It’s always fun to try new and interesting drinks, so this should help you get clued up on those ‘confusing’ terms that are in the ingredient list. Not only will this help you from asking the barmen 101 questions, but it will help when you get creative at home and experiment with some new cocktails in your own kitchen!
Aperitif versus Digestif:
Aperitif describes a drink served before a meal and digestif is after a meal. An aperitif is something that stimulates the aperitif, and it usually dry and low in alcohol, such as Vermouth and dry sherry. A digestif is to stimulate digestion which includes sweeter liquors like brandy and sweet liqueurs (like Cointreau or Grand Marnier), or something creamy like Amarula. Bitters, whisky/whiskey are also classified as a digestif.
Spirit/Liquor, Liqueur and Cordials:
-Spirit/Liquor – unsweetened distilled alcoholic beverage including Vodka, Gin, Brandy, Whisky, Tequila etc.
-Liqueur – sweetened distilled alcoholic beverage such as triple sec, Amarula, Disaranno, Cointreau, Cape Velvet etc.
-Cordial – a syrupy or very sweet non-alcoholic beverage which we often use as a mix like passionfruit cordial, lime cordial, elderflower cordial etc. However, cordial (in the US) is known as a liqueur flavoured with coffee, cream, chocolate etc.
Dry, Sweet and Perfect:
Some like their martini’s dry, some like it sweet, some perhaps like it dirty but then there is a perfect balance.
-Dry: Made with dry vermouth or little vermouth in a Martini. May also refer to less mix in your cocktail.
-Sweet: Made with sweet vermouth in a Martini/Manhatten or extra simple syrup in your drink.
-Perfect: Made with a 50/50 blend of both
-Dirty: with Olive Brine