Cocktail Glossary

Cocktails can mean many things to many people. They can symbolize celebration. They can evoke feelings of fun or sophistication. Or they can simply be a great way to unwind and relax after a hard day's work. To us, what matters is that you enjoy the cocktails you drink.

Below are some common terms often used when talking about cocktails. A cocktail glossary, if you will, to help in your journey. Cheers!



Alcohol By Volume (ABV) is the percentage of alcohol in a beverage. It's helpful in letting you know how ambitious you should be in planning your next day's agenda.


Powerful infusions of spices, herbs and botanicals, bitters are used to add flavor and complexity to cocktails. They are a holdover from when cocktails were seen as medicinal in nature, as opposed to just delicious. That's why some include exotic ingredients like quassia bark or gentian root.

Boston Shaker

The preferred choice of professional bartenders, the Boston Shaker consists of two cups, one bigger than the other. Together they create a liquid-tight seal that allows for secure, rapid shaking of cocktails.

Bottled Cocktails

Also referred to as ready-to-drink cocktails or pre-mixed cocktails, bottled cocktails take the guess work and hassle out of enjoying a cocktail at home. There's nothing to mix, measure or mess up, allowing you more time to hang with your guests, dive into your latest streaming TV show obsession, or just put your feet up and relax.

Built Drink

Built drinks are cocktails that are made right in the glass by adding one ingredient after the other - no mixing or shaking involved. Because of this method, built cocktails are simple and fast to construct. However, built cocktails typically have high ABVs being made with a couple of different spirits, so take the time to slowly sip and savor them!


An alcoholic drink comprised of several different ingredients like distilled spirits, fruit juices and botanicals and spices. That makes our mouths water just thinking of it.

Cocktail Shaker

Also called a standard shaker, this bar tool is seen everywhere from Bond films to your local cocktail bar. Usually with a built-in strainer, these shakers are great for making cold cocktails shaken with ice.

When cocktails are shaken with ice, small ice crystals become incorporated into the drink, adding to its mouth feel. Shakers come in several kinds such as the three-piece shaker, also known as a cobbler shaker, the Boston Shaker and the Parisian Shaker.

Coupe Glass

A glass with a broad, shallow bowl and thin stem, the coupe has seen a come-back in recent years due to the craft cocktail movement. However, its history dates back to the 17th century when it was originally designed to enjoy sparkling wine. This was before people discovered that champagne flutes, with their narrower shape, were better suited for the bubbly drink. The still classy coupe is a popular alternative to the standard cocktail glass for shaken or stirred cocktails.


"Dirty" is most commonly used in reference to Martinis and describing the addition of a little olive brine into the cocktail. We're a fan of the Dirty Martini as the olive brine gives an extra salty complexity of flavor to the spirit and vermouth.

Double Old-Fashioned Glass

This is the larger format of the traditional Old-Fashioned glass that holds 6 to 8 oz. The Double can hold 12 to 14 oz. Like its smaller counterpart, the Double is great for built drinks.


Dry refers to the lack of sweetness in the beverage. When used in reference to a Martini as it often is, dry means less or no Vermouth is added so the finished cocktail is less sweet.


A classy sounding term, "expressing" means squeezing or twisting a piece of citrus peel to free its fragrant oils into or above your cocktail. This can add complexity and aromatic nuances to the drink.

Hawthorne Strainer

We always think of a Slinky when looking at one of these strainers. Hawthorne strainers are easily identifiable by the curved spring around its edge that keeps it secure in mixing glasses and shaking tins. Some have a split in the pouring slit allowing you to pour two cocktails at once. Talk about a boss move.

Highball Glass

This no-nonsense glass is tall, slim and straight-sided. It comes in an 8 to 10 oz size and a larger version that holds 12 to 14 oz. As its name suggests, it’s most often used for highball cocktails or drinks with a high proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer. This includes cold, refreshing drinks like the Gin and Tonic, Mojito and Moscow Mule that don’t require shaking and are served with lots of ice. The tall and narrow shape of the glass also keeps fizzy cocktails bubbly for longer as it limits the surface area of the drink exposed to the air. The highball glass is similar to the Collins glass, with the highball being shorter and wider.


A bartending tool, the jigger is used for quick measurements of liquid cocktail ingredients. Typically they are double-sided with 0.5 and 1.0 oz sizes.

Martini Glass

Different from cocktail glasses, martini glasses have larger, wider bowls that are fully conical at the bottom.


The act of crushing and pressing fruits and herbs to release flavors in cocktail making.


Used in the making of many drinks like Mojitos and Caipirinhas, muddlers function like pestles. They crush fruits and herbs in a cocktail to release their wonderful flavors and oils.


A drink served "neat" describes a drink containing one liquor poured into your glass without any mixers or other additions, not even ice. Simple and perfect, this allows you to really savor your spirit of choice in its purest form.

Old-Fashioned Glass

This short, stocky, straight-sided glass is named after the Old-Fashioned cocktail. The traditional old-fashioned glass holds 6 to 8 oz, whereas a double can hold 12 to 14 oz. Its heavy bottom makes it a great choice for cocktails that require muddling, while its short stature makes it ideal for smaller, higher proof pours.

The old-fashioned glass is most often used for built drinks or drinks that are not shaken, but made in the same glass they are served. It’s also great for pours of individual liquors like whiskey, as the wide brim helps one appreciate the complex aromas. Other names for this type of glass are Whiskey Glass, Rocks Glass and Tumbler.


Alcohol proof indicates the amount of alcohol present in a beverage. Proof in the United States is equal to double the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of the product. For example, our 10% ABV bottled cocktails are 20 proof.


"Rocks" is a common colloquialism for ice. Enjoying your drink "on the rocks" means drinking it over ice. We recommend you drink our bottled cocktails over ice or "on the rocks" as well.


Shaking a cocktail is a common technique used to mix the cocktail components, but it does a lot more than that. When your cocktail is shaken, the vigorous agitation aerates the drink, adding tiny bubbles that enhance the mouth feel. When shaken with ice, the cocktail is not only chilled, but also incorporates micro ice shards that further add to the body of your drink.

Shot Glass

These sturdy little glasses usually hold a "shot" or 1.5 oz of liquid. They can also be used as a jigger for measuring out ingredients in a cocktail. Most often it's the go-to glass for drinking anything that’s best downed in one gulp.


Tinctures are similar to bitters in that they deliver added flavor to cocktails. But unlike bitters that have a mixture of flavors that play off each other, tinctures focus on one flavor that can pack a punch.


In the lexicon of cocktail ordering, "with a twist" means the addition of a thin piece of citrus peel - usually lemon.