Basic Bartending Terms Everyone Should Know

Whether you mix drinks for a living or simply want to look like an expert in front of your friends, knowing a few bartending basics will make it all much easier. As a matter of fact, knowing a few simple details about how to order a drink can even make you a better customer too. 


Savage Scorpions has gathered some common cocktail terms for you in today's blog. After this, you'll be well on your way to sounding like a pro. 

  • Savage - The absolute best way to order any drink, in our humble opinion! Simply add a Savage Scorpion to your cocktail or enjoy a shooter as a scorpion shot.
  • Neat - Liquor poured out of the bottle into a glass without ice and served at room temperature. 
  • Up - aka Straight Up, A drink that is chilled with ice but poured into the glass without the ice. 
  • Dirty - A drink, usually a martini, with olive juice added. 
  • Frosted - A glass that has been dipped in water and chilled. It makes the drink cold without watering it down. 
  • On the Rocks - A drink served over ice cubes. 
  • Mist - A drink served over ice chips or crushed ice. 
  • Back - This is a small glass of something to accompany a drink, such as water, cola, or a beer. 
  • Chaser - Any beverage consumed quickly after taking a shot, meant to ease the strength or taste of it. 
  • Blended - To mix a drink with ingredients and ice in an electric blender, in many places referred to as frozen rather than blended. 
  • Muddle - To crush ingredients inside the glass or shaker with a tool called a muddler before adding liquid ingredients. 
  • Well - aka Rail, The least expensive bottles used if a particular brand is not requested.
  • Call - Better quality bottles of liquor that are "called out" by brand when ordered. 
  • Premium - aka Top Shelf, the most expensive, high-end bottles on the shelf. 
  • Garnish - Something added to a drink to make it look more attractive but not a main ingredient, such as lemon or lime slices, olives, or our uniquely creative cocktail garnish, Savage Scorpions
  • Twist - The rind of a piece of fruit that has been peeled with a zester to be used as a garnish. 


Shaken or Stirred?
This is an easy one to explain. The drink ingredients are placed in a tin with ice and either shaken or they are stirred with a spoon. It might not seem important which you choose, but in reality, it actually does change the drink slightly. 

Shaking a drink makes it slightly fizzy and cools and dilutes the liquid faster. Stirring a drink cools it more slowly and the ice melts more slowly, making it less diluted. 

Proper Measurements
The term "pony" is bartending slang for one U.S. fluid ounce (30 ml.) A standard shot of alcohol, however, is considered to be 1.5-ounces (44 ml) and sometimes referred to as a "jigger." 

A "jigger" is also an hour-glass shaped measuring tool that comes in different sizes, but most often measures 1-oz. on on one side and 1.5-ozs. on the other. This ensures that the proper amount of alcohol is included in a drink.

If someone orders a "double," they should expect 3 ounces. To take the terms even further, a "nip" is measured as 2 ounces and a "splash" is usually a literal splash of an ingredient but technically should be an eighth of an ounce.


With this knowledge, you're now ready to begin your journey to becoming a master mixologist, or at least sound really cool the next time you order a drink. One last very important tip for anyone hanging around a bar. When someone asks you "How savage are you?", the best way to respond is to order a Savage Scorpions shot or cocktail. That's when the real fun begins!  



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