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Behind the Bar

Tending bar requires special skills, such as learning special recipes, measuring, mixing and serving drinks, and chatting with guests. No matter which country you are working in, you are sure to come across English patrons who want a cold drink. Study the lists and expressions bartenders use. Then read the dialogue and check your understanding.


brandy snifter
half litre/litrea glass container for serving house wine
highball glassa tall straight glass
martini glass
muga cup or glass with a handle used for hot beverages
pint glass20 oz glass for draft
pitcher/jugapproximately 60 oz container for draft or water
rock glass/tumblershort glass for mixed drinks
shot glass1 oz glass for shots and shooters
sleeve12 oz glass for draft
wine glass

Classic Cocktails

There are many different ways to prepare classic cocktails. Every bar or restaurant has rules about how much alcohol to put in a cocktail and how to build it. The following recipes do not contain specific amounts. Use them to learn the names of the cocktails, liquors, and mixes.

Black Russianvodka, coffee liqueur, on ice (for a white russian-add milk)
Bloody Maryvodka, tomato juice, tobasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, celery salt, slice celery, on ice
Cosmopolitanvodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, lime, on ice
Daquirilight rum, lime juice, sugar, blended with ice (for a strawberry daquiri use strawberry mix or syrup)
Long Island Iced Teavodka, gin, rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice, cola, on ice
Margaritatequila, lime, salt, blended with ice
Martinigin, dry vermouth, (garnish with olive)
Pina Coladarum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, blended with ice
Screwdrivervodka and orange juice, on ice
Tom Collinsgin, lemon juice, sugar, soda water, on ice

Common Liquor

Ginclear alcohol flavoured with juniper berries
Liqueurvarious sweet alcohols
Rumclear alcohol made from sugar cane, origin Caribbean
Vodkaclear alcohol made from grain or potato, origin Russia
Whisky (Rye in Canada)light brown alcohol made from grain, origin Scotland
Tequilagolden or clear alcohol, origin Mexico

Beer and Coolers

Domesticbeer from country that bar is located in
Localbeer brewed nearby
Cansbeer served in a tin
Bottlesbeer served in glass bottle
Draftbeer on tap
Kegbeer in a large barrel
Cidersalcoholic drink from apples or other fruit
Coolerspremixed and bottled alcoholic drinks

Sample Conversation

Bartender:Hi there. What can I get for you?
Guest:I need something cold.
Bartender:You've come to the right place.
Guest:Do you have any specials on?
Bartender:We have highballs on for half price.
Guest:Sorry, I meant for beer.
Bartender:Our beer special tonight is a pitcher of local draft with a half dozen wings for $12.99.
Guest:I guess I should have brought a friend. I think I'll just have a Heineken for now.
Bartender:Sure, would you like that on tap or in a can?
Guest:Do you have it in a bottle?
Bartender:No, I'm afraid we don't.
Guest:That's okay. I'll take a pint.
Bartender:A pint of Heineken coming up.
Guest:Actually, you better just make it a sleeve.
Bartender:Sure. And should I start you a tab?
Guest:No, I'm driving. How much do I owe you?
Guest:Here's 6. Keep the change.
Bartender:Thank you.

Check your understanding

1Which of the following is NOT on special tonight?
2What does the bartender give the guest to drink?
3How much money did the bartender make as a tip?

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