Bar Owning – Bartending


Bar Terms – Bar Words – Bar Lingo


  • Back

    Usually a non-alcohol drink that you have in addition to your drink that has alcohol. The back would be a soda or glass of water. Some people consider a beer a back also.


  • Bar Spoon

    A special spoon made with a long skinny handle — used for stirring drinks or floating drinks. Some of these spoons have a fruit zester on the opposite end.


  • Blend

    Pouring ingredients into blender usually with ice. This is great for making Frozen Margarita\’s and Milkshake type drinks — just remember the more ice you use the thicker the drink will be — but I know YOU knew that !!!


  • Box

    You pour everything into a shaker without ice — just so the ingredients blend together –You don’t shake this drink with ice.


  • Build

    This just means to make the drink — Fill glass with ice (if drink calls for ice) and make the drink– by pouring in all the ingredients (alcohol and soda or juices etc.) and then adding the garnish — simple as that.


  • Call

    Brand Name alcohol — not the well  drink stuff  — when a customer asks for a certain brand name alcohol and the customer might also prefer Coke over Pepsi etc. Example, Jack Daniels and Coke — Keep in mind not all bars carry Coke and Pepsi etc.  Usually one or the other. FYI — It is pretty common for bars to carry only one brand name of soda or some just carry off brands of soda’s.


  • Chaser

    Whatever you drink after drinking a Shot — Can be a mixed drink or a soda or water, whatever you chase the shot with, especially if you want to erase the pain or taste of that shot you just had.


  • Chill

    Dip glass in water and put in Cooler or freezer. The old-Fashioned way is to fill glass with ice and add water — when you are ready to use the glass, just dump out the water and ice and you have a very chilled glass. You should always chill Martini Glasses.


  • Chug

    Drink all at once — some also call this  Shooting  the shot or shoot the shot.


  • Cloudy

    When a Martini has been shaken it gets that cloudy look — but it will disappear.


  • Cobbler

    A drink served with crushed or shaved ice in a highball or Collins glass — has Garnish of fruit or mint sprigs.


  • Cocktail

    A cocktail is a drink — made with the ingredients the recipe calls for and either poured into a glass that has ice in it already or a cocktail can be shaken in a shaker with ice then poured into glass of choice.


  • Dash

    Is just a few drops – around 1/8th or less of a teaspoon.


  • Dirty

    Olive Juice is added in the preparation of a Martini. There is also an Olive placed in the glass and sometimes even a couple more Olives on a fancy pick — dirtierdirtiest — is just adding more Olive Juice.


  • Dry

    Martini term — How much Vermouth is put in a Martini … the less Vermouth the drier the Martini — The more Vermouth the wetter the Martini.  For a really dry martini — you just add a drop of vermouth and shake it out then add Gin — I always found this so weird, yet Martini drinkers can be extremely picky and I mean picky.


  • Flame

    This is when you light a drink on fire — ignite — Be careful with this, it can be very dangerous. Never use a lighter … use matches to light the drink.

    151 Proof is usually the liquor that is used as it is very flammable. I have heard it is illegal to light drinks in bars in many places, so be sure you know the laws where you work and the possible dangers of lighting drinks.  This is not something you would give to a person that is already tipsy, or drunk — that would NOT be a good idea — unless you want the risk of them getting burned or causing a fire or who knows what devastation could occur if this was to get in the hands of a pretty intoxicated individual — so be careful Please !!!  ALSO — NEVER try pouring more 151 or any alcohol for that matter into drink after it has been lit !!!  The horror stories I have heard of  bartenders doing this — well just don’t ever do this –this is why Bacardi 151 now has the little screens over the top so a spout can not be put on this bottle — Never take the screen off of a Bacardi 151 bottle either !!!

    OK enough lectures of the dangers of flaming a drink — I think you get the idea.



  • Float

    Pour the alcohol over the back of a spoon (back of spoon, faces up) so it floats on the top of the shot or drink — Some people don\’t use a spoon they hold the nozzle on the inside of the glass (against the side of glass) and float the alcohol that way. It is pretty easy with a little practice. You can float several liquors on top of one another also – to make that cool layered look. Pour heaviest alcohol first to the lightest alcohol on the top.


  • Free Pour

    Pouring straight from the bottle — Using a count pour in your mind — such as — one thousand 1 – one thousand 2 – one thousand 3 — You don’t use any measuring device such as a jigger or a shot glass or any of those measured pour spouts. All bars have a certain way they allow pouring, some bars have measured pours, others have free pour — Free Pour will always be the customers favorite type of pour, of course !!!


  • Frost

    Dip glasses in water and place in freezer for awhile. This can be done to glass, metal or silver mugs. There are coolers specifically made for chilling glasses and they put a nice frost on the glasses such as beer mugs, beer glasses and pitchers.


  • Garnish

    Garnishes are put in drink or on drink for either decoration or to add to the flavor of a cocktail. The most common garnishes are Cherries, Lime or Lemon Wedges, Peels, Slices or Wheels and Olives. You can also decorate with fruit in many ways such as spirals or placing fruit on a fancy pick.


  • Jigger

    An ounce, ounce and a half of alcohol.


  • Lace

    Is like floating liquor or lacing a glass with something before pouring in alcohol, such as decorating the glass with Chocolate Syrup.


  • Layer

    See Float — When layering remember to pour heaviest alcohol first then the next lighter weight alcohol and so on.


  • Mist

    Poured over crushed ice.


  • Mixer

    This is what you are adding to the cocktail other than the alcohol used — such as Juice, Soda, Water etc.


  • Mixing

    Always put ice in shaker first, then alcohol and anything else you need to put in, then shake or stir drink — or strain drink into glass without shaking or stirring ingredients — this just chills the drink nicely. The least amount of time the ingredients are in the ice the less the drink is diluted.


  • Muddle

    To muddle something such as a mint leaf or any herb you are using — you use a Muddler, and you mash the herb with it in the glass. Muddlers can be purchased in several places, bar supply stores have a variety of them. Some are made of wood and others are on the end of some bar spoons.


  • Neat or Plain

    Nothing added to alcohol — such as a shot of Whiskey poured straight from the bottle into the glass.


  • On the Rocks

    Poured over ice.


  • Peel

    A small strip of peel cut from the fruit.


  • Pony

    One ounce of alcohol.


  • Premium

    See Super Call.


  • Press

    When someone asks for a Press — such as a Bourbon Press — Press comes from pressing the soda gun buttons — a press is after pouring in the alcohol, you put in half 7-up or Sprite and half Club Soda.


  • Rim

    Rim the glass with Salt or Sugar or Chocolate etc. For dry ingredients, first wet the glass with Lime Juice or whatever you are using. Then you rim the outside lip of the glass, as you don’t want a bunch of the salt or sugar falling into the glass. Always make sure the Salt Rimmer or Sugar Rimmer is clean and has fresh salt or sugar. Salt Rimmers can get nasty real fast, so clean daily or even more often than that.
    See Chocolate Martini for ideas on rimming your glass … there really are so many ways you can rim a glass, from crushed candies to peanut butter and even with different types of sweet or spicy hot spices.


  • Roll

    Fill glass with ice – make the drink – pour into shaker- pour back into glass.


  • Shaken

    Pour ingredients into shaker that contains ice and shake until very chilled.
    The longer the drink is shaken, the more little ice crystal chips the drink will have in it.


  • Shake and Strain

    Pour ingredients into shaker with ice, shake well and then strain into glass


  • Shaken Not Stirred

    This saying usually refers to Martini’s — Martini’s should be stirred not shaken, but there are some folks that prefer the ice chips that result from shaking the drink


  • Shaker or Mixing Cup/Glass

    A shaker is used to shake drinks with ice or stir drinks — it has two parts that go together so you can shake the drink until icy cold. Shakers come in many styles and sizes


  • Shot

    Same as Neat — Has straight alcohols — not mixed with juice or anything — usually drank all at once in one gulp — chugged


  • Shoot

    Same as Chug — to drink all at once — this is how many people drink shots — they don’t just sip it, they chug it or shoot it all at once


  • Shooter

    Has juice or cream added to the alcohol, but is still considered a shot and is very often drank all at once like a shot


  • Sink

    When a recipe calls to sink a certain liquor — all it means is that liquor needs to sink to the bottom of the drink. In order to sink a liquor — when you are layering a drink, hold the spout up against the inside of the glass and slowly pour and hopefully the liquor is heavy enough to sink to the bottom.
    Practice makes perfect !!!


  • Snit

    3 fl. ounces


  • Splash

    A splash is right around 1/4 oz. Not more than 1/2 oz.


  • Stir

    Stirring keeps the drink from getting ice chips. Martini’s are usually stirred and not shaken. Never stir long as this dilutes the drink.  Just stir gently and long enough to blend ingredients and then strain into glass.


  • Straight Up

    Chilled with ice then strained into glass — such as a Martini or a Kamikaze.


  • Super Call

    Is the really good Brand Name Alcohols — the really pricey high-quality alcohol.


  • Toddy

    A sweetened drink made with Alcohol, Hot Water and different spices  — sometimes a pad of butter is added.  Example: Hot Toddy


  • Top Shelf

    Same as Super Call — the best of the best.
    High-quality alcohol — the pricier alcohols.


  • Twist

    A piece of Citrus peel such as Lime, Lemon or Orange that you twist before dropping into drink or you can twist then rub along rim of glass – then drop into drink.
    Twists are made by removing the peel from the fruit discard the fruit and slice the peel into thin strips.


  • Up

    Same as Straight Up.


  • Virgin Drink

    A drink with absolutely NO alcohol.


  • Wedge

    Fruit cut into Wedges.


  • Well Drink

    The Cheaper house alcohol — Not a brand name and usually much cheaper than call liquors.
    Sometimes this is what is used if a customer doesn’t ask for a brand name.


  • Wet or Dry

    Martini term — How much Vermouth is put into a Martini … the less Vermouth the drier the Martini — The more Vermouth the wetter the Martini. For a really dry martini — you just add a drop of vermouth and shake it out then add Gin — I always found this so weird, yet Martini drinkers can be extremely picky and I mean picky.


  • Wheel

    Sliced fruit and left to look like a wheel (complete circle) not cut in half — slice on one side to be able to put on rim of glass.

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