Every industry has its own jargon. When alcohol is involved, there are subtle differences between up, straight up and neat; now is the time to get your bartending terms straight while you're still clear-headed.
Here are the basics to know when ordering your drinks:
What it is: A liquor served in a small shot glass without ice; toss it back all at once.
Say: “Two shots of Tequila with lime and salt, please.”
On the rocks
What it is: A spirit or a cocktail that is poured over ice cubes in a straight-walled, flat-bottomed glass. Some liquors, like blended Scotches, gin and high-proof Bourbon benefit from the chilling and dilution that ice gives to open up its flavors and aromas.
Say: “Bourbon on the rocks, please.”
What it is: Two ounces of a single spirit served in an old-fashioned glass that’s meant to be sipped—no chilling, no ice or any other mixers. Usually used on Whiskey or Brandy, both commonly drunk at room temperature.
Say: “I’ll have a Whiskey neat, please.”
What it is: An alcoholic drink stirred or shaken with ice, and then strained into a stemmed cocktail glass.
Say: “A Manhattan up, thanks!”
What it is: Here’s where the confusion begins. ‘Straight up’ can be used to mean the same as ‘neat’ when it comes to spirits usually drunk at room temperature, but is also used interchangeable with ‘up’ if it’s understood that it’s a drink meant to be served cold.
Say: “Ketel One straight up,” for a chilled vodka and Vermouth, or “Wild Turkey straight up,” for a Bourbon neat.