Bartending Lingo

Bartending Lingo

So you have started your bartending career or even job and like every other job, the lingo is a must. This being foreign to you or even it being used a lot in the bartending classes you have been attending, let’s look at some of the most common bartending lingoes we have around.


This is basically pouring into a shaker and then out without shaking. It is usually done so as to give the drink a mix.


This is usually the term used when making a drink that usually starts with ice then adds up to it(Build it up) the drink with some extra ingredients such as alcohol, juice, garnishes, etc.)


This is basically a herbal alcoholic mix that is used in other cocktails to enhance the flavor. E.g. Sweet Vermont with some dashes of bitters or a Manhattan is rye.  The most common of all bitters is the Angostura bitters that were used to ease stomach sicknesses back in 1824 by a German physician.

Burning your well:

This is used to refer to the thorough cleaning one does at the end of their shift. What is the process?  Empty the ice in the sink and melt it with hot water, remove and wipe all bottles in the speed rail including all spill mat and fill up all juices that are halfway full, then wipe the sink after the ice has melted down and wipe any area you used during your shift. Do not forget to put back the glassware where it is supposed to be. Generally neatness, cleanness and sanitary is very important for your job.

Call drink:

This is basically a drink that a customer orders with specific names such as Bacardi and coke or Tanqueray and tonic.


This term is used for anything that is taken immediately after a shooter or a neat shot of alcohol. It is supposed to ease the taste of the shot or mask its taste.


This is a term used to refer to a variety of alcoholic drink like Gin, brandy, whiskey or Vodka mixed with a fruit juice or other kind of liquors and best served chilled.


This drink is usually oversized and is sour in taste. It is usually made of rum and served over crushed ice and a straw and sweetened with fruit syrup.


This is usually done by adding olive juice to a martini. The more olive juice used, the dirtier the martini.

Free pour:

This a term used to refer to the process of making and mixing drinks without using a measuring device such as a jigger.


This is a partially frozen and often a fruity drink. It is a mix of several ingredients and is served over a mound of crushed ice.


This is basically added to a drink after all the ingredients have been mixed together to enhance the presentation of the drink. Most common forms of garnish are lemon slices, lime wedges, cherries, olive just to mention a few.


This is an alcoholic drink mixed with a soda and served in a tall glass.


This is basically a short drink made of spirits and served with either water, ice soda and usually in a small glass.


These are the non-alcoholic mixes that usually accompany alcoholic drinks. The mixers can either be water, juice, energy drinks.


This is liquor served over a glass filled with ice and is usually used to serve liqueur as an after-dinner drink.


This is the process of crushing up ingredients with a tool called a muddler. This can be done on majorly organic cocktails drinks such as mojito. Muddling basically involves extracting the essential oils and flavor from your choice of organics. E.g. mint leaves in the case of mojito.


This is basically serving an alcoholic drink straight from the bottle. This means that you will not add even ice to the mix and it is served in a snifter glass.

On the rocks:

This basically means serving a drink over ice, e.g., whiskey on the rocks, It is served in a rocks glass or a lowball glass.


This is the measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage. To establish the “proof” of any alcoholic drink, double the percentage of the alcohol.


This is the top shelf liquor. This can also be referred to as supercell. This is the high octane, often higher proof alcohol or well-aged or flavored versions of alcohol.


This is generally a non-alcoholic drink, just like the name suggests.

As you start this journey of bartending, you will not be alone. Why not consider taking up classes at to learn more about this bartending lingo and more!!

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