ABSINTHE Absinthe reached its peak of popularity and notoriety around the end of the nineteenth century and is now illegal not only in the United States but in Switzerland, the place of its origin. Absinthe is actually a green-hued cordial with aniseed (licorice) flavor. The ingredient that caused all the fuss was wormwood (actually deleterious only when taken in immense doses). Pernod, Abisinte, Abson, Anisette, Ojen, and Oxygene are its modern, safe, respectable substitutes.
ABSOLUT A high quality vodka of swedish manufacture, most commonly and appropriately taken unmixed. Now available flavored with lemon, blackberry, and peppers.
ADVOKAAT A bottled egg nog mixture made with brandy and eggs that originated in the netherlands.
AMARETTO An after-dinner liqueur with an almond flavor that is made in Italy from apricot kernels. The original amaretto, Amaretto di Saronne, was first made in Saronne, Italy, in 1525.
AMER PICON A bitter French cordial, bitter, orange-flavored, made from quinine, spices, cinchona bark, oranges, and gentiam
ANGOSTURA BITTERS (see bitters) made from a trinidadian secret recipe.
ANISETTE A sweet, clear, aniseed-flavored liqueur, the principle ingredient being aniseed.
APERTIF An alcoholic drink taken before a meal or any of several wines or bitters.
APPLEJACK An apple brandy produced principally in the United States and France. A version produced in Normandy, Calvados, is of very high quality. Also known as “Jersey lighting” and “hard cider”. Made from winter apples, a great deal of applejack produced in the Unites States is of the homemade variety, and thus of widely varying quality.
AQUAVIT (Akvavit) Scandanavian Vodka flavored with caraway, dill and other herbs and spices.
B&B A mixture of cognac and benidictine, yeilding a drier product than benidictine alone.
BACARDI The single best selling brand of rum or any other liquor in the United States. A light bodied rum, Bacardi was formerly made in Cuba and is now Manufactured in the Puerto Rico and several other places. The original Bacardi plant in 1862 was a tin roof shed housing a cast iron still, a few fermenting tanks, a few aging barrels and a colony of fruit bats nesting in the rafters, hence the bat logo on every label.
BAHAI A coffee flavored Brazilian liqueur.
BAILEYS IRISH CREAM A mocha flavored whiskey and double-cream liqueur, a combination of Irish whiskey, cream, coffee, chocolate, and coconut.
BENEDICTINE The oldest and perhaps most famous liqueur in the world, Benedictine dates from 1510. Its formula, which calls for twenty seven different herbs, plants, and peels, is a secret that has never been successfully been duplicated. Originally produced by Benedictine monks in an abbey in the Caux district of Normandy, Benedictine takes three years to make, followed by four years of aging.
BITTERS A highly concentrated flavoring agent made from roots, barks, herbs, and/or berries. Bitters are reputed to have medicinal qualities. Some, such as Compari and Fernet-Branca from Italy are believed to be such good stomach settlers and may even be useful in treating hangovers. Bitters such as Angostura are also effective in minute quantities as smoothing out the taste of a particularly harsh or bitter whiskey. Abbot’s bitters have been made in baltimore since 1865, Peychoud bitters come from New Orleans and Orange Bitters are made in England from the dried peels of seville oranges.
BLENDED WHISKEY Blended whiskey came into prominence in the United States during world war II, when distillers made the most of their dwindling stocks of whiskey by mixing them with unaged grain-neutral spirits. By U.S. law, blended whiskey must contain at least 20% straight whiskey. The rest may be unaged grain neutral spirits, pure alcohol with little or no flavor-and that’s exactly what the cheaper, inferior blends tend to be. Actually, there are two types of blended whiskey: the aforementioned cheaper brands in which straight whiskey is blended with grain neutral spirits, and those in which straight whiskeys of varying character and qualities are blended together to produce a distinctive product. Most Scotch, Bourbon, Canadian, rye, and Irish whiskeys currently on the market, including the very best available, are blended whiskeys and fall into this second category.
BOROUVICKA A Czechoslovakian juniper brandy similar to gin.
BOURBON An American whiskey distilled from a fermented mash of grain that is at least 51% corn. Bourbon is aged for at least two years in new charred oak barrels. Bourbon, a true American whiskey, originated in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and even today, most bourbon distilleries in the United States are located in kentucky. Jack Daniels is a high quality Bourbon that is filtered through maple charcoal befor aging.
BRANDY Brandy is distilled from a fermented mash of grapes or other fruit and the aged in white oak casks at least two years and usually bottled at 80 proof. Cognac is an exceptionally smooth brandy with a heady dry aroma produced in the Cognac region of France. Armagnac is similiar to Cognac, but with a drier taste, it is produced in the Armagnac region of France. American Brandy is distilled in California and is unique in that it is produced by the firms that grow the grapes, distill, age, blend, bottle and market the brandies under their own name. American brandy accounts for 75% of brandies sold in the U.S. Apple Brandy (applejack) is distilled from apple cider. Fruit brandies are brandy based liqueurs made from blackberries, apricots, cherries, and ginger and are bottled at 70 to 80 proof.
BUCKS Drink made with an ounce or so of liquor and lemon juice plus ginger ale, and topped with a twist of lemon.
CALVADOS One of the world’s great brands of apple brandy. Produced in Normandy.
CAMPARI A highly popular Italian patent apertif. Usually served on the rocks with soda, Campari is very dry with a strong quinine taste.
CANADIAN CLUB A high quality, highly popular brand of Canadian whiskey.
CANADIAN WHISKEY Like American whiskeys, Canadian whiskey is made primarily from corn, rye, and malted barley, and is distilled by a process similar to that used in making bourbon, except that a sweet mash is used. Lighter bodied, smoother, and less assertive than its American counterpart, Canadian whiskey is excellent for mixing or for summer use.
CHAMBRAISE A French liqueur made from wild strawberries
CHAMBORD A french liqueur made from small black raspberries
CHARTREUSE A famous herbal French liqueur still produced by the Carthusian monks in France from a formula dating back to 1605 and containing 130 herbs and spices. This exquisite liqueur is available in two colors: yellow and green.
CHASER A mixer that is tossed down the throat after one has drunk a straight shot of whiskey or other spirit instead of being combined with a spirit in the glass. The origonal chaser was a boiler-maker, which was a shot and a beer.
CHERI-SUISSE A Swiss liqueur that tastes like chocolate covered cherries.
CHERRY MARNIER A French cherry liqueur with a hint of almond
COBBLER A tall summer style drink that consists of ice, wine or liqueur, and a considerable variety of fruit slices, cherries, berries, and so forth.
COGNAC A type of brandy that is produced only in the Cognac region of western France and is universally recognized as the finest and most elegant liqueur in the world. Not a drop of any other wine or brandy is ever allowed to enter a bottle of Cognac. The Cognac region is divided into six districts, with the Cognac of Grand Champagne considered the best. Cognac is coded on the label by the following letters: V (very), S (superior), O (old), P (pale), E (extra or especial), F (fine), X (extra). French law states that Cognac with 3 stars be aged at least 1½ years old to be rated VS & 4 years to be rated VSOP (althought 7-10 years is pretty common). By french law the words Extra, Napolean, Reserve and Vieille may not appear on the label unless the cognac has been aged at least 5½ years.
COINTREAU A fine, colorless, orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried skins of Curaçao oranges grown on the island of the same name in the Dutch West Indies. The Generic term is Curaçao, and if redistilled clear is called triple sec.
COLLINS Tall, cool punch-like drinks. Any basic liquor with lime or lemon juice, over ice cubes in a frosted glass and sugar and soda water added. (Tom=Gin, John=Whiskey, Joe=Scotch)
COOLER A low alcohol drink consisting of either white or red wine mixed with either 7-UP, ginger-ale, club soda and or a citrus juice. Commercially bottled coolers of the latter variety have become extremely popular in recent years.
CORDIALS Sweetened spirits distilled from fruits, seeds, herbs & peels, same as liqueur.
CREAM OF COCONUT A coconut syrup used in many exotic drinks.
CREME DE… An all-purpose term indicating a liqueur in which one flavor is dominant. flavors include almond, celery, d’anana (pineapple), noisette (hazelnut), mocha (coffee), rose (vanilla and roses), the` (tea), fraise (strawberry) and violette/yvette (violets)
CREME DE BANANA A sweet liqueur flavored with bananas.
CREME DE COCOA A rich, chocolate-flavored liqueur, made from cacao and vanilla beans, quite sweet and syrupy, available in two colors: white & brown.
CREME DE CASSIS A dark, medium-sweet liqueur flavored with black currants.
CREME DE MENTHE A mint-flavored moderately sweet liqueur that comes in green or white.
CREME DE NOYAUX A liqueur made from fruit pits that possesses a bitter almond taste.
CREME YVETTE A very sweet, violet-flavored liqueur, made in the United States by Jacquin.
CUARENTE Y TRES A brandy based liquor from Spain containing 43 ingredients and a hint of vanilla. Also known as Licor 43.
CURAÇAO Generic term for liqueur made from the dried skins of small green bitter curaçao oranges. Curaçao may be blue, white, or orange in color. The taste is the same for all three.
DRAMBUIE A famous whiskey liqueur consisting of Highland malt scotch whiskey, heather honey, & herbs.
DRY A term applied to any form of wine or liqueur to denote a lack of sweetness. “Dry” champagne is, however, not as free of sugar as “brut”
EGG WHITE An egg white is an excellent way to put a head on a drink. It also cuts harshness and makes for a smoother taste. Always add the egg white before the liquor.
EZRA BROOKS A quality tennessee whiskey.
FALERNUM A sweet syrup of Caribbean origin made from ginger, almonds, limes, and other various fruits and herbs. Falernum, like grenadine, contains little or no alcohol, and is used to flavor or sweeten mixed drinks.
FERNET-BRANCA An extremely bitter Italian herbal apertif or digestif made from cinchoma bark, gentium, rhubarb, calamus, angelica, myrrh, chamomile and peppermint. It is often employed as a stomach settler and/or hangover remedy. It’s classified as bitters.
FINLANDIA A high-proof (94) popular vodka imported from Finland.
FIX A sour drink, usually made with pineapple syrup and crushed ice.
FIZZES Made from liquor, citris juices and sugar. Shaken with ice and strained into a highball glass. Soda “fizz” water is then added. Any carbonated beverage even champagne may be used.
FLIPS An egg nog and fizz combination. Made with liquor, egg, sugar, and shaved ice, shaken well, and Sprinkled with nutmeg.
FORBIDDEN FRUIT An American liqueur made from shaddock (grapefruit) and cognac
FRAISETTEE Cordial made from alcoholic syrup, white wine and strawberries.
FRAMBOISE Cordial made from raspberries,with high a alcohol content.
FRANGELICO A hazelnut liqueur from Italy.
FRAPPES A drink made by packing a glass with crushed ice and pouring liqueur over it.
GALLIANO A sweetish, golden, Italian liqueur with an herby, spicy taste.
GEORGE DICKEL A quality Tennessee whiskey.
GIN Gin is basically grain alcohol, mostly corn (75%) with some malted barley (15%) and other grains (10%) thrown in. It is then redistilled with or through juniper berries and botanicals such as coriander seed, cassia bark, orange peels, fennel seeds, anise, caraway, angelica root, inis root, licorice, lemon peel, almonds, cassia bark, cardomann seeds, cinnoman bark, bergomat and cocoa. It is this secondary process that imparts to each gin its particular taste. Most of the gin now produced is London dry, which is clean light, unsweet, and perfect for making for martinis. The Dutch still produce a sweeter, more robust version of their own called Hollands gin, which, while is unsuitable for mixing purposes is drunk neat and cold. Gin does not require aging.
GLENFIDDICH A famous high-quality single malt brand of unblended Scotch whiskey made by William Grant of Glenfiddich in the Glenlivet region of the Scottish Highlands.
GLENLIVET The greatest name in Scotch whiskey. The ultra whiskey-producing area in scotland is a 900 square mile chunk of territory on the river spey in the eastern portion of the Scottish highlands. It is there that the most famous whiskeys are produced in the Glenlivet style.
GOLDEN RUM Also known as anejo, a light-bodied rum of golden color from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This rum, though still of the light bodied type, has more taste and pronounced character than white rum.
GOLDWASSER Orinally made by Danzig in 1598, goldwasser is a spicy citrus flavored liqueur with 22k gold flakes mixed in.
GRAIN-NEUTRAL SPIRITS Otherwise known as grain alcohol, alcohol distilled from grain at 190 proof. Colorless and tasteless, it is used in making blended whiskeys and, as well as gin, gin, vodka, homemade liqueurs and other liquors.
GRAND MARNIER An orange-flavored cognac based French liqueur of the curaçao type.
GRAPPA An Italian brandy distilled from the pulpy mass of skins, pits, stalks left in the wine press after the juice of the grapes have been extracted. Young grappa is fairly fiery, but mellows with age.
GRENADINE A sweet syrup flavoring for drinks made from pomegranate juice, containing little or no alcohol.
GROG Originally a mixture of rum and water that was issued to sailors in the royal navy and later improved with the addition of lime juice and sugar. Now a grog is any kind of drink usually made with a rum base, fruit and various sweeteners and served hot or cold in a large mug or glass .
HIGHBALLS Any liquor served with ice, soda, plain water, ginger-ale or other carbonated beverages.
HOLLANDS GIN (Genievive) The type of old-style gin still produced and favored by the Dutch. Hollands gin is hearty, robust, and sweet, not for mixing. The Dutch like it cold and neat, often with herring.
IRISH MIST A famous liqueur produced in Ireland, consisting of Irish whiskey and heather honey.
IRISH WHISKEY The Irish have been making whiskey for 700 years and are said to have invented the stuff. The main difference between Irish and Scotch whiskey is that Irish Whisky is entirely lacking in the smoky taste that characterizes Scotch. The reason for this is that the Scots use peat in the kilns in which they dry their malt, while the Irish use coal. Irish whiskey is distilled from a grain mixture that consists of malted as well as unmalted barley, along with small proportions of wheat, oats, and rye. Irish whiskey tends to be old (at least seven years) and more mature than Scotch, probably because it is not purchased at the same rate as Scotch. Full-bodied, unblended Irish whiskeys produced in pot stills have a very pronounced character, which makes them very unpopular with many american palates. There are many blended Irish whiskeys that are lighter and less strong in character. The distillery at Bushmills in County Antrim dates from 1608 and is believed to be the oldest in the world. Irish whiskey is unique in that it is the only whiskey distilled 3 times.
JACK DANIEL’S A whiskey of the bourbon type, made in Tennessee, which is perhaps the most famous whiskey made in America. The Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, dates from 1866 and is the oldest registered distillery in the United States. Jack Daniel’s is made according to the sour-mash process, mellowed by a process of filtration through sugar maple charcoal.
JAEGERMEISTER This complex, aromatic concoction containing some 56 herbs, roots and fruits has been popular in germany since its introduction in 1878. It may be used as cocktail bitters but is more frequently consumed as an apertif or after dinner drink.
JAMAICAN RUM Full-bodied, pungent rum, dark in color, and decidedly heavier and richer in taste than light bodied rums produced elsewhere in the Caribbean. High-quality Jamaican rums, such as Myer’s, are usually drunk straight.
JULEPS Made with Kentucky bourbon and fresh mint leaves (muddled, crushed or whole), served in an ice frosted glass with shaved ice and a mint garnish.
KAHLUA Coffee liqueur originating in Mexico made from mexican coffee beans.
KIRSCHWASSER A strong, dry black cherry fruit brandy made by both the Germans and the French.
KUMMEL A cordial liqueur of Dutch origin made from caraway seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and aniseed, with herb flavors added.
LIGHT RUM Rums lighter in body though not necessarily in color than their dark, heavy-bodied Jamaican cousins. Light rums may be white, “silver”, or golden in color. They usually hail from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Virgin Islands.
LIGHT WHISKEY American whiskey, lighter in taste and body than its conventional whiskey predecessors. It is distilled at a much higher proof (161 to 189) than traditional whiskeys and aged in reused barrels rather than in new charred barrels.
LILLET An increasingly popular French apertif, light and dry, that comes in two versions, white and red.
LIQUEUR An alcoholic beverage that is manufactured by adding flavorings such as strawberry, orange, or almond to a distilled spirit. the flavorings can be added in one of three fashions; steeping, percolating/filtering, and redistilling. Combinations of flavors, such as mint, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee are also used. Because of the way they are produced, the differences in quality among liqueurs are dramatic. Some liqueurs, especially those manufactured in Europe, are still made by natural processes and contain natural ingredients. Unfortunately, many of the larger liqueur firms, including most American firms, use chemical flavor concentrates in the manufacture of their liqueurs. Where such chemical concentrates are used, the law stipulates that the liqueur must be designated on the label as “artificial”, or “imitation”. One line of liqueurs still manufactured entirely by natural process is France’s Marie Brizard, Bols of Holland (which makes superb triple-sec, and curaçao), and the original Amaretto di Saronne.
LIQUOR Alcoholic beverage most often distilled, rather than fermented.
LONDON DRY GIN The type of clear dry gin popular in Britain and the United States, highly suited to mixing drinks in general and martinis in particular.
LOW BALL A short drink consisting of spirits served with ice alone, or with water or soda in a short glass. Also known as an on-the-rocks or old-fashioned.
MALIBU A jamaican coconut flavored rum liqueur.
MANDERINE NAPOLEAN A liqueur made from manderine orange flavored cognac.
MARASCHINO A very sweet white cherry liqueur made from the marasca cherry of dalmatia, Yugoslavia. This liqueur is sometimes used in sours in place of sugar.
MARIE BRIZARD French producer of high quality liqueurs.
METAXA A strong, sharp-tasting, aromatic Greek brandy.
MIDORI MELON LIQUEUR A pale green liqueur of Japaneese origin that tastes of fresh muskmelon or cantaloupe.
MIST A glass packed with crushed ice to which spirits are added, usually straight.
MULL A warm drink containing wine, sugar, spices, and possibly a liquor. Also a verb meaning to warm, spice, and sweeten, a technique that is applied to both wine and ale.
MYER’S RUM A famous line of high-quality dark Jamaican rums.
NAPOLEAN BRANDY The term is related to age and usually means a cognac that is at least 5 years old.
NEAT A straight shot of any spirit taken in a single gulp, usually without any accompaniment, also called a shooter.
NOILLY PRAT An excellent and well known brand of French dry vermouth that is perfectly suited to the making of dry martinis.
ORANGE BITTERS Made from the dried peel of the bitter Seville oranges, orange bitters are less aromatic and fruitier then the more popular and sophisticated Angostura bitters.
ORANGE FLOWER WATER A light, non-alcoholic preparation based on the oil of orange blossoms, used as a flavoring in drinks.
ORGEAT A syrup with a pronounced almond flavor.
OUZO an anise flavored liqueur of Greece, usually served on the rocks. Also an Absinthe substitute.
PARFAIT AMOUR Cordial made of citron, cinnamon, coriander, and brandy.
PASSION FRUIT A liqueur made in Hawaii from peaches or mangos.
PEANUT LOLITA A liqueur made from peanuts.
PEAR LIQUEUR A Hungarian made liqueur, some even have a pear in the bottle.
PEPPERMINT SCHNAPPS A mint flavored liqueur similar to creme de menthe, but lighter bodied and less sweet.
PERNOD A famous French anise-flavored liqueur and Absinthe substitute.
PERRIER A highly effervescent bottled water that the French use in highballs instead of club soda. It has a sharp edge that works well as a counterpoint to the stickiness of fruit juices. Highly popular on this side of the Atlantic, Perrier can be taken alone or with lime juice.
PETER HEERING A famous, deep red, cherry-flavored liqueur made in Denmark, formerly known as Cherry Heering.
PEYCHOUD’S BITTERS Made in louisiana from an old closely guarded french family recipe. It is a pungent anise flavored bitter.
PICK-ME-UP Any concoction designed to allay the effects of overindulgence in alcaholic beverages.
PIMM’S CUP A Pimm’s No. 1 is a liqueur-style prepackaged preperation with a gin base. Pimm’s No. 2 has a whiskey base, while No. 3 is a rum base and No. 4 a brandy base.
POUSSE-CAFE A sweet, multilayered after-dinner drink. Success in making it depends upon keeping each layer seperate and distinct from the others-a neat trick. The secret is knowing the relative heaviness of of the various liquids that make up the Pousse-cafe.
PRALINES A New Orleans liqueur that recreates the butter pecan/brown sugar/vanilla flavor of the traditional praline candy
PROOF The measure of the strength of the alcohol. one degree of proof equals one-half of one percent of alcohol. I.E., 80 proof is 40% alcohol.
PRUNELLA A liqueur made from meat, plum pits, figs, and vanilla beans.
RICKEY A drink that is a cross between a collins and a sour. It consists of lime or lemon juice, club soda, and alcohol. Unlike the collins and sour, it contains no added sugar.
ROCK AND RYE A fruit juice that combines rock candy, rye whiskey and fruit slices.
RUM Rum can be made from 2 different raw materials: it can be distilled directly from the fermented juice of crushed sugar cane, or, once the sugar is extracted, it can be made from the remaining molasses. Some rums contain dunder, which is a residue from the previous distillation and makes for a more pungent product. Three main types of rum are made in the West Indies today. Very light(white or silver) rums hail from the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico. These require little aging and are relatively tasteless and oderless. Golden rum, also known as anejo, though still of the light-bodied type, has more taste and pronounced character. Darker, aromatic, full bodied rums such as Myer’s are produced in Jamaica. These are distilled by a slower and different fermentation process, which allows for a fuller richer, molasses like body to develop. All rum is colerless when first distilled, and those that are aged for only a year are often colored with caremel. Even heavy bodied rums that are aged in charred oak casks for as long as twenty years are subject to artificial coloring. Medium and heavy bodied rums are usually aged between two and twenty years.
RYE The oldest native American whiskey, originally manufactured in the 1600s by Scotch and Irish settlers in New York. Rye is a very full bodied drink with a pronounced character, and perhaps for that reason, it has faded in popularity in the land of its origin to the point where it lags behind all other varities of whiskey in consumption. Many people confuse rye with blended whiskey, but the two are far from being the same. Rye must be made with at least 51% rye grain, the rest being corn and barley. Rye is aged in in new charred oak barrels for at least 2 years.
SABRA An orange flavored liqueur with a hint of chocolate, from Israel.
SAKE This traditional drink of Japan, a bit on the sweet side, is commonly referred to as “rice wine”, when in fact it is actually rice beer. Although it resembles a wine in taste and appearance, it is not made from grapes. It is fermented from rice and malted barley. Sake is usually served warm, as the heat brings out its superior bouquet.
SAMBUCA An Italian liqueur flavored with anise. The Italians often serve it “with flies”, which is actually 3 or 4 coffee beans on top of a glass of sambucca which is then flamed.
SANGAREE Made with whiskey, gin, rum, or brandy, with port wine floated on top, or with wine, ale porter or stout, with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
SCHNAPPS The word “schnapps” (from the German Schnappen, to snap) refers to a mixture of vodka, gin, brandy or other spirit. In Scandanavia the word is snaps and almost always means Akvavit. In the U.S. the term has taken on a new meaning to identify a whole new generation of intensely flavored, sweet, inexpensive liqueurs of moderate strength (22 to 30% alcohol by volume). The Dekuyper brands of Applebarrel and Peachtree schnapps, while not the first in the U.S market,are generally credited with launching the schnapps craze due to a technical breakthrough that yielded a fresh rather than cooked fruit flavor. Other flavors such as cola, cinnamon, rootbeer, tropical(hot shot), butter scotch, strawberry hazelnut, lemonade, apricot, peppermint, blueberry, bubble gum, tequila, and numerous others are making the schnapps a dominant force in the liqueur market. The most unique schnapps has to be Gold schnapps, which is peppermint schnapps with very fine flakes of gold foil added in.
SCOTCH Scotch whiskey is produced only in Scotland. Some Scotch whiskeys sold in the United States are produced in Scotland and then bottled in the U.S. Most are blends of malt whiskeys and grain whiskeys and typically contain the products of fifty or more distilleries, with the better and more expensive brands containing more malt than grain. Some Scotches are blends of different malts and these are known as vatted malts. In recent years, unblended scotches or single malts like Glenfiddich have achieved a considerable popularity.
SHOOTER A straight shot of spirits taken neat.
SLINGS Made like sangarees with the addition of lemon juice and a twist of lemon peel. Served in an old fashioned glass.
SLIVOVITZ A brandy made from plums, fermented and distilled. Very high alcohol content.
SLOE GIN Sloe gin is a liqueur made from the sloe berry, a kind of small, wild plum, which is soaked in gin.
SMASHES Small juleps, served in an old fashioned glass. Made from muddled sugar, ice cubes, whiskey, gin, rum or brandy and soda water.
SOUR MASH The term is usually applied to bourbon whiskey; this whiskey is made from a blended grain mash consisting of new mash and a portion of mash from a preceding mash.
SOURS Made of lemon juice,ice, sugar, with any basic liquor.
SOUTHERN COMFORT The oldest American liqueur, well known the world over, Southern Comfort is a blend of bourbon, peaches, and peach liqueur. It is dry and strong (100 proof) as liqueurs go. Produced in St. Louis.
STEINHAGER A German gin
STOLICHNAYA A high quality vodka produced in the Soviet Union and favored by many serious vodka drinkers on the other side of the iron curtain, where they enjoy vodka without mixers of any type. Some store their Stoli in the freezer, where it thickens up slightly, and serve it in chilled liqueur glasses.
STRAIGHT WHISKEY In the United States, a blended straight whiskey is a blend of several mature rye or bourbon whiskeys, as opposed to a blended whiskey in which bourbon or rye whiskey is mixed with an inferior whiskey or a grain-neutral spirit.
STREGA Cordial made from orange peel, spices and very strong spirits, very sweet. Italian in origin.
SWEDISH PUNCH (Caloric Punch) a Scandanavian liqueur made from batavia, arak, tea, lemon peel and 70 other spices. Also called caloric punch for its warming properties.
SWIZZLE Originally a tall rum cooler filled with cracked ice that was swizzled with a long twig or stirring rod or spoon rotated rapidly between the palms of the hands to produce frost on the glass.
TENNESSEE WHISKEY Tennessee whiskey is made in the same way as a sour-mash bourbon whiskey except that the tennessee whiskey is filtered through charcoal from hard Tennessee maple trees.
TEQUILA Tequila is a product of the mezcal plant. (specifically the blue agave) One misconception is that mezcal and mescaline are related; only the words mezcal and mescal are alike. All tequilas are mezcals, but the very finest of the mezcals. True tequila is produced in a very small region of Mexico, around the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. Tequila must be distilled at least twice, and quality gold tequilas are aged in wood three years. Jose Cuervo, a high quality tequila is widely available in the United States and is usually drunk straight. Harsher, white tequilas are often treated with the “three pals” or los tres cuates treatment, in which the participant takes a good lick of salt from the back of his hand, knocks back a slug of tequila, and then quickly sucks on a lemon or lime slice. The tequila’s that have met the Mexican standard of quality are stamped DGN on the label. Mezcals are not regulated like tequila is and often harsher tasting, plus there’s the worm in the bottom.
TIA MARIA A coffee flavored liqueur from Jamaica. Dryer than Kahlua, Tia Maria is Jamaican rum based and flavored with spices.
TODDY Originally a hot drink made with spirits, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cloves, etc and a lemon peel mixed with hot water and served in a tall glass. Toddy’s can also be cold.
TONIC WATER Another term for quinine water, and a great mixer.
TRIPLE SEC A highly popular sweetener and flavoring agent in many drinks, triple-sec is the best known form of curaçao, a liquer made from the skins of the curaçao orange. Cointreau is a high quality brand of triple sec.
TUACA Italian brandy based liqueur flavored with vanilla, citrus, almond, coconut, orange and cocoa.
VANDERMINT A liquid after dinner chocolate mint is the best way to describe this liqueur from the netherlands.
VERMOUTH Though the product is mostly an Italian/French undertaking, the word comes to us from the German Vermutwein, meaning wormwood wine. While wormwood is indeed one of the many botanicals that goes into its manufacture, vermouth has escaped the stigma that has followed absinthe. Actually, vermouth is a highly sophisticated product of a great many botanical flavorings such as cloves, nutmeg, seeds, marjoram, angelica root, gentian, nutmeg, linden, elder flower, iris root, citrus peels, and over a hundred others. The French (dry)make it by selecting and combining their botanicals, then pouring mixture of fortified wine and mistelles over them. The brew is allowed to steep for a few weeks; the wine is then drawn off and the process repeated until all the flavor has been extracted from the botanicals. A selection of these flavored wines are blended together and then mixed with unflavored wines, Brandy is added to raise the alcohol level, and the vermouth is chilled almost to the freezing point to eliminate any sediment. The Italian (sweet) vermouth is red, richer in flavor and more syrupy.
VODKA By United States law, vodka must be colorless, odorless, and tasteless, a combination that has made it the great universal mixer of our time and the most popular selling spirit today with 18% of the market. Vodka was unknown in the U.S. 40 years ago and yet it has been around since the 14th century in Russia when at one time there were 4000 brands available. That and the fact that it is less likely to induce a hangover or show up on ones breath than other varities of alcoholic drinks have combined to make it the most popular spirit in the United States. A popular myth about vodka is that it is made from potatoes. Though it was made that way in the past and could still be made that way, it is usually made from grain-wheat, corn, or rye. The grain is crushed and mixed with water to produce the mash, which is then infused with yeast. Once fermentation takes place, it is then put through a continous still to obtain the purest possible grain-nuetral spirit. Water is added to reduce its alcoholic content to 40 or 50% (80 or 100 proof). There is no aging.
WHISKEY The Irish invented it and in Gaelic, it means “the water of life”. In the Unites States and Ireland, the word is spelled with an e, the British, Scots, and the Canadians usually drop the e. All basic whiskeys, whatever the type, are made from one type of grain or another Straight whiskeys are bottled from the casks in which they are aged, with water added to reduce their proof. Blended whiskeys are of two types: Blended straight whiskeys are a blend or combination of different straight whiskeys of the same general type. Many Scotches and bourbons fit this description. However, “blended whiskeys” as the term is used in the United States, refers to whiskeys in which a straight whiskey has been blended with grain nuetral spirits. The basic varieties of whiskey are blended, bourbon, Canadian, corn, rye, Scotch and Tennessee. The grains used to make whiskey are corn, rye, wheat and barley.
YUKON JACK A Canadian whiskey based liqueur, flavored with citrus and herbs.