glossary of drinking terms

Glossary of Drinking Words

Whether you are a newbie, wannabe or a connoisseur, as long as you love your drink, or have buddies who do (else why would you be here?), it is always useful to know a bit about your/ their favorite drinks. So here is a list of some drinking words and what they mean – use it to impress your buddies, test your knowledge, or just to know what you’re drinking- but most of all, have fun with it!


 The process of exposing wine to air, allowing it to "breathe" and release its aromas.


 A style of rum made from fresh sugarcane juice rather than molasses, often produced in the French Caribbean.


 A type of beer brewed using a warm fermentation method, resulting in a wide range of flavors and styles.


 An Italian herbal liqueur often consumed as a digestif, characterized by its bitter-sweet flavor profile.


 A classic cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water.


 A type of sherry that has been aged under a layer of yeast (flor) and then oxidatively, resulting in a nutty, amber-colored wine.


 A term used to describe aged tequila or rum, typically indicating a minimum aging period of one year.

Angel’s Share:

 The portion of a distilled spirit that evaporates during the aging process, typically accounting for a 2-3% loss per year.


 A light, alcoholic drink served before a meal to stimulate the appetite.


 A legally defined and protected geographical area used to identify where grapes for a wine are grown.


 A type of brandy produced in the Armagnac region of France, made from specific grape varieties and aged in oak barrels.


 A mouth-drying sensation caused by tannins, often experienced when drinking wine or certain spirits.


 A non-alcoholic beverage served alongside a shot of liquor, intended to be sipped between sips of the spirit.


 A strong, full-bodied ale with a high alcohol content and malt character, often aged for an extended period.

Barrel Aging:

 The process of storing a spirit, wine, or beer in wooden barrels to develop complex flavors and characteristics.

Barrel Proof:

 A term used to describe a spirit bottled directly from the barrel without dilution, resulting in a higher alcohol content.


 A French term for a small oak barrel used for aging wine, typically with a capacity of 225 liters.


 A person who mixes and serves alcoholic drinks at a bar.


 A winemaking technique involving stirring the lees (dead yeast cells) during aging to add richness and complexity.

Bière de Garde:

 A French farmhouse ale traditionally brewed in the winter and spring, characterized by its malt-forward profile and cellar-like flavors.


 A holistic approach to farming, which includes organic practices and considers the vineyard as an interconnected ecosystem.


 A concentrated, highly aromatic liquid made from infusing herbs, spices, and other botanicals in alcohol, used in small amounts to add complexity to cocktails.

Blanc de Blancs:

 A Champagne or sparkling wine made exclusively from white grapes, typically Chardonnay.

Blanc de Noirs:

 A Champagne or sparkling wine made exclusively from black grapes, typically Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier.


 A term meaning "white" in French, often used in the names of white wines or grape varieties.


 A mixture of different grape varieties, regions, or vintages to create a harmonious wine or spirit.


 A term used to describe the weight and mouthfeel of a drink, often wine or spirits.

Bottle Aging:

 The process of allowing a wine to mature in the bottle, enabling the development of complex flavors and aromas over time.


 An American whiskey primarily made from corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels.


 A distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice, most commonly grapes.

Cabernet Sauvignon:

 A popular red grape variety known for producing full-bodied wines with flavors of black currant and bell pepper.


 A French apple brandy produced in the Calvados region of Normandy.

Cask Strength:

 A term used to describe a spirit bottled directly from the cask without dilution, resulting in a higher alcohol content.


 A sparkling wine produced exclusively in the Champagne region of France, made primarily from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes.


 A versatile white grape variety used to produce a range of wine styles, from crisp and unoaked to rich and buttery.


 A French herbal liqueur made by Carthusian monks, available in both green and yellow varieties.


 A drink consumed immediately after a shot of hard liquor, usually to mask the strong taste.


 A British term for a red Bordeaux wine.


 A mixed drink typically containing a spirit, mixer, and other flavorings.


 A type of brandy produced in the Cognac region of France, made from specific grape varieties and aged in oak barrels.


 A family of cocktails made with a base spirit, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water, served in a tall glass with ice.


 A tool used to remove corks from wine bottles.


 A blend or batch of wine, often used to describe a specific bottling or style.


 A glass container used to aerate and serve wine, allowing sediment to separate from the liquid.


 A term used to describe a wine with a moderate level of sweetness, typically found in Champagne or sparkling wine.


 An alcoholic beverage consumed after a meal to aid digestion, often rich and sweet in flavor.


 A term used to describe a cocktail, typically a martini, made with olive brine for a salty flavor.


 The process of separating alcohol from a liquid mixture by heating and cooling.


 The process of separating and concentrating the alcohol in a fermented liquid through heating and cooling.


 A descriptor for a wine or cocktail with little to no residual sugar, often used to indicate a less sweet taste.

Eau de Vie:

 A clear, colorless fruit brandy produced by fermenting and distilling fruit juices.


 A strong, dark German lager created by partially freezing the beer and removing the ice to concentrate the flavors and alcohol content.

En Rama:

 A term used to describe unfiltered and minimally treated sherry, bottled directly from the cask for a fresher, more intense flavor.


 The chemical conversion of sugars into alcohol by yeast.


 A type of Italian amaro with a bitter, herbal flavor profile, often consumed as a digestif.


 Substances added to wine or beer to help clarify and stabilize the liquid by removing suspended particles.


 A family of cocktails that contain a base spirit, citrus juice, sugar, and soda water, served over ice.


 A tall, narrow glass used for serving sparkling wine, designed to preserve carbonation and showcase the wine’s bubbles.

Fortified Wine:

 A wine that has had a spirit, usually brandy, added during or after fermentation, resulting in a higher alcohol content and distinctive flavor.


 A large wooden barrel, typically used for aging wine or beer, with a capacity ranging from 1,000 to 15,000 liters.


 An edible decoration added to a drink, such as fruit or herbs.


 A classic cocktail made with gin or vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup.


 A distilled alcoholic beverage flavored with botanicals, including juniper berries.


 A Belgian sour beer made by blending young and old Lambics, then allowing them to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle.


 A type of cocktail served in a tall glass, typically with a spirit, ice, and a non-alcoholic mixer.


 A large barrel used for aging wine or spirits, typically with a capacity of 225-250 liters.

Ice Bucket:

 A container used to keep ice cubes or crushed ice cold and easily accessible for drink preparation.

Irish Whiskey:

 A whiskey produced in Ireland, typically made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley and aged in wooden barrels for at least three years.


 A Scottish island known for its distinctive peaty, smoky whiskies.


 A measuring tool used by bartenders to pour accurate amounts of liquid.


 A family of cocktails, most famously the Mint Julep, made with a base spirit, sugar, and fresh mint, served over crushed ice.


 A type of beer brewed at low temperatures, usually light and crisp in flavor.


 A Belgian sour beer spontaneously fermented by wild yeast and bacteria, often aged in wooden barrels and blended or flavored with fruit.


 The sediment, primarily consisting of dead yeast cells, that settles at the bottom of a fermenting vessel during winemaking or brewing.


 The rivulets of liquid that cling to the sides of a glass after swirling, used to assess the alcohol content and viscosity of a wine or spirit.


 A sweet, flavored spirit, typically made by infusing or macerating fruits, herbs, or spices in alcohol and adding sugar.

Long Finish:

 A term used to describe a wine or spirit with a lingering aftertaste, often indicative of high quality.


 The process of soaking crushed grapes, fruit, or other botanicals in a liquid to extract flavors, colors, and tannins.


 A fortified wine produced on the island of Madeira, known for its distinctive oxidized character and high acidity.

Malolactic Fermentation:

 A secondary fermentation process in winemaking that converts malic acid to softer lactic acid, often used to reduce acidity and create a smoother, creamier mouthfeel.


 A grain, often barley, used in brewing and distilling, which has been soaked, germinated, and dried.


 A classic cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.


 A French pomace brandy, similar to Italian grappa, made from the skins, seeds, and stems left over from winemaking.


 The mixture of crushed grains and hot water used in brewing or distilling to extract fermentable sugars.


 An alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey and water, often flavored with


 A popular red grape variety known for producing medium to full-bodied wines with flavors of plum and black cherry.


 A large-format wine or Champagne bottle with a capacity of six liters, equivalent to eight standard bottles.


 A distilled alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant, similar to tequila but produced in different regions of Mexico and with a distinctive smoky flavor.


 A small brewery that produces limited quantities of beer, often with a focus on unique flavors and artisanal techniques.


 A non-alcoholic beverage used to dilute and flavor a cocktail, such as soda or fruit juice.


 A classic Cuban cocktail made with white rum, lime juice, sugar, mint, and soda water.

Mulled Wine:

 A warm, spiced wine typically made with red wine, sugar, and a blend of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.


 A term used to describe a spirit served straight from the bottle without any mixers, ice, or water.


 A classic Italian cocktail made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.


 A flavor descriptor often used for wines or spirits aged in oak barrels, referring to the woody, vanilla, or spicy notes they can acquire.


 The science and study of wine and winemaking.

Old Fashioned:

 A classic whiskey cocktail made with sugar, bitters, and a citrus twist, served over ice.


 A type of sherry aged oxidatively, resulting in a darker, nuttier wine with a higher alcohol content.


 A term used to describe wines or spirits produced without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides.


 A chemical reaction that occurs when wine or spirits are exposed to oxygen, often resulting in changes in color, flavor, and aroma.


 A type of mezcal distilled with a raw chicken or turkey breast suspended in the still, imparting a savory, umami character to the spirit.


 Short for Pétillant Naturel, a naturally sparkling wine made using the ancestral method, in which the wine is bottled before the primary fermentation is complete.


 A type of pale lager beer, characterized by its golden color, crisp flavor, and light body.

Pinot Grigio:

 A popular white grape variety known for producing light, crisp wines with citrus and green apple flavors.

Pinot Noir:

 A red grape variety known for producing elegant, medium-bodied wines with flavors of red fruit and earth.


 A fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley of Portugal, typically sweet and often served as a dessert wine.


 A measurement of the alcohol content in a beverage, where the proof is double the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV).


 An aromatized wine fortified with quinine, used as an aperitif or cocktail ingredient.


 A term used to describe the unique, nutty, and oxidized flavor profile that develops in certain fortified wines and spirits as they age.


 A term used to describe tequila or rum that has been aged for a short period, typically between two months and one year.


 A white grape variety known for producing aromatic wines with high acidity, ranging from bone-dry to sweet.


 A type of wine made from red grapes, but with minimal skin contact during fermentation, resulting in a pinkish hue.


 A distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice.


 A Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, typically served warm or chilled.


 A popular Spanish drink made with red wine, fruit, and sweeteners, typically served chilled.

Sauvignon Blanc:

 A white grape variety known for producing crisp, refreshing wines with flavors of citrus, gooseberry, and grass.


 A classic New Orleans cocktail made with rye whiskey, sugar, absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters.


 A whisky produced in Scotland, typically made from malted barley and aged for a minimum of three years.

Screw Cap:

 A type of closure used on wine bottles as an alternative to traditional corks.


 A container used by bartenders to mix cocktails by shaking the ingredients together with ice.


 A fortified wine produced in the Jerez region of Spain, ranging from dry and crisp to sweet and nutty.


 A classic cocktail made with cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.

Single Malt:

 A term used to describe a whisky made from malted barley and produced at a single distillery.


 A system used for aging and blending wines or spirits, in which younger liquids are gradually mixed with older ones for consistency and complexity.


 A trained and knowledgeable wine professional, often working in fine-dining establishments.


 A family of cocktails made with a base spirit, citrus juice, and a sweetener, often including an egg white for a frothy texture.

Sparkling Wine:

 A wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide, giving it a fizzy texture. Champagne is a famous example of sparkling wine.


 A region in Scotland known for its whiskies, characterized by their fruity, floral, and often honeyed flavors.


 A small-format wine or Champagne bottle with a capacity of 187.5 milliliters, equivalent to one-quarter of a standard bottle.


 A red grape variety known for producing bold, full-bodied wines with flavors of black fruit, pepper, and spice.


 A group of compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, which can give wine a dry, puckering sensation in the mouth.


 A distilled alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily produced in the region around the city of Tequila, Mexico.


 The unique combination of environmental factors, such as climate, soil, and topography, that influence the flavor and character of a wine or spirit.


 The unique combination of factors, including soil, climate, and geography, that influence the flavor and characteristics of a wine.


 A style of cocktail originating in the mid-20th century, characterized by tropical flavors and elaborate garnishes.


 A thin strip of citrus peel, typically used as a garnish for cocktails.


 A wine made primarily from a single grape variety.

Vermouth di Torino:

 A protected designation of origin (PDO) for vermouth produced in the Piedmont region of Italy, characterized by a specific set of production standards and ingredients.


 An aromatized, fortified wine flavored with various botanicals, used as an ingredient in cocktails or served as an aperitif.


 An aromatized, fortified wine flavored with various botanicals, used as an ingredient in cocktails or served as an aperitif.


 A classic cocktail created by Ian Fleming in the James Bond novel, Casino Royale, made with gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet (or a substitute like Cocchi Americano).

Vieux Carré:

 A classic New Orleans cocktail made with rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters.


 The year in which a wine’s grapes were harvested.


 A clear, distilled alcoholic beverage originating from Russia and Poland, typically made from fermented grains or potatoes.

Whisky/ Whiskey:

 A distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash, aged in wooden barrels. The spelling varies depending on the country of origin.


 An alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice, typically categorized as red, white, or rosé.


 A term used to describe cognac or brandy that has been aged for a minimum of six years, indicating "extra old."


 A red grape variety, used to produce bold, fruit-forward wines, as well as the popular blush wine called White Zinfandel.


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