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Glossary of Terms

ABV -Percentage of Alcohol By Volume.

Age - Often this is used as a measure of quality. It is not always dependable, however, because ingredients are a factor.

Alcohol - Common to all liquor. Ethyl alcohol, spirits distilled from grain, grape, fruit and cane are most common.

Aperitif - A French term referring to a light alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate appetite.

Beer -Beverage brewed from malted barley and other grains cultured with yeast and flavored with hops. There are many varieties including ale, porter, malt liquor, bock and lager.

Bitters -A very concentrated flavoring agent made from roots, barks, herbs and/or berries.

Blended Whiskey -Combines straight whiskey with neutral grain spirits. Straight whiskey dominates the mix by 20%. Sold at 80 proof.

Bottled-In-Bond Whiskey - Straight whiskey, usually bourbon or rye, produced under government control and supervision. Bonded whiskey must be at least four years old, bottled at 100 proof and produced in one distilling by the same distiller. It must be sorted and bottled at a bonding warehouse under government supervison.

Bourbon -American Whiskey made using at least 51% corn grain mash in a wheat, oats, rye & barley combination.

Brandy -A liquor distilled from wine and other fermented fruit juice. Aged in oak casks and bottled at 80 to 84 proof. The finest Brandies are Cognacs.

Canadian Whiskey -A blended whiskey, which is distilled from rye, corn, and barley. Produced only in Canada under government control. The Canadian whiskey sold in the U.S. is at least four years old. Lighter than American whiskey, it is sold at 80 proof.

Cocktail -A beverage that combines an alcohol with a mixer.

Cognac -Brandy of France, made only from grapes grown in the Cognac region of France

Cordial -A liquor (or liqueur) made by mixing or redistilling neutral spirits. Fruits, flowers, herbs, seeds, roots, plants or juices are used and a sweetening is added. Most cordials are sweet, colorful and highly concentrated. Many are made from secret recipes and processes.

Corn Whiskey -A whiskey made from a mash of at least 80% corn. May or may not be aged.

Creme -A cordial with a very high sugar content. Its cream-like consistency gives it its prefix. It comes in the following combinations:

Creme de Cacao: Made from cacao and vanilla beans.

Creme de Cassis: Made from black currant.

Creme de Mint: Made from mint.

Creme de Yvette - Made from violets.

Distillation -The process of seperating the components in a liquid by heating it to the point of vaporization, then cooling so it condenses into a purified form.

Frappes -Several liqueurs combined and poured over shaved or crushed ice.

Gin -Distilled from grain. Juniper berries and other botanicals give it its flavor. Most gin is colorless, however, some gins appear golden or straw-colored because of aging in barrels. Gin is bottled at proofs varying from 80 to 94.

Grain Neutral Spirits - Alcohol distilled from grain at 190 proof. Used in blended whiskeys for making gin and vodka and other liquors. It is almost tasteless and colorless.

Grenadine -A flavoring for drinks. It is made from pomegranates or red currants.

Highballs -Any liquor served with ice, soda, plain water, ginger ale or other carbonated liquids.

Hops -A hardy plant that produces cone-like flowers. These flowers are used to impart flavor to beer and ales.

Irish Whiskey -A blend that contains barley malt whiskeys and grain whiskeys. The malt is dried in coal-fired kilns. The aroma of the fires does not influence the malt. Irish whiskey is heavier than Scotch and is usually 86 proof. It is produced only in Ireland .

Jigger -Also called a shot, a jigger is a small drinking glass- shaped container used to measure liquor.

Juleps -Made with Kentucky bourbon and fresh mint leaves (muddled, crushed or whole). May also be made with rye, brandy, gin, rum or champagne. Served with shaved ice in an ice-frosted glass with a mint or fruit garnish and a straw.

Lager -Beer that is stored in a cask or vat until free of sediment and crystal clear. A light, bubbly and golden brew.

Liqueur - A sweet alcoholic beverage made from an infusion of flavoring ingredients and a spirit.

Liquor - A distilled, alcoholic beverage made from a fermented mash of various ingredients.

Malt Liquor - A beer that has a higher alcohol content from 5 - 9 % higher than regular beer.

Mash - Grain or malt that is ground or crushed before being steeped. Used in brewing beer and in the fermentation of whiskey.

Mead - Beverage made by fermenting honey, water and yeast with flavorings such as herbs, spices or flowers.

Muddle - To muddle is to combine ingredients, usually in the bottom of a mixing glass, by pressing them with a muddler before adding the majority of the liquid ingredients. A muddler is a long pestle shaped often shaped like a baseball bat that is commonly made of wood, but modern designs can be found in stainless steel or plastic with teeth on the bottom. One end of this essential bar tool is large and rounded and is used to mash the ingredients. While the other end is skinnier and flat and is used to mix ingredients.

Neat -A term referring to liquor that is drunk undiluted by ice, water or mixers.

On The Rocks -beverage served over ice without adding water or other mixers.

Porter -A heavy, dark-brown, strongly flavored beer. The dark color and strong flavor comes from roasted malt. Usually higher in alcohol than regular beers.

Proof -The measure of the strength of the alcohol. One (degree) proof equals one-half of one percent of alcohol. For example, 100 proof equals 50% alcohol.

Rum/Rhum/Ron -Made by distilling the fermented juice of sugar cane, cane syrup and molasses. It is bottled and sold at 80 proof. Aged in uncharred barrels, it picks up very little color. Caramel is added to create dark rums. Most rums are a blend of several kinds.

Rye Whiskey -Distilled from a grain mash of 80% corn. It is usually aged in reused, charred oak barrels.

Scotch Whiskey -Blended whiskeys from native barley grain and Scottish pot stills. All Scotch blends contain malt whiskey. The smoky flavor comes from drying malted barley over peat fires. Produced only in Scotland . Exported Scotch is at least four years old and is usually 80 to 86 proof.

Shot ; Shot Glass -A small amount of alcohol. A shot glass is the drinking glass-shaped container in which such an amount is measured or served.

Simple Syrup -Simple syrup can be made in a saucepan, gradually stir one pound granulated sugar into 13 oz. hot water to make 16 oz. simple/sugar syrup. Used as a mixer/sweetener for drinks.

Snifter -A short-stemmed, pear-shaped glass that is larger at the bottom than at the top.

Sour -A cocktail made by combining liquor with lemon juice and a little sugar.

Stout -A strong, dark beer. More redolent of hops than beer and is made with dark-roasted barley which gives it a deep, dark color.

Straight Up -Term used to describe cocktails that are served up without ice.

Sweet And Sour Mix -Sweet and Sour Mix can be made with 1 - 1 1/2 tbs. Lemon Juice and 1 tsp. of Powdered Sugar. It is used as a mixer for drinks.

Sours -Made of lemon juice, ice, sugar, with any basic liquor. Similar to highly concentrated punch. Garnished with a lemon slice and a cherry.

Straight Whiskey -A whiskey that is distilled from grain but not blended with neutral grain spirits or any other whiskey and aged in a charred oak barrel for at least two years.

Sour Mash Whiskey -A broad category of whiskey whereby a portion of old mash is mixed with new to help advance the character & smoothness of the flavor.

Tequila -A distillate of the sap of the century plant. Sometimes called "Cactus Whiskey". Mexican spirit distilled from the fermented juice of the blue agave plant.

Toddies -Served hot or cold. A lump or teaspoon of sugar dissolved in a little hot water, with liquor, ice or hot water added and stirred. Served with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon or lemon peel.

Triple Sec -A cordial similar to Curacao but less sweet and colorless.

Vermouth -Herb flavored wine fortified with Brandy.

Vodka - A refined and filtered liquor distilled at 190 proof and bottled for sale at 80 to 110 proof. Originally made in Russia from potatoes. It is usually distilled from corn and wheat in the U.S. The difference between various vodkas depends on the types of grains used and the distilling and filtering processes. Most American vodkas are filtered through activated charcoal. Vodka is colorless, tasteless and odorless. It is not aged.

Whiskey - Made from grains like corn, rye, barley, or wheat. It is distilled from a fermented mash of the grain, then aged in oak barells. At this stage it is a water-colored liquid. During the aging period, it gradually attains its amber color, flavor and aroma. It is bottled and sold at 80 proof. Whiskey of each country is distinct from that of the others because of the local grain characteristics, distillation techniques and formulas. Scotland , Ireland , the U.S. and Canada are major producers.

Wine - Made from the fermented juice of grapes. If another fruit is used it appears on the label. Under 14 to 20% alcohol.