10 Classic Cocktail Terms Everyone Should Know
First and foremost, the primary cocktail term that you should know is just that: cocktail. The earliest reference to the drink was in an American periodical called The Balance, in which cocktail was described as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Following this strict definition, many of the “cocktails” we drink today are misnomers, as every true cocktail should have four components. We no longer make that distinction, though; today basically all mixed (alcoholic) drinks are considered cocktails.
The following 10 terms describe other common beverages that were siblings of the cocktail between the 17th and early 20th centuries. These terms are still used on menus and in cocktail books today, so you should learn to use and recognise them! The more familiar you become with them, the more comfortable you’ll feel making your own “twists” on these on the fly at home, as well as ordering at a bar or restaurant.
Juleps comprise two essential ingredients: aromatic mint and liquor. They originated in the South, where they were a welcome respite from 100-degree heat. They’re made with two sprigs of mint (about a dozen leaves) and served with crushed ice. There are a number of variations on the classic Southern bourbon mint julep—with the addition of Champagne, gin, etc.
What's your go-to cocktail? Tell us in the comments below.