Glossary Of Terms
Absinthe — A green or sometimes colorless liquor with high alcoholic content that is flavored with wormwood, anise and other aromatic herbs (such as fennel).
Amaro – Bittersweet Italian liqueur traditionally consumed after a meal as a digestif. Regional brands abound and each offers a different combination of herbal notes, bitterness, root flavors and citrus. This category of liqueur is something we’re very fond of at The Relief & Resource Co. and we’re excited to constantly find new ways of introducing Amari into cocktails.
Aquavit – Produced primarily in Scandinavia, Aquavit is made from neutral grain or potato spirits and flavored with spices, herbs and other botanicals. It’s predominantly flavored with caraway. Examples: Linie, Aalborg
Anejo Tequila – Matured in oak barrels with a capacity no larger than 600 liters for at least one year and up to three years.
Aperol – Bittersweet Italian aperitivo liqueur with a pronounced orange flavor.
Averna – Dark and heavy Sicilian amaro with a flavor reminiscent of cocoa, vanilla and flat Coca-Cola.
Barrel Proof/Cask Strength – Defines a spirit that was not diluted after it was removed from the barrel or cask. Much higher in strength than a traditional spirit of its category.
Batavia Arrack – Distilled from sugarcane and red rice, this is believed to be a historical ancestor to rum and is a common ingredient in classic punch recipes.
Benedictine – Brandy-based French liqueur that contains 27 herbs and spices, with heavy notes of angelica, hyssop and a deep spicy sweetness. Invaluable in cocktails and excellent by itself as a liquid dessert.
Bitters – The bartender’s spice rack, bitters are herbal concentrates that provide strong and distinct flavors to cocktails. Used to enhance or underline flavors in drinks, bitters are an essential ingredient in adding depth to a cocktail.
Blanco/Silver Tequila – No barrel aging.
Blended Malt Whiskey – This term refers to a blend of 100% percent malted barley whiskies from two or more distilleries.
Bottled in Bond/Bonded – Passed in 1897, the Bottled-in-Bond Act dictates that the whiskey be aged a minimum of four years, be bottled at 100 proof and be the product of one distillery and one distiller, from one distillation season. Examples: Rittenhouse, Evan Williams White Label, Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch
Bourbon – Any whiskey made from at least 51% corn. It must be aged in charred new-oak barrels (for at least two years to be labeled “straight” bourbon), with a strict prohibition against any additives except water.
Brandy – Any spirit distilled from fermented fruit juice.
Campari – The world famous bitter aperitif from Italy lends a distinct grapefruit and orange bitterness to any cocktail it comes in contact with, especially the quintessential Negroni.
Chartreuse – Liqueur produced by French Carthusian monks since the 17th Century. Dozens upon dozens of herbs, botanicals and plants go into its production. Two varieties are available: Green (110 proof) and Yellow (80 proof). Add to a cocktail, they add a remarkable herbal complexity not found in many ingredients.
Cocchi Americano Blanc – White aperitif wine produced in Italy. Remarkable citrus notes combine with a zesty bittersweet finish.
Cognac – Cognac is double distilled in pot stills using Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard grapes and aged in French Limousin oak. It is exclusively produced in the Cognac region of France.
Crème de Cassis – French blackcurrant liqueur.
Crème de Mure – French blackberry liqueur.
Crème de Peche – French peach liqueur.
Curacao – A liqueur distilled with the peels of bitter oranges. Examples: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Cointreau
Cynar – Bitter liqueur distilled from artichokes, the flavor profile runs from sweet to sharp, with distinct vegetal and dark citrus notes on the finish. An excellent ingredients in a Boulevardier, or in place of vermouth in a Manhattan.
Daiquiri – Traditional cocktail consisting of rum, lime juice and sweetener.
Dolin Génepy des Alpes – Herbal liqueur distilled by Dolin, a famous producer of vermouth. Génépy is known as the primary herb in Green Chartreuse. This liqueur, with its sweet and herbal complexity has become known as “baby Chartreuse.”
Don Ciccio & Figli – Washington D.C.-based producer of incredibly complex amaro and Italian-influenced liqueur. Their range includes products distilled with bitter black walnut, fennel, prickly pear and even rhubarb and iron.
English-style Rum – A richer style, often (but not always) distilled from demerara sugar. Examples: Lemon Hart, El Dorado, Goslings, Scarlet Ibis
Extra-Anejo Tequila – Matured in small oak barrels for at least three years.
Falernum – Rum-based syrup flavored with ginger, clove, lime zest and almond.
Fernet Branca – The King of Amaro, this Italian monster comes with an aggressive flavor palate that includes eucalyptus, menthol, cardamom and myrrh. Beloved among those in the beverage industry, it can be consumed as a shot, or in cocktails as a way to add unique complexity and depth. The ultimate bartender’s spirit.
French-style Rum – Distinctly grassy and earthy. Also known as Rhum Agricole, this style is distilled from freshly pressed sugarcane juice. Examples – Rhum JM, Rhum Clement, Rhum Barbancourt
Genever – Traditional Dutch spirit, distilled from a malted wine base and then redistilled with botanicals. It’s flavor profile is sweet and richer than that of any other style of gin. Example: Bols
Gose – German style of sour ale brewed with wheat grain that often features citrus and herbal notes, with a distinct slight saltiness.
Grenadine – Reduction of pomegranate juice and sugar, often mistaken for cherry juice.
Jamaican-style Rum – Uniquely bold and funky, Jamaican rum is broad-shouldered and assertive. Examples: Appleton Estate, Wray & Nephew, Smith & Cross, Doctor Bird
London Dry Gin – A crisp style of gin with prominent juniper and citrus flavors, usually with a proof of at least 90. Examples: Tanqueray, Martin Miller’s, The Botanist
Luxardo Maraschino – Liqueur distilled with whole Croatian marasca cherries, pits and all. Just a small amount adds layers of floral complexity to a cocktail.
Martini – A traditional cocktail made with dry gin and vermouth. Not a name for any drink that comes in a cocktail glass.
Mezcal – A spirit of Mexico distilled from over 50 varietals of agave. Mezcal agave is roasted in earthen pits fueled by fire, creating its distinct smoky flavor. Examples: Del Maguey Vida, Wahaka, Montelobos
Montenegro – Amaro from Bologna, Italy, known for its well-integrated flavor and distinct citrusy bittersweet flavor.
New England IPA – A relatively new style of IPA in which bittering hops are added for a relatively short boil, resulting in a beer that is very hoppy, but not overly bitter, with a distinct cloudiness.
Nonino Quintessentia – Alpine herbs and floral botanicals come together to create this highly subtle and balanced amaro.
Old Fashioned – Bitters, sugar, whiskey, ice and an orange zest.
Old Tom Gin – Historically a gin similar to London Dry, but lower proof and slightly sweetened. May also, in some instances, be barrel-aged. Examples: Gray Skies, Ransom
Pimm’s No. 1 Cup – Gin-based English liqueur featuring a low alcohol content and slightly herbal flavor. Typically served with lemonade and ginger beer.
Pisco – Brandy distilled in the wine-making regions of Peru and Chile.
Punch – Larger cocktail containing spirit, fruit juice, syrup, and sometimes bitters or carbonation. Meant for sharing amongst a large group.
Rabarbaro – Type of amaro whose primary ingredient is rhubarb. Examples: Zucca, Sfumato
Reposado Tequila – Matured in oak barrels for at least two months and up to one year.
Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur – A combination of apricot juice and eau-du-vie brandy, this Austrian spirit has an incredible balance and delicate sweetness.
Rye – Made from at least 51% rye grain, typically with a crisper, spicier taste and sharper mouthfeel than bourbon.
Shrub – A vinegar-based fruit syrup used in cocktails.
Single Barrel Whiskey – Bottled from an individual barrel, rather than created by blended a number of barrels. Examples: Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, Evan Williams, Elijah Craig 18 Year
Single-Malt Scotch – Single-malt must be made from 100% malted barley in small pot stills in at least two distillation runs, produced by a single distillery, and aged for a minimum of three years in oak casks.
Sloe Gin – Red liqueur made with gin and sloe berries (closely related to a plum). Sweet and low in alcohol.
Small Batch Whiskey – Whiskey produced by blending from a lesser amount of select barrels than a baseline whiskey. No regulation oversees the definition of this term.
Sour – Traditional cocktail made with base spirit, lemon or lime, and sweetener. Some sours may also call for the addition of egg white.
Spanish-style Rum – Lighter style of rum, typically distilled from molasses. Examples: Ron Navazos, Flor de Cana, Diplomatico, Ron Abuelo
St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram – A rum-based liqueur with concentrated flavors of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Very useful in rum-based Tiki cocktails.
St. Germain – A French elderflower liqueur with prominent flavors of lychee and citrus.
Strega – An Italian digestif similar in color and complexity to Yellow Chartreuse, but with more anise and vanilla flavor.
Suze – A bright yellow bitter digestif distilled in France, flavored primarily with gentian root.
Tennessee Sour Mash – Made between 51-79% corn and filtered through maple charcoal before aging (known as the Lincoln County Process).
Tiki – Style of cocktail that usually includes rum (but not always), various fruit juices, bitters, spices and syrups to create a layered and complex tropical drink. Examples: Mai Tai, Zombie, Ancient Mariner
Vermouth – Fortified wine flavored with herbs, barks and spices. Essential to a Martini or a Manhattan, vermouth is quite possibly the most misunderstood product behind our bar. Let us talk to you about the products we carry, and why they are important. Your opinion on this product may change and you’ll find that it’s quite possibly the most underrated, and most essential, cocktail ingredient out there.