How to tip The rules are simple, according to the etiquette experts at the Emily Post Institute: Tip a dollar per drink if the drink is relatively cheap and easy to pour (beer or wine) and generally a $1.50 for wells. If the drink is more complicated—like a sazerac or an aviation—up the ante to at least $2.

How to keep your coaster on the table We appreciate coasters and cocktail napkins as much as the next tippler, but not when they’re falling from our glasses mid-sip. Avoid these drinking dingleberries by pouring a little salt on top of your coaster or napkin, and voilà, your drink will stay clinger-free.

How to talk the talk You may have mastered “neat” and “rocks,” but if you really want to show off, drop these terms into your next conversation:

Angostura bitters n. a concentrated mix of herbs and alcohol invented in 1824 as a tonic for touchy stomachs and today used to flavor cocktails. Other brands exist—Peychaud’s, Fee Brothers—but Angostura is the most common.

float v. to pour a small amount of liquid over the back of a spoon to decoratively top off a cocktail, à la the Grand Marnier in a Cadillac margarita; see also: latte art.

highball n. Originally, in the 1930s, this lazy man’s cocktail was simply whiskey or gin with soda on the rocks; today a highball can mean pretty much any liquor mixed with soda (and sometimes more) and served in a tall glass.

jigger n. the small metal cup used to measure booze (typically an ounce and a half); essential for mixing a well-made cocktail, but just plain cheap when employed for pouring whiskeys neat.

the stick n. mixologists’ colloquialism for the bar, as in “I’m pouring drinks behind the stick tonight.”

This article appeared in the December 2010 issue of Portland Monthly Magazine.

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