Welcome to the glossary.

Bar spoon

A long-handled spoon for stirring cocktails and mixed drinks that is perfect for reaching right to the bottom of the glass. Some are made in one piece with a twisted stainless-steel handle to aid in twirling the spoon. Others are made in two pieces, with a shaft that revolves inside a sleeve. You can substitute a regular dessert spoon in place of the bar spoon when making most mixed drinks and cocktails.

Base spirit

The main spirit component in a mixed drink or cocktail.


A term often used when carrying out Pot Still distillation, but also when ageing in oak casks. It tends to describe a method that captures a particular character or flavour, which can be highlighted in an individual release, or added to a blend.


An alcoholic beverage made from citrus and herbs, one that is typically used as a flavouring in cocktails.

How to use bitters
The salt and pepper of the cocktail world, bitters enhance flavour rather than giving an overt bitter taste with a combination of alcohol, herbs and spices. Angostura is a popular brand of bitters, while Peychaud’s has a lighter, more floral taste. Taking the bottle, often small in size, hold over your glass or mixing glass and drip in around six to ten drops, according to taste. Bitters are extremely concentrated, so you will only need a few drops.

Black Russian

A mixed drink combining vodka and coffee liqueur, reputedly invented by bartender Gustave Tops at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels in 1949.

Blended Scotch Whisky

A mix of malt and grain whiskies that have been distilled and aged in Scotland. Examples include Johnnie Walker, Bells and J&B Rare.

Blended Whisky

Whiskies that blend malt and grain whiskies, frequently from Ireland, the US, India and Canada – but they can be made anywhere in the world.


An electric gadget for reducing fruit to a pulp, or combining cream with other ingredients, creating a smooth liquid that’s fully mixed. To be used where shaking will not combine ingredients together sufficiently. The ‘stand up’, vertical variety of blenders tend to be sufficient for making mixed drinks – as opposed to those used more commonly for food blending, with a larger blade.

Bloody Mary

How to make a Bloody Mary

With Smirnoff No.21 as a perfect base, this well-loved brunch cocktail with a long history has a range of spicy flavours that you can share with friends. The topic of what constitutes a perfect Bloody Mary is fiercely debated. There’s the pour of vodka to star the drink. But then do you add the five flavourings of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, black pepper and salt just as traditionally specified. Or do you follow those bartenders who add horseradish, mustard and even sweet sherry to their Bloody Mary? Whatever you try, it’s hard not to come up with a delicious end result.

Make a great Bloody Mary by watching here (ingredients and measures may vary).

Blue Agave Tequila

Blue agave tequila is distilled from the fermented sugars of the Weber blue agave plant, and must be bottled in Mexico. Like all tequila, 100% blue agave tequila can be aged or unaged. Agave plants take eight to ten years to mature to the point where they can be used for tequila production, so the tequila made from 100% agave is more expensive to produce than mixed or blended tequila.

Boston Shaker

A shaker that does not have a built-in strainer but consists of two parts: a large metal tumbler and a slightly smaller glass tumbler (or pint glass). The two fit together to make an airtight seal when shaking. You can use a Tupperware or sealed jar if you don’t have a Boston shaker to hand.


American whiskey made from a mash of between 51% to 75% corn (which includes a small amount of barley, and either rye or wheat fills out the rest), usually aged for two years in charred oak barrels.

Brandied cherry

To make a brandied cherry, remove the stones in 700g cherries, then bring 175ml water, 175ml sugar, the peel of 1 lemon, 3 cloves and a stick of cinnamon to the boil in a pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add 250ml brandy and the cherries. Transfer to a large jam jar or container and pour over the heated liquid.


Distilled spirit derived from fermented fruit, often grapes.


Pouring ingredients directly into the glass on top of a previous ingredient to put a cocktail together.