Back: A milder drink taken after a shot or neat glass of liquor, e.g., a shot of whiskey with a pickle back is a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice.
Bartender's handshake: A gift from one bartender to another, usually in the form of a shot and free.
Behind the stick: Working behind the main bar, as opposed to working out in the cocktail area or service station; thought to refer to the keg tap levers.
Bev nap: Short for beverage napkin, the small paper napkins placed beneath drinks instead of coasters.
Bitters: A concentrated herbal alcoholic blend frequently added to cocktails to enhance flavor.
Build: To make a drink starting with ice and then systematically adding the other ingredients to build the cocktail.
Burn the ice: Pouring hot water into an ice bin to melt the ice; usually because a glass has broken over the ice bin.
Burnt: Refers to the burnt martini, a martini with a small bit of Scotch added; some recipes call for 1:2 scotch to gin, while others call for just a few drops of Scotch.
Call drink: A drink ordered with both the specific liquor name and the specific mixer name, e.g., Jack and Coke, Tanqueray and tonic.
Chaser: Anything consumed immediately after a shot or neat drink.
Chill: To add ice to a glass or place a glass in a freezer or cooler briefly, so a cocktail can be poured into a cold glass.
Dash: A few drops of an ingredient.
Dirty: The addition of olive juice to a martini.
Dry: The reduction of vermouth in a martini.
Finger: An antiquated unit of measurement, equal to the width of a person's finger.
Flame: Setting a drink on fire; Sambuca is often lit on fire to heat it up before putting the flame out and drinking it. Another common flaming liquor is 151-proof rum, which is very flammable. Do not flame drinks unless you're a trained professional.
Float: A liquor, mixer, or syrup that is slowly poured on top of a drink to create layering.
Frost: A glass dipped in water, drained, then put in a freezer; used often with beer mugs.
Garnish: Added to a drink after it's been made to either add something to the flavor profile or aroma or enhance the drink's appearance, e.g., orange zests, cherries, etc.
High top: The taller tables near the bar that a cocktail server or cocktail bartender covers; usually use stools.
Highball: Liquor mixed with soda water, served in a highball (tall, slim) glass.
House pour: The well or rail liquor the bar offers, as opposed to top-shelf and premium drinks.
Jigger: A small hourglass-shaped measuring device used by bartenders to pour accurately.
Layering: A shot or drink with heavier alcohol on the bottom and lighter alcohol floated on top it; done using a careful pour down the side of the glass or over an inverted spoon.
Long: A mixed drink served in a tall glass with a fairly large volume, typically 6-9 ounces.
Mixer: Non-alcoholic substance that accompanies alcohol in drinks; can be water, soda, juice, energy drinks etc.
Muddle: To mash ingredients with a muddler, a special tool for grinding and crushing ingredients into the bottom and sides of a glass.
Neat: A drink straight from the bottle, typically served in a rocks glass; no ice, no nothin'.
On the rocks: Served with ice, typically in a rocks glass.
Pony: A 1-ounce shot, as opposed to the standard 1.5-ounce shot.
Premium: Premium alcohol or top-shelf liquor (e.g. the well or bar rail gin is Beefeater and the premium is Tanqueray).
Rim a glass: To wet a glass's rim in a rimmer and press the glass into salt, celery salt, or sugar.
Rocks glass: Also known as the Old Fashioned glass or the lowball, it's the standard glassware for serving liquor with ice cubes.
Shooter: A small mixed drink taken as a shot, usually about 2-3 ounces.
Shot: 1.5 ounces of straight liquor taken all at once.
Sour: The sour bar mix—equal parts lemon or lime juice and simple syrup—that's used to make whiskey sours, vodka sours, margaritas, etc.
Straight up / up: A drink shaken or stirred then strained and served in a stemmed glass without ice.
Strain: The act of pouring a drink after shaking or stirring, often through a strainer but also through the side of a shaker, into a glass.
Toddy: A sweet alcoholic drink cut with hot water, often served with warm spices like cinnamon, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Top shelf: The highest quality and most expensive bottles of alcohol available, often kept on the top shelf because they're not used that often
Twist: A piece of citrus zest (a thin, curled slice of a citrus fruit peel) added to a drink for flavor or decoration, either in the drink directly or hanging on the side of the glass.
Virgin: A drink with no alcohol in it.
Well drinks: Usually interchangeable with rail drinks and house pour, it's the lowest-cost liquor the bar has available
Wet: A drink with more of the mixer and less of the alcohol than the standard recipe calls for.