and the act of twisting the peel to release the fruit oils. Twists can also be set on fire – something that you might want to request at the beginning of the night.
A bartending technique to crush fruit, herbs, sugar or spices. A long-handled instrument called a ‘muddler’ is used to extract the juices from the fruit or release the oils in herbs. Think minty Mojitos and zesty Caipirinhas.
An alcoholic beverage consumed prior to bedtime or after an evening event.
Traditional options include whiskey, brandy or liqueur. The nightcap emerged from the belief that alcohol improved sleep, however in recent times, doctors have discouraged using alcohol as a sleep aid.