Glossary

Welcome to the glossary.

Sake

Japanese wine made from fermented rice.

Sambuca

Anise-based Italian after-dinner liqueur that’s often taken with coffee.

Sangria

A beverage originating in Spain made with red or white wine, sugar and fruits, and garnished with fresh fruits and berries. There are plenty of recipes for Sangria, but it should always have wine and fruits as the base.

Schnapps

A Scandinavian and German term for a clear spirit distilled from fruit. Archers used peach in their modern classic version.

Scotch

A malt-barley based spirit made in Scotland that has been aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years.

Shaker

A large metal tumbler and a small tumbler (or pint glass).

Shaking

The most common technique used by bartenders for mixing ingredients to make a cocktail. Shaking involves adding ingredients to a shaker, then vigorously moving the shaker back and forth before serving.

How to shake
Shaking combines ingredients for a cocktail or mixed drink – you tend to use it when you want to combine fruit, a mixer, or milk with the base spirit. But it also dilutes and chills, plus adds froth in the case of egg white. You can use a jam jar or a Tupperware container – any clean, sealed kitchen item where the liquid won’t spill. But if you want to mimic a top bartender, then get hold of a Cobbler Shaker or Boston Shaker. Add a generous amount of ice and your ingredients to the shaker, and make sure that it is sealed so that the contents don’t spill out. Take the shaker in both hands to one side of your body, above your shoulder, and with one hand on one end and one on the other, vigorously move the shaker backwards and forwards in a quick thrusting motion, away from your body and back again. Do this for 10–15 seconds.

Here’s a great example of how you can shake – watch our video with all the tips

Sherry

A blended wine that is aged by the solera system, a process of blending young wine with older wine to achieve a vintage character in a shorter period of time. The wine is preserved by the addition of alcohol distilled from local grapes. There are two broad categories of sherry: dry and sweet (which has a fuller body).

Shooters

Shots of cocktails normally measuring 25ml.

Shot

A drink served in a small glass known as a shot glass, approximately 45ml.

Shrub

Name given to two different types of drink. The first is made from rum or brandy mixed with sugar and the peel or juice of citrus fruits, and was often made in 17th and 18th century England. The second is a mix of spirits, vinegar syrup and water, popular in colonial America.

Simple syrup

Syrup made from mixing equal parts sugar and water. Made with a much more concentrated recipe for baking applications.

How to make sugar or ‘simple’ syrup
You can buy sugar or ‘simple’ syrup but it’s easy to make. Take equal quantities of caster sugar and water – two glasses of each will fill a small bottle. Put a saucepan on a medium heat and pour in the water and sugar. Don’t allow the mixture to get too hot and stir gently. Cloudy at first, it will become clear as the sugar dissolves. Cool the liquid and place in a bottle or container, then store in the fridge.

Single Malt

A Scottish barley-based spirit produced by a single distillery. It can be bottled straight or used as a blending agent in blended scotch.

Slice

A portion of fruit, usually citrus for garnishing, and generally cut as a wedge.

Sling

A drink that describes a mix of spirit, citrus, sugar and water, that has developed with the addition of different liqueurs into the Singapore Sling. Originally Slings were served hot or cold, and were similar to Punches. A Gin Sling, first recorded in 1790, was a mix of cherry brandy and lemon juice with gin.

Sloe gin

Gin flavoured with sloe berries, which in premium versions are steeped in gin to impart a cassis-like flavour and colour.

Snifter

A bulbous glass used to serve brandy.

Solera

A process for ageing by fractional blending where the finished product is a mixture of aged liquids. Used in the making of sherry, and also Zacapa Rum.

Sour mix

A tart-tasting mixer made with equal parts simple syrup and lemon or lime juice.

How to make sour mix
It’s really simple: squeeze your lemons or limes into a measuring jug or juicer – you’ll need at least six for a small bottle. Then pour into the bottle and add your sugar syrup. Shake together, and shake just before use.

Sours

Cocktails made with a strong, sweet and sour ingredient – typically sugar syrup and fresh lemon or lime juice. Egg white is also frequently added.

And here’s a great video on how to make a Whisky Sour

How to create egg white
Some mixed drinks, particularly Sours, call for the inclusion of egg white. Take an egg and crack open, making sure none of the contents spill out. Place a cup or glass underneath and holding the two egg halves over the container, gently tip the yolk from one half of the shell to the other. You’re looking to keep the yolk in the egg shell, but dispense the egg white into the cup or glass. Then add the egg white to the shaker. It’s easier to do this if the egg is at room temperature, as the white is runnier.

Spiced Rum

Rum flavoured with spices such as cinnamon, rosemary, aniseed and pepper, sometimes aged longer than white rums and similar in colour to gold rum.

Splash

Usually refers to about 4ml of a mixer added to a cocktail or spirit.

Sprig

A part of a herb plant, usually around 4–10 leaves attached to one stem, for the purpose of garnishing a mixed drink or cocktail.

Stir

A technique used to chill a drink in its serving glass. Stirred drinks generally don't contain fruit juice or milk.

How to stir
Stirring a cocktail is about diluting and chilling your drink in a gentler, less vigorous way than shaking. It’s generally used for when your cocktail contains only spirits, and you want to savour the texture and flavour, such as with a pour of Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky in an Old Fashioned. Fill a thick, large glass or mixing glass with ice, add the ingredients carefully and stir using a long spoon or a bar spoon, which has an extra long handle. Move the spoon continuously in one direction in a firm, slow movement for 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how much you want to dilute the drink. Carefully remove the spoon, so as not to spill any of the liquid.

Watch our video showing great stirring in action right here

Stir rod

A small plastic implement, about the length and thickness of a chopstick, but perfectly cylindrical in shape, used for stirring liquids together.

Straight up

Drinks that are chilled with ice by shaking or stirring, then served without ice in a chilled cocktail glass. This is different from ‘neat’ drinks, which aren’t chilled or served with ice.

Strainer

An item that prevents ice and other solid items such as fruit or herbs entering the drink, keeping them in the shaker, whilst allowing liquid to pass through. The most popular kind of strainer is the Hawthorne Strainer, which has a metal spring attached and tends to be used with the Cobbler Shaker. Or the Julep Strainer, a single metal piece with small holes, is mostly used with the Boston Shaker. Kitchen or tea strainers make adequate replacements for the ones more commonly used by professionals.

How to strain
Some drinks require straining after they have been shaken, muddled or stirred. If you don’t want lumps of fruit or ice in your drink then this is a must. You could place a household strainer over your glass and pour the ingredients through, although this requires a careful aim to ensure some of the drink doesn’t end up on the worktop. A tea strainer that fits over the glass is easier, or even better, a Hawthorn Strainer or Julep Strainer that fit snuggly into the shaker. The Cobbler Shaker has a built-in strainer. Place over the end of the mixing glass or shaker and pour into a glass, ensuring no pieces of fruit or ice escape down the side. For cocktails that include fresh fruit or herbs in them you may need to strain a second time, with an even finer strainer or a piece of muslin.

Watch our easy-to-follow video on how to strain here

Sugar

A sweet substance obtained from plants, particularly sugar cane and sugar beet. In its crystalline form it is generally suitable only for muddling with herbs or fruit, helping to extract the essential oils, flavour and aroma. Dissolved in water as sugar or ‘simple’ syrup it adds the required sweetness to a mixed drink without the gritty texture.

How to soak a sugar cube
Place one cube of sugar in a mixing glass or glass and take your bottle of bitters and drip around six to ten drops onto the cube. Increase or reduce the amount of drops to taste. Then leave to soak in before using in your cocktail or mixed drink. For a champagne cocktail where you want to keep the sugar cube intact, place the cube over the end of the bottle and – carefully – tip upside down and hold in the same position for a few seconds so that the bitters soaks into the cube. Then turn the bottle upright, carefully remove the cube, and place into your drink.

Super premium

Spirit higher in quality than a premium version, with exceptional attention given to the crafting of the product, whether in the ingredients, the fermentation, distillation and/or the ageing.