Unless you’re a beverage wizard with a deep and thorough understanding of every drink across every category, there’s bound to be something — a wine, beer, spirit, cocktail, tincture, ingredient — that you’re unfamiliar with, or, at the very least, unsure of how to pronounce. And that is totally understandable. I certainly don’t know how to pronounce everything across the drinks space and I’ll assume my colleagues, well versed as they may be, don’t either. But that’s part of being interested in and immersing oneself in the vast realm of drinks. As Adam has previously said, “One of the beauties of the beverage world is that we get to encounter liquids from all over the world, and that means we are going to encounter the languages used where those liquids come from as well.”

So if you find yourself in that situation while out at a bar or restaurant, there’s no shame in making your best attempt at pronouncing a drink name, but there’s also no shame in pointing to the menu. I’ll guess that bartenders, servers, and somms encounter both approaches — and probably everything in between — all the time and know the best way to handle it (hopefully by saying it aloud and confirming it’s indeed what you want). In the spirit of learning more, though, why not ask how to pronounce it? That way, the next time you order that drink, you can do so a little more comfortably, no pointing needed.

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