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Bartending Basics

Bartending Techniques

These are American Bartenders School techniques for preparing mixed drinks recipes, building, stirring and shaking. These techniques are the same ones that our students learn in the bartending school class.

These cocktail drink videos show the proper technique and explain when and why cocktail drink recipes are either shaken, stirred or build.  Learn how to make hundreds of popular mixed drink recipes at American Bartenders School. Read the reviews posted online by our students and call to become a bartender today!

How to Shake a Cocktail

Fill the cocktail shaker half way ice and add the cocktail ingredients. Close the shaker firmly, and hold it with your right hand wrapped around the top and your left hand cradling the bottom. Raise the shaker over your shoulder and shake hard until the drink is  chilled, 10 to 15 seconds. Strain it into a glass—a good shake will leave a layer of very fine ice shards on the surface of the drink

How to Stir a Cocktail

Fill a mixing glass half way with ice.  Add liquors and other cocktail ingredients. Hold a bar spoon at the top of the twisted part of the shaft between your thumb and first two fingers.Twirl the bar spoon 10 to 15 time gently mixing the ingredients.

How to Build a Cocktail

Fill a glass with ice.  Pour liquor of choice first over ice.  Add additional liquors or mixes.  Add sip stick to gently stir ingredients.Strain the ingredients into a stemmed cocktail glass with out the ice.

How to Layer a Cocktail

  •  Pour into the required glass the heaviest liquid first.
  •  Place a bar spoon (or teaspoon) upside down into the glass against the edge.
  •  Slowly pour the next heaviest liqueur over the back of the spoon.
  •  Continue with each liqueur, ending with the lightest.

Bar Equipment

Learn how to make hundreds of popular mixed drink recipes at American Bartending Schools free video bartending school.

Jigger image Jigger: A two sided measuring tool with different measures on each side. They come in various sizes.
Muddler picture Muddler: Use for trashing fruit, or condiments,etc
Cocktail shaker picture Cocktail Shakers: Use for blending ingredients in cocktails and mixed drinks. There are two types. The easiest to use is the three part shaker consisting of Metal mixing cup, strainer and measure cap. The 3 part shaker come in various sizes depending on how many drinks you want to prepare.
Boston shaker image The second type is a Boston shaker that consist of a metal mixing cup and a glass mixing cup.
Bar Spoon graphic Bar Spoon: Use to stir ingredients in a mixing cup or in a tall glass or mixing cup.
Strainer image Strainer: Fits in the shaker or mixing cup and used to remove the ice from a mixing cup or cocktail shaker.
Corkscrew picture Corkscrew: Use for opening wine bottles.
Ice Bucket image Ice Bucket: A metal or insulated ice bucket will keep your ice cold and clean.
Ice Tongs or Scoop graphic Ice Tongs or Scoop: Use to add ice to drinks. Never handle ice with your hands, it’s not hygienic. Don’t use glassware as an ice scoop, the glass could easily break in your hands.
Electric Blender picture Electric Blender: Use for drinks with fruit pieces, cream or ice cream. An electric blender will smoothly blend thicker ingredients together.
Cutting board image Cutting Board: Use for cutting fruit with sharp knife.

Bar Supplies

Bar Glasses

Glasses come in various sizes. These are the basic shapes of the most popular cocktail drink glassware.   Lean how to make hundreds of the most popular cocktail drink recipes at our drink recipe page.

Highball glass image Rocks Glass image Frosted Collins glass picture Hurricane glass image
Highball Rock Collins Hurricane
Martini glass picture Cocktail glass image Brandy glass picture Cordial glass graphic
Martini Cocktail Brandy Cordial
Beer mug image Beer Pilsner glass picture Shot Glass image Shooter glass picture
Beer Stein Beer Pilsner Shot Shooter
Fluted Champgane picture Red Wine Glass image White wine glass graphic
Fluted Champagne Red Wine White Wine

Liquor Dictionary

American Bartending School’s liquor dictionary gives a brief definition of the most popular distilled spirits and describes many of their flavors.

Popular Liquors Photo
Popular Liquors Photo

Learn how to make hundreds of popular mixed drink recipes at American Bartending Schools free video bartending school.

Whiskey is a spirit, aged in wood, obtained from the distillation of a fermented mash of grain. Whiskey is produced in four countries: the United States, Canada, Scotland, and Ireland. The whiskeys produced in Canada, Ireland, and Scotland take on the name of their countries. Whiskeys produced in other countries, even though they may taste similar, cannot legally be called Canadian, Irish, or Scotch.

Whiskeys vary in alcoholic strength, from 110 proof American bottled in bond whiskey, to 70 proof Canadian whiskeys, sold only in Canada. Most whiskeys sold in the United States are either 86 or 80 proof, depending on the distiller and brand. Prior to the 1960s, most whiskeys were bottled at a higher proof. Today, modern drinkers prefer lighter-tasting whiskeys. Federal law requires that the label on each bottle be plainly marked with the proof of the liquor. Proof indicates the amount of alcohol in any distillate, and represents 50 percent alcohol by volume. The term “proof” came out of the pioneering era of distillation. In the beginning, to determine the strength of liquors, distillers would mix equal quantities of the spirit and gunpowder and then apply a flame to the mixture. If the gunpowder failed to burn, the spirit was too weak; if it burned too brightly, it was too strong. However, if it burned evenly, with a blue flame, it was said to have been proved. Hence the word proof. Pure alcohol, like the kind used in laboratories, is 200 proof, being 100 percent alcohol. A combination of half alcohol and half water is scored as 100 proof or 50 percent alcohol. Proof is a measure of alcoholic strength, not necessarily of quality.

American Whiskey
American whiskeys are rigidly defined by law, and gov­erned accordingly. They include bourbon, corn, sour mash, Tennessee, blended, straight, bottled in bond, and rye.  The history of American whiskey and America parallel each other. Whiskey was an integral part of everyday life in the Colonial days. It helped comfort the settlers during hard times and was enjoyed at the end of a rough day. It was also used to cure snakebite, ward off disease, and ease pain both superficially and internally.

Canadian Whisky
Canadian whisky is a distinctive product of Canada made under government supervision in accordance with the regulations governing the manufacture of whisky in Canada. Canadian whiskeys’ are whisky blends. The most distinguishing characteristic of Canadian whisky is its light body.

Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky is a distinctive product of Scotland, made in compliance with the laws of Great Britain. There are two types of Scotch whiskies sold in the United States.  The first type is blends of malt and grain whisky.  These are the most popular because they are made in large quantities and the least expensive.

The second type is single malt.  A single malt Scotch comes from one distillery and made from only one malted barley.  Single malt Scotches are expensive because they are made in limited quantities.

Brandy is a potable spirit, distilled from a fermented mash of grapes or other fruit. Most brandy is distilled from wine. White wine, made from white grapes, is used most often. Wine that has recently finished its fermentation process makes the best brandy. An aged wine, even if it is of superior quality, won’t make a good brandy.

Brandies are produced wherever grapes are grown. Cognac comes from France, and Metaxa is from Greece. Brandies produced in California must be made from California grapes, and they have to meet rigid standards set by the distillers. California brandies account for over 75 percent of the brandy sales in the United States.

In many parts of Europe, brandy is made from fruit. Kirsch, from Germany, is cherry flavored, and Mirabelle, from France, has a plum flavor. To the brandy base, which contains the alcohol, they add an extract or concentrate of the fruit and sweetening syrups. The labels on fruit brandies must indicate the kind of fruit used, such as apricot brandy, cherry brandy, peach brandy, or blackberry brandy, etc. Almost all brandies are aged in oak barrels from three to eight years.

Cognac should be mentioned more specifically because it is the most famous of all the brandies. It is produced in the Cognac region of France, which is an area north of Bordeaux, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, with the city of Cognac near its center. The region is divided into seven districts, ranking in order of the quality of the cognac made in each district. In order, they are: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins, Bois, Bons Bois, Bois Ordinaries, and Bois a Terrior.

It is important to understand that all cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac. A brandy may only be called cognac if it is distilled from wine made of the grapes that grow within the legal limits of Charente and Charente Inferieure Departments of France. Brandies distilled from wines other than these are not legally entitled to the name cognac, even though they may be shipped from the city of Cognac.

Gin is distilled from grain and receives its unique flavor and aroma from juniper berries and other botanicals. Every gin producer has his own special recipe, which is under strict quality control. The flavor of gin will vary with the distiller.  Gin was first produced in Holland by Dr. Sylvius, a Dutch physician, during the 17th century. He named it Genievre, the French word for the juniper berry. It was the English who shortened the name to gin. Brought from Holland into England by English soldiers, who called it “Dutch Courage”, gin soon became the national drink of England and has so remained.

Gin can be made two ways, by either being distilled or compounded. All leading popular brands sold in the United States are distilled. Compounded simply means a mixture of neutral spirits with juniper berries. Distilled gin is distilled completely.

Virtually all gins in the United States use the word “dry.” You will see it on brand labels that may read, “Dry Gin,” “Extra Dry Gin,” “London Dry Gin,” or “English Dry Gin,” but they all mean the same thing‑‑lacking in sweetness. Originally, “London Dry” meant gin produced in London, but the name “London” is considered to be generic, and therefore it is often used to describe gins produced in the United States.

Rum is produced wherever sugar cane grows. Many coun­tries, such as the United States, South Africa, and even Russia, produce rum, but it is only the Caribbean Islands that produce rum in quantities sufficient for worldwide export. The islands in the Caribbean each produce a distinctive type of rum, the result of the base material used, the method of distillation, and the length of maturation. Generally, the islands where the Spanish language is spoken, such as Puerto Rico, produce light, dry-tasting rums. The English speaking Caribbean islands produce dark, heavy-tasting rums.

By definition, rum is any alcoholic distillate made from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses, or other sugar cane by-products, distilled at less than 190 proof, that also possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to rum.

Sugar cane was brought to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus on his journey from the Azores Islands. The climate was perfect for growing sugar cane, and soon it was being grown on every Caribbean island. The Spanish colonists who followed Columbus brought with them the art of distilling and began distilling the juice of the sugar cane into an alcoholic beverage, which became known as rum. Most authors believe the word “rum” is derived from the old words rumbullion (rumpus) or rumbustion (uproar), certainly appropriate words when referring to the first rum drinkers.

Rums can be broken down into various classifications. The light-bodied ones are dry and have only a very light molasses taste. They are available in two varieties: white, which is by far the most popular, and gold, which is a mixture of light and dark. The gold is sweeter and has a more pronounced molasses taste. The two favorite light rums come from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Another classification is heavy-bodied rums that are much darker and sweeter. They have a pungent bouquet and a heavy molasses taste. The dark rums differ because of slower fermentation and special maturation processes. Well-known dark rums come from Jamaica, Demerara, Martinique, Trinidad, Bermuda and New England.

Tequila, the primary spirit of Mexico, has its own special flavor that is almost tart and leaves the tongue clean and tingling. In the 1970s, tequila became the fastest growing spirit in sales, as vodka did in the 1960s.  Tequila is obtained from the distillation of the fermented juice (sap) of the mescal plant, called pulque. The only source for Tequila is the mescal plant, which is a species of the agave plant. It is a cactus that takes between twelve and thirteen years to mature. Its long leaves, or spikes, are cut off at harvest time, leaving only the bulbous central core, called the pina, meaning pineapple. The pinas, which weigh from 80 pounds to 175 pounds each, are taken to the distillery where they are cooked in pressure cookers for several hours. They are then cooled and shredded, and the juice is pressed out. The fermentation process is completed in huge wooden vats.  The fermented juice is then twice distilled in traditional copper-pot stills.

Like whiskey, vodka is distilled from a fermented mash of grain, but they differ in the methods of distillation. Whiskey is distilled at a low proof to retain flavor. Vodka, however, is distilled at a high proof, 190 or above, and then processed even further to remove all flavor. Most American distillers filter their vodkas through activated charcoal. Also, whiskey is aged, and vodka is not.

A few vodkas are made from potatoes. Most vodka is not.  Almost all vodka is made from grain, the most common being corn, rye, and wheat.  There are many countries that claim they invented vodka, among them Poland and Russia. Some historians claim the Poles were producing it as early as the 8th century AD, for use as medicine. It wasn’t until the 15th century AD, that both the Poles and the Russians were drinking it every day.

The words liqueurs and cordials are used interchangeably. Liqueurs were first developed by the Christian monks of the middle ages. They were developed to help the sick. The monks added secret combinations of honey, seeds, herbs, spices, roots, and bark to distilled-base spirits and offered them as remedies.

After Shock
Cinnamon liqueur imported from Canada. Initially tastes like hot cinnamon.

Amaretto Di Saronno
Imported Italian liqueur made from apricot stones, which produce an almond flavor.

B & B D.O.M.
Imported liqueur from France. A combination of Benedictine and Brandy that started out as a popular mixed drink until the French decided to bottle the two together.

Campari Aperitivo
Aperitif imported from Italy. Aromas of fruit pits and botanicals. Slightly bitter flavors of fruit.

Black raspberry liqueur from France made with small black raspberries, other fruits, herbs and honey.

Chartreuse Green
Herbal liqueur made by the monks of the Carthusian order in the French Alps.

Cointreau Liqueur
Imported orange liqueur from France. Similar to orange curacao. Clear in color. Flavor of fresh orange peels with a slight hint of spice.

Romana Black Sambuca
Imported licorice flavored liqueur from Italy. Black color.

Imported liqueur from Scotland. Made with aged Scotch-over 15 years old-and blended with heather honey and herbs.

Hazelnut Liqueur imported from Italy. A mix of hazelnuts, berries, and herbs. Flavors of hazelnut and butter.

Clear cinnamon schnapps from Switzerland with flecks of gold leaf floating in the bottle. Sweet-sour cinnamon flavors.

Grand Marnier
Made with cognac, essence of wild oranges and delicate syrup, the mixture is aged in oak casks prior to bottling.

Irish Mist Liqueur
Imported liqueur from Ireland. A blend of heather and clover honey and herbs.

Imported liqueur from Germany. Intensely herbal, citrus nose.

Liquore Galliano
Imported liqueur from Italy. Aromas of roots, herbs, flowers, and cedar.

Metaxa Ouzo
Imported liqueur from Greece. A combination of grapes, herbs, and berries including aniseed, licorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel, and hazelnut.

Pernod Anise
The recipe for Pernod is a slight variation of the original recipe for absinthe; an herbal elixer made from 15 exotic herbs steeped in alcohol. Licorice flavored and yellow-green color.

Midori Melon
Imported honeydew melon flavored liqueur. Light, fresh melon taste.

Yukon Jack
Canadian liqueur. White-wine-like appearance. Flavors of orange and spirit.

Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
America’s number one imported liqueur. Aromas of coffee beans. Flavors of coffee and semisweet chocolate.

Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur
Imported coffee liqueur from Jamaica.

Bailey’s Irish Cream
Cream liqueur imported from Ireland. A blend of real cream and Irish whiskey.

Melon Liqueur
Sweet melon flavored.

Brown Creme De Cacao
Brown color. Rich cocoa flavor.

White Creme De Cacao
Clear color, taste the same as the Brown Crème De Cacao.

Creme De Menthe Green
Dark green color. Mint flavor.

White Creme De Menthe
Clear. Natural mint flavor.

Creme De Banana
American banana flavored liqueur. The ‘Creme’ means that this liqueur is sweeter than most liqueurs or schnapps, not that it is blended with cream.

Creme De Noyaux
Made from fruit stones (pits) that gives it a nutty, almond flavor. Similar in flavor to Crème De Almond

Creme De Cassis
Black currant flavored liqueur .

Peppermint Schnapps
Peppermint flavored liqueur. Schnapps is less sweet than a liqueur or a fruit creme.

Peach Schnapps
Peach flavored. Most schnapps are generally low in proof and contain a lower sugar content than other cordials.

Root Beer Schnapps
Root Beer flavored schnapps made in the U.S.

Buttershots Schnapps
Cordial that has intense butterscotch aromas and flavors.

Fire Water Cinnamon Schnapps
Hot cinnamon schnapps, like fireball candy. 100 proof.

American liqueur with the aroma and flavor of licorice from the anise seed.

Orange Curacao
Orange flavored (only natural ingredients are used) liqueur. Made from orange peel.

Blue Curacao
Orange flavored. Made from orange peel. Blue color.

Triple Sec
Orange flavored liqueur. Orange peels are used for the flavoring. Similar to curacao, but more refined.

Southern Comfort
A blend of bourbon and peach liqueur. Made from bourbon and peach liqueur in which fresh peaches were marinated.

Wine Dictionary

Learn how to make hundreds of popular mixed drink recipes at American Bartending Schools free video bartending school.

When people first begin ordering wine it is easy to be confused with the type of red wine available. Shall I have the “Red Bordeaux” or the “Cabernet Sauvignon”? For all you know, you could be having the same wine! The problem is that some wine producer’s name their wine after the region where the grape is grown and others based on the variety of the grapes used. A simple rule is that wine from France and most of Europe is named after the region. Wine from the United States, Australia and other non-European countries are named after the grape. I have included only the most popular types of grapes.

Cabernet Sauvignon (Ka-ber-nay soh-vin-yoh)
Where it is produced: Bordeaux, California, Washington, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.

Characteristics: Known as the “King of Red Wine”, it is the most popular red wine grape to date. Its color is medium to dark red with usually strong tannins. When grape is young, it has a vegetal aroma – mint and green bell pepper. With greater maturity, it develops softer tannins with strong flavor of blackcurrant. The good wines aged longer and may develop chocolate, leather, tobacco, lead pencil or cedar aromas.

Merlot (Mehr-loh)
Where it is produced: Bordeaux, California, Washington, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.

Characteristics: Often used as a grape to blend with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, Merlot is increasingly gaining popularity on its own. Its color is medium to dark ruby with usually soft tannins. It has rich and ripe plumy fruit flavor with a fruity lingering aftertaste with a hint of vanilla. It is best drunk young.

Pinot Noir (Pee-no Nwahr)
Where it is produced: Burgundy, Alsace, Germany, California, Oregon, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand.

Characteristics: It is the grape that is used to make great Burgundy wines. Its color is light to medium red with soft tannins, usually dry with a suggestion of sweetness. Aroma and flavor varies from region to region. In France, it is earthy with hints of roasting coffee, prunes or plums. In California, it may have a berry-like aroma of cherries or vanilla. Drink it when it’s young.

Syrah (Sir-ah) or Shiraz (Sear-az)
Where it is produced: France, Switzerland, California, Italy, Israel, Australia and South Africa

Characteristics: Known as either Syrah or Shiraz, this grape allows wine-makers to vary in style from light to full-bodied and in taste from mediocre to great. Its color is usually dark red with high tannins. The aroma and flavors can vary from fruit flavors (strawberry, cherry or raspberry) to vegetal flavors (roasted green peppers), meaty flavors (smoky bacon) to spicy flavor (black pepper). The best wines can age well.

Gamay (Gam-ay)
Where it is produced: Beaujolais and Loire Valley in France.

Characteristics: A light-hearted and friendly wine, which has helped, drawn many drinkers into red wines. It is more popularly known as “Beaujolais” than by the name of the grape. Its color is light to medium red with soft tannins. It is surprising fruity and fragrant with grapey or strawberries flavors. Most wine makers try to maintain the youthful, light-bodied, low alcohol style which followers have grown to like. Definitely drink it young.

Zinfandel (Zin-fan-dell)
Where it is produced: California

Characteristics: An increasingly popular wine in the US that has a pink version called the “White” berry bouquet, sometimes peppery or earthy. Moderate tannin and acidity. Good, full-bodied Zinfandel can keep.

Sangiovese (Sahn-jo-vay-zay)
Where it is produced: California, Central Italy, and Argentina.

Characteristics: The grape that is used primarily for the popular Italian wine called “Chianti” (Key-ahn-tee). Its color is medium ruby red with low to medium tannins. It has an earthy and smoky aroma though some may exhibit an aroma of cherry fruit . Has a slightly harsh and bitter aftertaste. The good ones can keep up to six years.

Nebbiolo (Neb-be-o-low)
Where it is produced: California, Italy (Piedmont).

Characteristics: The grape that is used for Italy’s finest wine – Barbaresco (Bar-bear-esk-o), Barolo and Gattinara (Ghatt-een-ah-rah). Its color is dark red and is tannic and acidic when young. With age, it becomes rich and dry and is usually full bodied. It has an earthy and pungent aroma with suggestion of leather or licorice. Often with a bitter aftertaste. Can age well.

Tempranillo (Tem-pra-knee-oh)
Where it is produced: Spain, Portugal, and Argentina.

Characteristics: Used to make great Spanish wines such as the Rioja (Ree-o-ha), Pesquera (Pess-care-ah) and Vega Silica (Veg-ah Si-sil-yah). Its color is deep red with moderate tannins. It has a pepper and vanilla flavor although its aroma is often masked by the blending with other grapes.

Popular White Wines
Although red wines are probably more popular for wine lovers, most us begin drinking white wine first. The major difference between red and white wine is the absence of tannin, which gives you that harsh or astringent taste when you have too much of it. That is the reason why white wine is enjoyed chilled. Like red wine, there are many different types of grapes used for white wines. We review the most popular.

Chardonnay (Shar doe nay)
Where it is produced: France, US, Australia, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and many other places.

Characteristics: Known as the “King of White Wine”, it is currently the most popular white wine grape. Its color is pale to straw yellow and its aroma can vary from region to region. In cooler climates, there are hints of apple, citrus, butter and vanilla whereas in the warmer climate, the aroma swings toward melon and tropical fruits. It is usually oaked and is full bodied and toasty with moderate acidity.

Sauvignon Blanc (Saw Vee nyon blahnk)
Where it is produced: Bordeaux, Loire Valley, US, Australia, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, Italy and many other places.

Characteristics: Also known as Fumé Blanc, this grape is a popular blending grape for Bordeaux wines. Its color is light to medium yellow with a tinge of green. It has a grassy bouquet like the smell of a freshly cut lawn. May also display scents of lemons, asparagus and fig.

Chenin Blanc (shay nan blahnk)
Where it is produced: Vouvray, Anjou, Saveuniéres,Saumur, Steen, US.

Characteristics: Used to make many different types of wine – sparkling, dry and sweet wines. Its color is usually pale to medium yellow and may vary from dry to semi-sweet and sweet with moderate to high acidity. It has a honey aroma with scents of hay as well.

Sémillon (sem ee yon)
Where it is produced: Bordeaux, Australia, South Africa and Chile.

Characteristics: The grape is well known in France for making the sweet wines of Sauternes although in other parts of the world, it is made as a dry white wine. It is also a common blending partner with the Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux. Its color is light to medium yellow. Its aroma is slightly grassy with a hint of lemon. With maturity, it develops nutty, buttery and toasty scents. The wines from Sauternes have honey-like bouquet and are sweet.

Gewürztraminer (gah VERTZ trah mee ner)
Where it is produced: Alsace, Germany, US.

Characteristics: This very distinctive grape is found in limited regions but is gaining some popularity. Its color is medium yellow and it has a strong bouquet of fresh roses and lychee fruit. It is often a soft fat wine and can sometimes be spicy. The best Gewürztraminers are found in Alsace and Germany.

Muscat (moos caht)
Where it is produced: Alsace, Italy, Austria

Characteristics: Also known as Muskadel. Is also often confused with the Muscadet (Muss ka day) grape used in the Loire valley in France. Used to make types of dessert, sparkling and dry white wines. Its color is medium yellow and it has a strong flowery, perfumey, fruity flavor that is very distinct.

Riesling (Rees ling)
Where it is produced: Alsace, Germany, Austria, US, Australia and Canada.

Characteristics: Also known as Rhine Riesling or Johannisberging in some parts of the world. It is pale straw color. In Germany, it is often made a sweet dessert wine. Its aroma has suggestion of lemons, flowers and pineapples.

Pinot Blanc (pee noh blahnk)
Where it is produced: Alsace, Germany, Italy, Austria, US.

Characteristics: Also known as Pinot Blanco in Italy and Weissburgunder in Germany, Pinot Blanc belongs to the Pinot family of grapes. Its color is pale yellow with suggestion of honey, apples and rich tropical fruit. Tends to be dry crisp and full-bodied.

Pinot Gris (Pee noh gree)
Where it is produced: Alsace, Germany, Italy, Austria, US,

Characteristics: Also known as Tokay D’Alsace or Pinot Grigio. It is yellow in color and has a dry, rich, full-bodied, pear-like taste with creamy texture. It has a smoky or musky aroma though you may experience some buttery flavor with apricot overtones.

Trebbiano (treb bee Ah noh)
Where it is produced: France, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, and Argentina.

Characteristics: Also known as Frascati or Orvieto. It’s color is water pale-to-pale straw and is usually light bodied, dry, crisp and fruity. Often used as a blending grape as well. It has a rather neutral aroma or faint nutty bouquet.

Serving Wines

The Right Temperature
Not all wine should be served at the same temperature. Depending on the body and flavor of the wine, one should vary the temperature as recommended in the chart below. Chill the wine in a bucket of ice and water for 5 to 10 mins. Many red wines might recommend being drunk at the “room temperature”. However, it is wise to know that our room temperature is often not the room temperature where the wine is produced or labeled. Hence, a little chilling is necessary.

  • Full Bodied Red Wine – Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz.15-20°C (59 – 68° F)
  • Light Bodied Red Wine – Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy.12-15°C (54 – 59° F)
  • Dry White Wines – Chardonnay, Burgundy, Sauvignon.10-12°C (50 – 54° F)
  • Light Sweet Wine – Dessert wines, Champagne and other sparkling wines.5-10°C (41 – 50° F)

Decanting and Breathing
Decanting is often necessary for the older wines or heavier reds to remove the deposits in the bottle. To decant, stand the wine for a day and slowly pour the wine into another bottle or decanter. Ideally, do it in front of a lamp and stop when you see the deposit. Decanting also allows the wine to “breathe”, which will help soften the harsh tannin of the wine. Most red wines don’t need to breathe before serving. Don’t bother uncorking the wine and let it stand to breathe. The amount of wine which comes in contact with the air is minimal. It is better to pour it into a wine glass to let it breathe.

The Right Glasses
Glasses for red wine tend to be larger than white wines glasses. Champagne should be served in a flute glass whenever possible.

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