Liquor Glossary




ABRICOTINE An apricot liqueur made in France

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.

 

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