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Get ready for Saint Patrick’s Day: Top 10 English drinking expressions

13 marca 2018, wtorek,

St. Patrick’s is coming up and being a day associated with drinking copious amounts of booze we have decided to talk briefly about the holiday itself and then jump right into 10 useful terms and expressions for drinking in the pub!

Published under CC0 Creative Commons license. Source: pixabay.com

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland is said to have died on March 17th 461 AD and the day is commemorated by the Catholic church in order to celebrate the introduction of Christianity to Ireland.  With the Irish diaspora globally being so large (especially in the United States) Saint Patrick’s Day happens to be celebrated in many parts of the world outside Ireland.  Irish heritage is generally celebrated in general in terms of its music, literature and history.  It is typical to wear as much green as you can and food and beverages coloured green with edible food colouring is a delight for children.  In the evenings one of the most popular ways to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day begins; heading off to the pub for some green beer or any old alcoholic beverage whatsoever.

English Language for the Pub

Cheers – Perhaps the most important expression, it is the most common salutation before taking that first tasty sip.  You can also say, “Here’s to you.” “Bottoms up”

I’ll get the next round –  Groups of 2- 6 people going out might order drinks on a system of ‘buying rounds’ where one person buys the drinks for everyone at the table. Don’t worry! It may be an expensive round but it means you’ll be receiving drinks from the others at the table as the rounds continue. This leads to the very typical question; “So whose round is it?”  – meaning : Whose turn is it to buy the round?

On the rocks – This just means that you would like ice in the glass.  If you are drinking a really good Scotch please don’t get it on the rocks. Save ‘the rocks’ for fizzy drinks and water if you must.

Ale vs lager – These are beers where the difference is generally in the brewing procedures.  Ales are warm-brewed and lagers are cold-brewed.  During the brewing process this will mean that the fermented yeast will collect in different places and therefore be more conducive to different brewing additives.  Ales are often described as being fuller, fruity or aromatic while lagers are often called ‘crisp’, cleaner and clearer. Colloquially said, lagers taste like a drink and ales taste like a meal.

Gimme a pint of ___________ – A pint typically means a nice 0.4 L glass of something (or 0.56 L for imperial pint)*.  It is the most common order. Give me (gimme) a pint of whatever is on tap.

A shandy – This is a beer mixed with a Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite or fizzy water.  Some people like the beer taste to be a bit more diluted so that it doesn’t pack too much of a punch.

You wanna start a tab or pay as you go? – This question means the bartender would like to know if you are going to pay for each drink individually each time or would you like to wait and accumulate one larger bill at the end.  Doing the latter will mean that you only have to take your wallet out and leave a tip one time, at the end.

A jug or a pitcher? – A larger container for 2-4 people it contains 60oz or 1.2 litres of liquid. Fun fact: In many places in Canada a pitcher of beer will be refused to a person sitting alone. Don’t ask how I know that.

A keg – “It’s a new keg”.” I need to change the keg”. The ‘barrel’ containing several litres of beer. Typically we do NOT use wooden barrels anymore. A keg is shiny and metallic and roughly the same size as a barrel with a metal coupler which sends the pressurized beer into a hose. The first beer from a fresh keg will always be very foamy and usually it just dumped out as waste.

What’s on tap? – It means: What is the draught beer selection from the kegs?  This is the alternative of beer in a sealed bottle from the fridge.  Draught beer can be more cost-effective but sometimes it can be a bit flatter / less carbonated.

What do you do on Saint Patrick’s Day? Do you like going to the pub with your mates or do you prefer to do something social at someone’s home? Leave a comment in the comment section below.


Diaspora – the people from a particular ethnic group who live abroad

Pack too much punch – to be too overwhelming for a person in terms of how spicy, sour, tangy or strong in alcohol content something is

*A ‘US pint’ = 473ml which will often just put you over the 0.4 mark on the glass in practical terms.  It is true that a full UK pint is indeed more.  I try to bear in mind what might make for a more real world comparison to our (mostly Polish) readers who will most probably walk into an English pub in their respective cities and order a pint of IPA and get a 0.4 Zywiec glass of beer.