Becoming a Connoisseur: How to Learn the Language of Liquor


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The world of adult beverages is rich with its own vocabulary of terms to describe different types of drinks. Though seemingly impenetrable to the outsider, a knowledge of this lexicon is absolutely necessary in order to hold an educated conversation about liquors, wines and beers. Here are four tips to help you get started in the language of alcoholic drinks.

Talk to Your Bartender

Unsurprisingly, one of the best ways to learn the proper terms for drinks is to talk to a bartender. Ideally, try to strike up a conversation on a slow night during the week, when he or she won’t have many other customers to take care of. A good bartender will be happy to give you some basic terminology that will get you started and let you order drinks competently.

Buy a Bartender’s Guide

If you prefer learning from books, there are many bartender’s guides that have been published to give those who serve drinks a comprehensive overview of terms, recipes and mixing techniques. Though meant for professionals, studying these books can quickly turn you into an expert-level connoisseur. Best of all, a bartender’s guide will give you thousands of drink recipes you can experiment with yourself, allowing you to learn not only about drinking beverages, but the process of making them as well.

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Subscribe to Drink-Related Websites

As with most things, there are now many websites like HWC and other sites that cater to aficionados of alcoholic drinks. These sites will give you some of the best insights into the terms you need to know to hold an intelligent conversation on the subject of spirits and adult beverages. They are also a rich source of specific brand reviews, cocktail recipes and even news about new offerings in the drink market. If you want to expand your knowledge of drinks, an enthusiast website is easily one of the best options out there.

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Go to a Beer Tasting

Beers are among the most difficult drinks to learn the correct terms for, mostly because there are so many different varieties. The best way to figure out the differences is to actually try them for yourself. Beer tasting events are relatively common and are usually quite affordable. Attend a tasting and try out all of the different beers, from IPAs to imperial stouts, for yourself to get a better handle on the flavors and characteristics of each type.

Using these four simple methods, you can go from beverage novice to seasoned connoisseur in very little time. Don’t forget, though, that the real pleasure comes from sampling the wide variety of different flavors offered by alcoholic drinks. Learning to hold your own in a discussion is fine, but don’t miss out on the many great drinks that you can try along the way. And of course, if you or someone you know is struggling from alcohol addiction, be sure to provide any recovery resources you can,

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