Is there a word to describe things you eat or drink while consuming alcohol? We usually eat something like chips, cucumbers, olives etc while drinking especially with strong types of drinks like vodka (mostly because it makes it easier to drink) or when we'd like to take a while drinking and probably getting drunk at the end.

Intending to have a wild drunk night, a couple of pals get together with a bottle of strong alcoholic drink in the woods. Joe takes out glasses and the bottle and says,

OK Jack. What you waiting for? Go get the [word]. Come on! What is it?... Oh, You didn't forget to get the [word]. All you had to do was to drop by a supermarket and get some [word].

Or someone pour you some liquor. You drink a bit and say,

Wow it's a bit strong! Have you got some [word]? Anything will do.

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    I don't believe Anglophones in general really have the exact concept you refer to. You might be warned against drinking on an empty stomach, and I've certainly come across the recommendation to have a glass of milk to line your stomach before going out on a drinking session. But what you seem to be talking about is what I'd call nibbles. Whatever - it's on ELU as Is there an English word meaning “snacks eaten as an accompaniment while drinking alcohol”? Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:37
  • @FumbleFingers Thank you, a very helpful link you put up there. As I checked then there's not an independent concept in English to refer to these.
    – Yuri
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:45
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    It sounds like in your culture, there are certain foods that are considered "good food to eat while drinking alcohol". I'm not sure if any English-speaking cultures have that concept. If the dialogue you're talking about were occurring in, say, the United States, I'd probably expect the word to just be "food". If the dialogue were occurring in your country, maybe you could invent a phrase, like "vodka food", and then explain what it means. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 22:26
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    There really isn't a specific word for this concept. (AFAIK, but then I think of various alcoholic drinks as something that goes with food, rather than vice versa.) Appetizers, snacks, canapes, munchies &c are all used for casual food, but equally so when there's no alcohol involved.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 7:23

7 Answers 7


I'm not sure we have a direct analog, for food we only consume with alcohol, but the word


would apply. They mean small food items to be consumed, not as a meal. Chips, cucumbers, and olives would definitely apply.

Serving a similar purpose, people frequently mix other liquids in with hard alcohol to make cocktails that taste better. We would call those


And sometimes people have a drink on hand that they drink after consuming hard alcohol to get rid of the lingering taste, and that is what we would call a


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    I agree the exact analog doesn't really have a name (or even exist in the minds of most Anglophones). But I might fall back on (formal or humorous) accoutrements. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:42
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    Has the word accoutrements been used to specifically mean food that goes with alcohol? I would agree that one could call paired snacks "accoutrements" to social drinking, but I think this would be a difficult word to use casually, and prone to confusion since it wouldn't refer to the food specifically. And of course, you'd have to use the French pronunciation for maximum effect. @FumbleFingers
    – mstorkson
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:44
  • For such an obvious usage I really wouldn't care whether anyone else had used it in exactly that way before. But noting OP is almost certainly Russian (a country with some serious alcohol issues that need resolving! :), it occurred to me to search Google Books for a collocation with their favourite tipple. And I'd say this one fits the bill: This time, he was armed with the same waiter and another bottle of vodka and accoutrements. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:53
  • Can you imagine someone with a thick russian accent trying to say "accoutrements" though?
    – mstorkson
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:55
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    +1 for snacks. Definitely the go-to word in much of the US.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 19:10

In the U.S. (and Canada), appetizers, referring to anything served before a meal, is the most common term for hors d'oeuvres. Light snacks served outside of the context of a meal are called hors d'oeuvres (with the English-language pluralization). LINK

It doesn't have to be served with alcohol.

Bar Food, appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, nibbles, snacks, finger foods, munchies, bar nuts -- any of these can be used, including specifics. We're having 'crawfish and beer', or 'wine and cheese'.

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    Bar Food may be a legal requirement too. Here in New Zealand anywhere that applies for a "Liquor Licence" must fulfill certain requirements, like minimum signage, training for bartenders, and to provide food to patrons. Stocking packs of potato chips/crisps is insufficient to meet the requirements of the licence, and can result in loss of licence (which is a death sentence for a bar)
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 6:03
  • @Criggie You must provide food to get a liquor licence? So discos in NZ all have food? Sounds practical for the drunk teens (you can get your kebab before even leaving!), but quite impractical for the venue. Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 10:59

There is also a synonym for snacks, munchies, in AmE.

Dude, don't tell me you forgot the munchies.

The word can also mean a sudden desire eat, as with the use of marijuana.

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    I considered this, but I realized the only time I've ever heard it used to refer to snacks, and not marijuana-induced hunger, was Mr. Burns saying it awkwardly on an old episode of The Simpsons (Lisa vs The 8th Commandment, aired 1991). I'd recommend against using it to avoid confusion.
    – mstorkson
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:41
  • @mstorkson, I think we merely stopped using "munchies" as a word for snacks; I'm pretty sure that we used it in that sense in the 1990s. It may have been regional.
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 1:21

Consider drunk food. It's more colloquial than a "real" definition, but I think it fits. Here's a usage from an article (23 best drunk foods):

Drunk Food

Drunk food is what you [eat] ... in the misguided hope that it’ll absorb whatever alcohol hasn’t yet made it into your blood stream.

(You can also, of course, eat the food during a night of drinkingSorry there's not a more "official" source, it's pretty colloquial (USA), but it may fit your use.)

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    As a note of caution: my first assumption (native BrE speaker) would be that 'drunk food' meant the food one makes oneself (generally incompetently) when drunk – terribly overladen sandwiches, burnt pizza, peanut butter by itself and so on.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 21:28
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    @dbmag9 - True, it could be widely used. ...and thinking about it, I wouldn't necessarily consider peanuts/cucumbers/olives to be "drunk food". But I'll go ahead and leave it here, unless it's that far off-base from OP's question.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 21:32
  • ....I have never once in my life heard this. And I'm from CA.
    – Harukogirl
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 7:19
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    ... and that's a shame really, since this is the only answer that actually attempts to answer the question. Most other answers amount to, the snacks eaten while drinking alcohol are called "snacks".
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 12:48

No, there is no good English equivalent for закуска. This is probably because the drinking culture in English-speaking countries is very different from that of Russia. There is typically much less food involved.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review
    – user3169
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 6:00
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    @user3169 saying that there isn't a word in English is an answer.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 7:18

In the UK, it depends how posh you are.

If you have a cook or use outside caterers, you will have them make canapes: at a pinch, you could buy some ready-made from Marks and Spencer's.


Ordinary people have nibbles: a pack of peanuts, rice crackers or crisps bought from a supermarket and poured into a bowl.

  • No, it depends on what the food is. A bowl of peanuts doesn't count as canapes regardless of how expensive the bowl is or sophisticated the eater is. Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 13:22
  • Is canapes a kind of nibbles? Can only posh people have canapes? What if posh people, while drinking, eat something that isn't canapes?
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 1:22
  • @MathieuK, canapes are not nibbles, and vice versa. For special occasions (for example weddings) many ordinary British people up their game and provide their guests with canapes. If posh people, while drinking, eat something that isn't canapes, they would more likely go for this kind of thing fortnumandmason.com/products/fortnum-s-savoury-platter rather than a bowl of crisps.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 3:49
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    Your first version sounded to me to be suggesting that the word one uses is determined by how posh one is. (I suspect that that's where @DavidRicherby was coming from.) It's still a bit like that, but now shows (possibly with your comment--it's all blurring together, I need sleep) that the word one uses depends on the food being served/eaten, which in turn depends on how posh one is.
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 5:05
  • @MathieuK. My mistake to assume that people would know (or do a bit of research to find out) that canapes and nibbles are completely different things. I hope that I have now made that clear.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 5:50

To indicate alcohol consumption, consider adding modifiers like bar or party. E.g. bar food or party appetizers. Or specifically mention the alcohol.

OK Jack. What you waiting for? Go get the finger foods to go with the beer. Come on! What is it?... Oh, You didn't forget to get the bar snacks. All you had to do was to drop by a supermarket and get some party appetizers.

Finger foods describes the kind of foods you're discussing, which you eat with your fingers.

If someone said bar snacks to me, I'd be thinking of salted peanuts. That's the thing that I've seen set out at a bar to encourage people to drink more. Bar food would bring to mind a particularly greasy meal, e.g. chicken wings, fries, or nachos. Party snacks would include things like chips. Sliced cucumber or olives might make it as finger foods. Hors d'ouevres reads fancier to me, e.g. stuffed olives, bacon-wrapped oysters, or canapes. I'd expect hors d'ouevres to come from a caterer or a serious cook.

Wow it's a bit strong! Have you got some finger foods? Anything will do.

Note that if you mean pickled cucumbers rather than sliced cucumbers, we'd usually just call those pickles. When I hear cucumbers, I expect fresh cucumbers. I mention that because I would think pickles would fit better as an alternative to olives or chips, which tend to be salty.

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