1844, "a small drink of liquor, a 'nip,' " from a Scottish and northern English survival of an obsolete verb snifter "to sniffle," frequentative of snift "to sniff, snivel" (mid-14c., snifter), ultimately of imitative origin (compare sniff (v.)), but perhaps to English via a Scandinavian source (compare Old Danish snifte, Swedish snyfta).
The meaning "large bulbous stemmed glass for drinking brandy" is attested from 1937. The association of "drinking liquor" with words for "inhaling, snuffling" (such as snort (n.), snootful) is perhaps from snuff-taking and the nasal reaction to it. In Scottish and Northern England dialect snifter (n.) also had various senses, such as "a strong wind," "a bad head-cold," "snuff."
in the sports sense, 1879, originally in cricket, "taking three wickets on three consecutive deliveries;" extended to other sports c. 1909, especially ice hockey ("In an earlier contest we had handed Army a 6-2 defeat at West Point as Billy Sloane performed hockey's spectacular 'hat trick' by scoring three goals" ["Princeton Alumni Weekly," Feb. 10, 1941]). So called allegedly because it entitled the bowler to receive a hat from his club commemorating the feat (or entitled him to pass the hat for a cash collection), but the term probably has been influenced by the image of a conjurer pulling objects from his hat (an act attested by 1876). The term was used earlier for a different sort of magic trick:
Place a glass of liquor on the table, put a hat over it, and say, "I will engage to drink every drop of that liquor, and yet I'll not touch the hat." You then get under the table; and after giving three knocks, you make a noise with your mouth, as if you were swallowing the liquor. Then, getting from under the table, say "Now, gentlemen, be pleased to look." Some one, eager to see if you have drunk the liquor, will raise the hat; when you instantly take the glass and swallow the contents, saying, "Gentlemen I have fulfilled my promise: you are all witnesses that I did not touch the hat." ["Wit and Wisdom," London, 1860]
also kirschwasser, "liquor distilled from fermented cherry juice," 1778, from German Kirschwasser, literally "cherry-water;" first element from Middle High German kirse, from Old High German kirsa, from Vulgar Latin *ceresia, from Late Latin cerasium "cherry" (see cherry). For second element, see water (n.1).
c. 1500 (implied in tippling), "sell alcoholic liquor by retail," of unknown origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (such as Norwegian dialectal tipla "to drink slowly or in small quantities"). Meaning "drink (alcoholic beverage) too much" is first attested 1550s. Related: Tippled.
type of liquor flavored with aniseed, 1898, from Modern Greek ouzo, which is of uncertain origin. "A popular etymology" [OED] is that it derives from Italian uso Massalia, literally "for Marsailles," which was stamped on selected packages of silkworm cocoons being shipped from Thessaly, and came to be taken for "of superior quality."
also hootch, "cheap whiskey," 1897, shortened form of Hoochinoo (1877) "liquor made by Alaskan Indians," from the name of a native tribe in Alaska whose distilled liquor was a favorite with miners during the 1898 Klondike gold rush; the tribe's name is said by OED to be from Tlingit Hutsnuwu, literally "grizzly bear fort."
As the supply of whisky was very limited, and the throats down which it was poured were innumerable, it was found necessary to create some sort of a supply to meet the demand. This concoction was known as "hooch"; and disgusting as it is, it is doubtful if it is much more poisonous than the whisky itself. [M.H.E. Hayne, "The Pioneers of the Klondyke," London, 1897]
1813, name for various kinds of liquor drinks, or for intoxicating drinks generally, possibly a variant of switchel "a drink of molasses and water" (often mixed with rum), first attested 1790, of uncertain origin. As a verb from 1843. Related: Swizzled; swizzling. Swizzle-stick, used for stirring drinks, attested by 1859.
late 13c. (in a biblical context), "strong liquor;" mid-14c., "liquor made from the juice of fruits," from Old French cidre, cire "pear or apple cider" (12c., Modern French cidre), variant of cisdre, from Late Latin sicera, Vulgate rendition of Hebrew shekhar, a word used for any strong drink (translated in Old English as beor, taken untranslated in Septuagint Greek as sikera), related to Arabic sakar "strong drink," sakira "was drunk."
Meaning gradually narrowed in English to mean exclusively "fermented drink made from apples," though this sense also was in Old French. Later applied to any expressed juice of apples, either before or after fermentation (19c.). The former is distinguished as sweet cider, the latter as hard cider.
"fond of delicious fare," c. 1500, a corruption (as if from licker or liquor + -ish) of Middle English likerous "pleasing to the palate" (late 13c.), from Anglo-French *likerous, Old French licherous (see lecherous). Unlike the French word, it generally kept close to its literal sense. Related: Lickerishly; lickerishness.
mid-14c., nōn-schench, "slight refreshment of food and/or liquor taken at midday," originally taken in the afternoon, from none "noon" (see noon) + shench "draught, cup," from Old English scenc, related to scencan "to pour out, to give to drink," cognate with Old Frisian skenka "to give to drink, German, Dutch schenken "to give." Compare luncheon.