Essential Bar Terms Everyone Should Know

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Essential Bar Terms Everyone Should Know

Bars are one of the most popular social gathering places worldwide. They are places where people can hang out, enjoy a few drinks with friends or watch a sports game on TV. Bars are often casual, but take pride in their drinks and service. The bartenders behind the counter at a bar use a variety of different tools and accessories to mix drinks and serve drinks to customers.

 The language used behind the bar is unique to the drink trade and if you don’t understand the terminology, it can be confusing and disorientating to hear bartenders talking about things that you have no clue about. Here’s our guide to a few bar terms everyone should know.

Dry Shake

Dry shaking is a technique bartenders use to emulsify, or mix, a cocktail without the help of ice. In other words, the dry shake moves around ingredients in a cocktail shaker to create a smooth texture and consistency. Dry shaking can be used to make drinks such as the Manhattan, Martini, and Old Fashioned, among others. The dry shake allows the flavors of a cocktail to be more pronounced and is commonly used for cocktails that also have egg as an ingredient.

Shaken or Stirred? 

If you’re a fan of James Bond movies or just enjoy a strong cocktail now and again, chances are you’ve heard the two terms shaken and stirred. Stirred drinks rely more on their layered flavors and textures and no unwanted air to impress the drinker. They are mostly used for spirit-based drinks. Bartenders use a simple spoon to stir the drink for around 30 seconds. 

While for shaken drinks a glass cup and a tin cup are used to shake the drink and achieve tiny air bubbles and make the drink cold and light. This technique is used for drinks that use citrus juices and fruit.


A martini is a drink that comes in many different forms, but at its most basic, it is made of gin and vermouth and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. To be considered a true martini, the drink must be stirred (not shaken) and have a few dashes of orange bitters. 



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Bar terminology is essential for drink enthusiasts to know. Knowing them will not only help you communicate with other bartenders but also helps you make the perfect drink.

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