Absinthe: A once illegal anise based aperitif drink with an infusion of wormwood, considered by some to be hallucinogenic and dangerous. Brands now available are made without all of the dangerous ingredients.
Allspice: A ground spice made from an unripe berry with an aroma reminiscent of a cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg blend.
Amaretto: Almond flavored liqueur.
Amaretto di Saronno: Italian amaretto produced since 1525. Originally created by a widow as a gift to an artist of the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art.
Angostura Bitters: Aromatic bitters originating in Angostura, Venezuela; now produced in Trinidad.
Anisette: A licorice tasting liqueur made from the anise seed.
Aperitif: Originally referring to wine, but now may mean any liquor taken to stimulate the appetite before a meal.
Apricot Brandy: Apricot flavored brandy.
Applejack: North American name for apple brandy.
Aquavit: Scandinavian grain spirit, usually flavored with caraway and anise.
Armagnac: A type of brandy that has been distilled from wine made from grapes grown in the area surrounding the city of Condom, France.
Benedictine: An herb flavored liqueur produced by the Benedictine monks of France.
Bitters: A non-alcoholic aromatic combination of herbs, fruits, roots, barks, seeds, and flowers steeped in an alcohol base and then aged. (See Peychauds and Angostura.)
Black Raspberry Liqueur: A black raspberry flavored liqueur. (See Chambord.)
Blended straight whiskey: A blend consisting of only straight whiskeys.
Blended whiskey: A blending of straight whiskeys with either light-bodied whiskeys or with neutral alcohols.
Blue Curacao: Blue colored Dutch West Indian Curacao orange liqueur. Produced in Holland.
Bottled-in-bond whiskey: At least a 100 proof straight bourbon whiskey that has aged two or more years in a bonded warehouse kept under federal lock and key. All bottled-in-bond whiskey bears a green government stamp.
Bourbon Whiskey: American whiskey made by using at least 51% corn grain mash in a wheat, oats, rye, and barley combination.
Brandy: A product of the distillation of wine, or fruit in the case of flavored brandies such as peach or cherry. Cognac and Armagnac are special varieties made from grapes grown in specific areas of France.
Cachaca: A Brazilian sugar cane based spirit similar to rum.
Calvados: French apple brandy from Normandy.
Campari: An Italian brand of bitter aperitif wine.
Canadian Whiskey: A light-bodied whiskey balanced so that no one particular mash ingredient is allowed to dominate the flavor.
Chambord: A black raspberry flavored liqueur produced in Burgundy, France.
Chartreuse: Yellow and green herbal liqueurs made only by the Carthusian monks of La Grande Chartreuse, France. Produced since 1605 from a secret recipe consisting of over 100 alpine herbs.
Coco Lopez: A sweet, syrupy, coconut based drink mixer. Non Alcoholic.
Coffee Liqueur: Coffee flavored liqueur.
Cognac: A type of brandy that has been distilled from wine made from grapes grown in the area surrounding the cities of Cognac and Jarnac.
Cointreau: A French made, bitter-sweet orange flavored liqueur. Produced by the Cointreau family since 1849.
Cordial: A strong, highly flavored and sweet liquor typically consumed after a meal.
Corn whiskey: A whiskey made from a mash of at least 80% corn. May or may not be aged.
Crème: A thick and concentrated infusion of fruit in neutral grain spirits. Commonly made from Cassis, Frambois, but can be from any fruit or nut source.
Crème de Banana: Banana flavored liqueur.
Crème de Cacao: A white or brown colored liqueur made from cocoa beans, vanilla and spices.
Crème de Cassis: A French liqueur made from black currants.
Crème de Menthe: A red, green, or white colored, peppermint flavored liqueur.
Crème de Framboise: Raspberry-flavored liqueur.
Crème de Violette: Violet-flavored liqueur.
Curacao: Orange-flavored liqueur, produced mainly in France and the Netherlands, but originating from the Caribbean; an orange flavored liqueur made from the peels of oranges grown on the island of Curacao, in the West Indies.
Digestif: A liquor consumed at or after a meal to aid in digestion.
Drambuie: A Scotch based, honey flavored liqueur first produced in Skye, Scotland in 1745, now produced in Edinburgh.
Dry Vermouth: French made, herb flavored wine that is used in making drinks such as the Martini and Manhattan.
Dubonnet: A French brand of aperitif wine made from aromatics.
Everclear: In the United States, Everclear is a brand of grain alcohol (ethanol), available at concentrations of 95% alcohol (190 proof) and 75.5% (151 proof).
Eau de Vie: Eau-de-vie (plural eaux-de-vie) is a French term for a colorless brandy, derived from one or more fruits. Literally translated it means “water of life”.
Fernet Branca: A bitter, aromatic spirit made from over 40 herbs and spices.
Flips: A combination of eggnog and fizz, made with liqueur, egg, sugar and shaved ice.
Frangelico: An Italian liqueur made with wild hazelnuts, berries and flowers.
Frappe: Any mixture of liqueurs over finely crushed ice.
Galliano: A yellow herb and spice liqueur made in Solaro, Italy.
Gin: A neutral alcohol base flavored with the juniper berry.
Grain Neutral Spirits: Alcohol distilled from grain at 190 proof. Used in blended whiskeys and for making vodka, gin and other liquors.
Grand Marnier: A cognac brandy based liqueur flavored with orange.
Grappa: An Italian brandy distilled from the pulp of grapes used in winemaking.
Grenadine: A non-alcoholic cherry flavoring used in a variety of drinks such as the Sling or the Shirley Temple.
Irish whiskey: A whiskey whose flavor is obtained from the malted barley component of its mash, made in Ireland.
Jigger: also called a shot, a small glass used to measure liquor.
Julep: Originally a sweet syrup, now a family of spirit-based cocktails, flavored and decorated with fresh mint.
Kahlua: A coffee flavored liqueur made in sunny Mexico.
Kirshwasser: Colorless, cherry-flavored eau-de-vie, mainly from France and Switzerland.
Kummel: Colorless Dutch liqueur, flavored with caraway.
Lillet: French herb-flavored liqueur, based on wine and Armagnac.
Limoncello: A distinctive, premium liqueur made with the juice of fresh lemons from Southern Italy.
Liqueur: Distilled spirit flavored with such things as fruit, herbs, coffee, nuts, mint and chocolate.
London gin: The driest gin available.
Madeira: Fortified wine from the Portuguese island of the same name.
Mandarin Napoleon: Belgian, brandy-based liqueur flavored with tangerines.
Maraschino: Italian, cherry-flavored liqueur – usually colorless, but may be red.
Melon liqueur: Spirit-based, melon-flavored liqueur, (See Midori).
Mezcal: Spirit similar to tequila made from one of five permissible Agave plants. Most is made in the state of Oaxaca, but it can be produced elsewhere. The worm found in the bottom of the bottle in some brands originated in the 1940’s as a marketing ploy.
Midori: A green colored, melon flavored liqueur made in Japan.
Mirabelle: Plum eau-de-vie, or colorless brandy.
Monte Alban: A Mezcal named after an Aztec mountain-top settlement in Oaxaca, Mexico where Mezcal has been produced since the mid 1500’s. True Oaxacan mezcal has an agave cactus worm in each bottle.
Muddle: To mash or crush ingredients with a spoon or muddler.
Neat: A term referring to liquor that is consumed undiluted by ice, water or mixers.
Nocello Walnut: Nocello, from the Emeligia-Romagna region of Italy is a walnut flavored liqueur.
Ouzo: An unsweetened anise-flavored liqueur made in Greece since 1888.
Pastis: Anise based aperitif, turns cloudy with water, Often known by the brand names Pernod, Ricard or Mon Pastis.
Peter Heering Cherry Liqueur: A world renowned cherry flavored liqueur. Produced since 1818 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Peychaud Bitters: Originally created in 1830 by Antoine Peychaud in Haiti, now produced in New Orleans by the Sazerac Company.
Pimms: Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based liquor made in England from dry gin, liqueur, fruit juices and spices.
Pisco: A Peruvian grape based brandy, often used to make a Pisco Sour.
Pousse-Café: A drink poured in layers to float on top of one another, which gives its name to a narrow, straight-sided stemmed glass.
Prisonniere: Literally “prisoner”. When an apple or pear is grown inside a bottle which is then filled with either Calvados or Poire William.
Proof: An American system for measuring alcohol content by volume. 80 proof equals 40% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Rickey: A spirit-based cocktail including lemon or lime juice and soda water.
Roses: A sweetened West Indian lime juice produced in St. Albans, England. Non-Alcoholic.
Rum: Spirit made from the fermentation and distillation of sugar cane. Light, medium, and heavy bodied flavor variations exist as do variations in color when not clear. Often flavored with spices or fruit flavors.
Rye whiskey: Mainly American and Canadian whiskey which must be made from a mash containing at least 51 percent rye.
Sake: Japanese rice wine, may be served warm or chilled.
Sambuca: Italian, anise flavored liqueur often served flaming with coffee beans.
Schnapps: A peppermint flavored liqueur. Many flavored varieties of peppermint schnapps exist, such as root beer or peach; all have peppermint as the base flavoring.
Scotch Whisky: Blends are a mixture of about 40 percent malt and 60 percent grain whiskey and single malts are 100% from a single distillery.
Slivovitz: A Croatian version of plum brandy.
Sloe Gin: Liqueur made by steeping sloe berries in gin – previously homemade but now available commercially.
Sour: A spirit-based cocktail containing sugar, and lemon or lime juice.
Sour Mash Whiskey: A broad category of whiskey where a portion of old mash is mixed in with new to help advance the character and smoothness of the flavor.
Straight Whiskey: A whiskey that is distilled and then aged at least two years without blending.
Strega: Italian, herb-flavored liqueur made with over 50 botanicals and colored with saffron.
Sugar syrup: A sweetener for cocktails, made by dissolving sugar in boiling water.
Sweet Vermouth: An Italian made, herb flavored wine. Used in making drinks such as Rob Roy’s and Manhattans.
Tequila: Mexican spirit distilled from the blue agave plant, a succulent. Tequila can only be made in the state of Jalisco. Generally available in three categories: Blanco (no wood aging), Reposado and Anejo.
Tia Maria: Popular, Jamaican rum-based coffee liqueur.
Triple sec: Colorless, orange-flavored liqueur.
Vermouth: Wine-based aperitif flavored with extracts of wormwood – both sweet and dry vermouths are widely used in cocktails.
Vodka: Colorless, grain-based spirit, originally from Russia and Poland. Now made from virtually any grain, many fruits and potatoes as well and available in dozens of flavors.
Whiskey: Spirit distilled from grain in either Ireland or North America. Corn, rye and barley are all used.
Whisky: A spirit from Scotland traditionally distilled from grain in the lowlands and barley in the rest of the country. Also known as Scotch Whisky.