When you’re getting a drink, you want to know what it is. Especially if you have to pay for it, the last thing you want to do is spend money and not like it. Not all drinks come with a neat little description under them so if you can get a basic idea what some of the different terminology is, you’ll find yourself with a drink in your hand that you will really enjoy.
You’ll see these more at the classier restaurants and European restaurants. An aperitif is designed to be served before a meal to stimulate the appetite and is typically fairly small in size. Dry champagnes and fortified wines are common aperitifs.
A digestif is just the opposite. They are designed for after a meal to help with digestion and are usually small and straight alcohol. Limoncello and brandy, as well as bitters and bourbon will be some of the more common digestifs.
These two drinks are very similar. A fizz can be virtually any kind of mixed drink that utilizes carbonated water and a highly acidic juice like lemon or lime. A Slo Gin Fizz is one of the more common fizz drinks that you’ll find in bars. You don’t hear about the Rickey as much anymore but is made in a highball with lime juice squeezed into the bottom of a glass with carbonated water and a base spirit, almost always associated with whiskey.
Punch is what you’ll usually see in the middle of the drink table in a giant bowl. They are usually made with rum but some countries make punches with wine and if you’re at a frat party it can be made with virtually anything laying around the house. They’ll have a ton of ice, fruit juice and even some slices of fruit floating in them and the addition of alcohol is up to the host. If you’re not sure what’s in it – ask.
These terms have grown to be much broader than they once used to be. At one point, if you asked for any of these three, you wouldn’t have much of a variety to choose from, except for maybe shaken or stirred, frozen or on the rocks. At today’s bar, however, they have expanded to new horizons.
This is how the three drinks have been separated. A martini is composed almost entirely of vodka (or gin, but it will specify). From there, it’s up to the bartender. Flavors can be added and you may even find a frozen version. A margarita’s basic ingredient is tequila. The tequila can vary and so can the add-ins but when you order a margarita it will have tequila; frozen or on the rocks is up to you. A daiquiri will use rum as its base alcohol. It is almost always frozen and can come in every fruity flavor from banana to mango to blueberries.
A virgin, or non-alcoholic drink isn’t just for the under 21 crowd. Whether you simply don’t enjoy alcohol (or shouldn’t) or want to drink with everyone else without the alcohol, ask the bartender for their list of virgin drinks. Many bars are getting creative with virgin drinks making them just as enticing. If you are trying to look like you’re getting a real drink, though, ask them to skip the whip cream – it’s usually a dead giveaway.