The Most Common Bar Terms to Know

The most common terms used at a bar

If you’re new to the bar scene, it can be confusing trying to understand all of the terminologies. What does “on the rocks” mean? What’s a “dirty” drink? And what the heck is a “virgin”?

Don’t worry, SHOTS Bar has you covered. In this blog post, we will go over the most common terms used at a bar. By understanding these terms, you’ll be able to order drinks like a pro!

Types of Booze


A word derived from the term “licker,” which is used to describe non-alcoholic beverages that have been flavored with or contain ethanol. As a result, anything containing alcohol is a liquor.

Spirit vs Liqueur

Simply stated, spirits are uncomplicated alcoholic drinks with a proof of more than 40 degrees, whereas liqueurs (lick-oors) are blended with herbs and spices to enhance the taste.


One of the oldest and most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. Made from water, yeast, malt, and hops.

Malt Liquor

A type of beer that is made with a higher percentage of alcohol.


A type of beer that is made with bottom-fermenting yeast.


A type of beer that is made with top-fermenting yeast.


A type of beer that is dark and heavy.


A type of beer that is dark and has a strong flavor.


An abbreviation for “India Pale Ale.” A type of beer that is brewed with extra hops, resulting in a bitter taste.

Types of Drinks


A “neat” drink is as basic as it gets. It isn’t chilled beforehand or poured over ice. Simply pour your alcohol of choice into a tumbler or shot glass and you’re ready to go.

On the rocks

“The rocks” is a synonym for ice. A drink on the rocks comprises of a spirit poured over ice. Ice may be cubed, crushed, or shaved into small pieces.


A straight drink is a mixed drink that has been shaken or stirred with ice before being served. The liquor is then strained and served without the ice, resulting in a chilled and undiluted beverage.


Shaking a drink is the process of mixing all ingredients (including ice) in a cocktail shaker. This results in a colder and more diluted drink.


Unlike shaking, stirring does not involve adding ice to the mix. As a result, stirred drinks are less diluted than shaken drinks.


This refers to a drink made with bar olives’ juice, which adds salt and brininess to it. When ordering martinis, this phrase is most often used.


The drink should be mixed with a little bit of vermouth, just enough to give the alcohol a subtle vermouth taste. This term is generally used with drinks made of gin or vodka.


It’s all mixer, with no alcohol of any kind.