Top 10 Bartending Terms in English

An Italian in London: pub life

Do you know the difference between a Margarita and a Martini? What do you reply if the bartender asks, “On the rocks, sir?” Here are some expressions to help you order drinks in English!

On the rocks

This means ‘with ice’, as in I’ll have a whisky on the rocks.

Single or Double?

This means the number of shots or measures of alcohol. You could tell the bartender, Make it a double if you want a stronger drink.

Spirits

This is strong alcohol e.g. vodka, rum, gin, whisky, brandy, tequila.

Straight

This is alcohol with no ice or mixers added.

Mixer

Mixers are non-alcoholic drinks like soda water, cola or orange juice that are added to spirits to make a mixed drink.

Tab

This is a bill paid at the end of the evening. You can run a tab (pay the bill at the end of the evening) or tell the waitress, Put the drinks on my tab.

Happy hour

This is a specified time (not always exactly one hour) when the bar sells drinks at a discount, e.g. Happy hour is from 6pm to 8pm.

Cocktail

This is a mixed drink. Popular cocktails include Martini, Margarita or Pina Colada.

It’s my round

In many Western countries it is common to take turns for one person to buy drinks for the whole group. The person paying will say, It’s my round!

Draft

If you order beer in a bar, you can have it in a bottle or can, or have a draft: i.e. drawn from a cask or tap.

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