Home  >  Ink

Ink

A very boozy glossary

Posted 6:49am on Wednesday, Jun. 08, 2011

Don't know your bitters from your jigger? Here are some commonly used spirits and ingredients that will help demystify your next classic cocktail experience.

Bitters: Highly concentrated flavoring agent made from roots, bark, herbs and/or berries. There are a number of different types of bitters -- Angostura, Abbot's, orange and Peychaud's are some of the more commonly known ones -- and they are primarily used very sparingly to lend finesse to stronger liquors such as whiskey.

Bourbon: American whiskey distilled from a fermented mash of grain that is at least 51 percent corn. Traditionally, bourbon is aged for at least two years in charred oak barrels.

Cointreau: Colorless, orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried skins of Curacao oranges.

Gin: Grain alcohol, generally made from corn, with malted barley and other grains added. The mixture is often redistilled with/through everything from juniper berries and fennel seeds to cinnamon bark and licorice to impart a specific flavor or essence.

Vermouth: Very sophisticated product of several botanical flavorings such as cloves, nutmeg and more than a hundred others. The French style is made by combining botanicals, then pouring a mixture of mistelles (fortified wine) over them. The brew steeps for a few weeks; the wine is then drawn off and the process repeated until all the flavor has been extracted from the botanicals. A selection of these flavored wines is then blended together and mixed with unflavored wines. Brandy is added to raise the alcohol level, and the vermouth is chilled almost to the freezing point to eliminate any sediment.

Whiskey: Made from one type of grain, such as corn, wheat or rye. Straight whiskeys are bottled from the casks in which they are aged, with water added to reduce their proof.

Liqueur: Alcoholic beverage manufactured by adding flavorings such as strawberry or orange to a distilled spirit. Flavorings can be added one of three ways: steeping, percolating/filtering and redistilling.

Simple syrup: Made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and then cooling the solution. Often used as a sweetener.

Sources: Boozemonger.com; foodandwine.com

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me




We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.