A Guide On Ordering Alcohol Without Being Embarrassed

Visiting a bar for the first time? Don’t know what to order at a bar for beginners? When it comes to ordering alcohol, there are a few things you should always keep in mind. For one, don’t be embarrassed if you can’t handle alcohol. If you can, order wine or beer instead. Secondly, make sure to order in advance so you have time to research the drink and choose the right bottle. Sometimes those drinks can get pretty expensive. Here are some tips to help make your buying experience as smooth as possible:

Let’s Take A Quick Look At Popular Bar Terms

If stepping into a bar for the first time makes you nervous, then that’s quite normal. You may have lots of expectations when stepping into a bar as a newbie, but if you don’t research a bit beforehand, then your expectations may vary from your reality. Let’s learn how to order shots at a bar:

  • Straight up: When you ask for a drink served “straight up,” that simply means that you want the drink stirred over ice or shaken to chill the spirit. Typically, it refers to mixed drinks or cocktails with ice.
  • Sour: It’s a traditional family of mixed drinks. They will simply add bar lime mix or margarita mix to your main drink.
  • Shake and Strain: The bartender simply puts ice and all the ingredients into a shaker tin. After shaking and straining, the drink is ready to serve.
  • On the rocks: It refers to a drink with ice. If you order whiskey and then you say on the rocks: the bartender will put ice in your drink and nothing else. 
  • Premium: Typically, it is a top-shelf liquor or premium alcohol.
  • Neat: This is one of the commonest bartending terms. When you ask for a whiskey neat, they serve you a shot straight out of the bottle in a whiskey glass without ice.
  • Dry: A combination of martini and vermouth. The drier you want, the less vermouth is added to your drink.
  • Dirty: A dirty martini is called when olive juice is added to a martini.

You have to memorize these terminologies if you want to dig further into how to order drinks at a bar. The smartest way to get equipped with the bar that you’re planning to visit is to look at their menu to get a brief idea regarding the drinks they serve. Most importantly, if you’re confused about what to order at a bar for beginnersdon’t think twice to raise a question with the bartender.

Best Drinks To Order At A Bar

Below are some drinks to order at a bar for beginners. These are some popular drinks that never go out of trend. These are not only classic drinks but also affordable too.

Moscow Mule
Seven and seven
Old Fashioned 
Rum and Coke
Whiskey Sour
Mint Julep 
Gin & Tonic
Whisky Neat

Visiting a bar for the first time may not put an end to your hesitation. If you want to play safe, then you must know about the safe drinks to order at a bar. Moscow mule, rum and coke, and mojito are the safest options of all.

1. Cosmopolitan 

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Cosmopolitan, often fondly referred to as a ‘Cosmo’, is a classic cocktail that boasts a beautiful balance of sweet and sour flavors. Its iconic status in the world of mixology is hard to dispute, especially given its star appearance in the hit TV show “Sex and the City”. The recipe traditionally calls for a combination of vodka, cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, and a dash of triple sec, which is an orange-flavored liqueur. 

These ingredients are shaken with ice and then strained into a chilled martini glass. Garnished with a twist of lemon peel or a small lime wedge, the Cosmopolitan drink presents an alluring deep pink hue. It’s loved for its crisp, fruity flavor that delivers a slight tartness, making it a refreshing and sophisticated choice for cocktail lovers.

2. Moscow Mule

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Moscow Mule is a classic cocktail that’s known for its refreshing and invigorating taste. Originating in the United States in the 1940s, this beloved cocktail is traditionally made with vodka, spicy ginger beer, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. The ingredients are stirred together and served in a distinctive copper mug, which keeps the drink chilled and enhances the flavors.

The Moscow Mule’s prominence in cocktail culture is due in large part to its balance of flavors – the sharpness of the lime, the bite of the ginger beer, and the smoothness of the vodka. This combination makes it a favorite choice for cocktail enthusiasts. It’s also quite versatile and serves as a base for many variations, with additions such as mint, cucumber, or different fruits.

3. Seven and seven 

what to order at a bar for beginners

7 and 7, is a popular highball cocktail that is simplicity at its finest. This classic drink, which originated in the United States, is a seamless blend of Seagram’s 7 Crown Whiskey and 7 Up, hence the name. It is typically served in a highball glass over ice, making it a refreshing option, especially during social gatherings or on warmer days.

The whiskey provides a smooth, rich base, which is perfectly balanced by the crisp, sweet, and slightly citrusy flavor of the 7 Up. The Seven and Seven drink is both easy to make and pleasing to a wide range of palates, contributing to its longstanding popularity in the world of cocktails.

4. Old Fashioned

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that stands as one of the pillars of the mixology world. Its origin dates back to the early 19th century, making it one of the oldest known cocktails. The traditional recipe calls for a simple, yet elegant combination of sugar, water, bitters, and a spirit – usually bourbon or rye whiskey. The sugar and water are muddled together, bitters are added, and the mixture is stirred with the whiskey.

It’s then served in a short, round tumbler, known as an Old Fashioned glass, over a large ice cube with an orange twist and cherry for garnish. The result is a timeless and robust cocktail that offers a perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavors, letting the complexity of the whiskey shine through. It’s a staple in bars around the world and continues to be a favorite for those who appreciate a well-crafted, classic cocktail.

5. Rum and Coke

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Rum and Coke, also known widely as Cuba Libre, is a popular highball cocktail that’s loved for its simplicity and refreshing taste. It’s made by mixing dark or light rum with coke, often in a ratio of 1:2 or according to the drinker’s preference, and is usually served over ice in a highball glass. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is added to enhance the flavor and bring a zesty hint to the drink.

The melding of the sweetness and vanilla notes from the rum with the fizz and unique taste of Coke creates a delightful balance, making it a perfect choice for social gatherings or a casual drink. This cocktail is not just about the taste but also about the experience, conjuring up images of tropical getaways and relaxed, carefree moments. The Rum and Coke drink has gained worldwide popularity for its simple yet satisfying flavor profile.

6. Whiskey Sour

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Whiskey Sour is a beloved classic in the cocktail world, known for its perfect balance of flavors. This timeless drink typically consists of whiskey, usually bourbon, combined with fresh lemon juice and sugar to create a harmonious blend of sour and sweet. Some variations also include a dash of egg white, which when shaken, gives the drink a rich, frothy texture.

The cocktail is usually served in a short glass over ice and garnished traditionally with a cherry and an orange slice. The Whiskey Sour’s appeal lies not only in its robust, refreshing taste but also in its simplicity, requiring just a few ingredients. Its enduring popularity attests to its status as a staple in bars and an essential part of any cocktail aficionado’s repertoire.

7. the Margarita 

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Margarita is a classic cocktail that has graced bar menus across the globe for decades. Known for its vibrant, refreshing taste, it is traditionally made with a blend of tequila, fresh lime juice, and triple sec. These ingredients are shaken with ice and then strained into a salt-rimmed glass, typically a margarita or coupe glass.

The result is a cocktail that balances the strength of the tequila with the tartness of the lime, while the triple sec adds a hint of sweetness. The salt rim provides a contrasting flavor that complements the overall taste of the cocktail. Served either on the rocks or frozen, the Margarita drink is a staple of Mexican cuisine and a perennial favorite in the world of mixology, often associated with sunny days and festive celebrations.

8. the Sidecar 

what to order at a bar for beginners

A classic from the 1920s is a sophisticated blend of cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Served in a sugar-rimmed glass, it offers a perfect balance of strong, sweet, and sour flavors, making it a refined choice for any occasion.

9. Mint Julep

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Mint Julep is a classic cocktail that’s synonymous with Southern charm and hospitality. Traditionally associated with the Kentucky Derby, this refreshing drink features a simple combination of fresh mint leaves, sugar or simple syrup, crushed ice, and Kentucky bourbon.

The mint leaves are gently muddled to release their natural oils and then topped with sweet syrup, bourbon, and a mound of crushed ice. Garnished with a sprig of fresh mint, the Mint Julep is served in a silver or pewter cup which frosts over, providing a cool, invigorating sip that perfectly balances the sweetness of the sugar and the warmth of the bourbon.

10. Martini 

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Martini is an iconic cocktail that epitomizes sophistication and class. Traditionally composed of gin and dry vermouth, it’s stirred with ice and then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. It’s often garnished with a lemon twist or an olive, depending on personal preference. The Martini is renowned for its clean, crisp taste and strong alcoholic content.

There are many variations of this classic drink, including the Dirty Martini, which includes a splash of olive brine, and the Vodka Martini, which, as the name implies, uses vodka instead of gin. The Martini’s enduring popularity makes it a staple in bars worldwide.

11. Manhattan  

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Manhattan is a classic cocktail that’s stood the test of time, exuding sophistication and elegance. Traditionally, it’s made by stirring together whiskey, usually rye or bourbon, sweet red vermouth, and a few dashes of Angostura bitters. It’s then strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished typically with a maraschino cherry.

The Manhattan offers a perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavors, with the depth and warmth of the whiskey shining through. Its simplicity, combined with its robust flavor profile, has cemented its status as a staple in the cocktail world and a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts.

12. Negroni 

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail known for its distinctively bitter flavor and vibrant red color. It’s crafted by mixing equal parts of gin, Campari, and sweet red vermouth. The ingredients are stirred with ice and then strained into a rock glass over a large ice cube.

It’s typically garnished with a slice of orange or an orange peel twist, adding a touch of citrus aroma that perfectly complements the bittersweet drink. The Negroni’s bold, complex taste and its simplicity of preparation have made it a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts and a staple in bars around the globe.

13. Mojito

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Mojito, a classic Cuban cocktail, is a refreshing blend of rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint. Popular worldwide, it’s believed to have been a favorite of author Ernest Hemingway. Its crispness and flavor come from muddled fresh mint and lime, which are then layered with rum and swirled with sparkling water.

This drink is typically served in a Collins glass, garnished with a sprig of mint, and often enjoyed on hot summer days. Its balance of sweetness, citrus, and herbaceous mint flavors is intended to complement the potent kick of the rum, making it a timeless and popular cocktail choice.

14. Beer 

what to order at a bar for beginners

Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. It’s typically made from four basic ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. The process of brewing involves the fermentation of sugars, usually derived from malted barley, by yeast. The hops add bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malt and also contribute aroma and flavor.

Beers can vary greatly in their flavor, aroma, color, and alcohol content, leading to a diverse range of styles, from light, crisp lagers, to rich, dark stouts and ales. Enjoyed globally, beer is often a social drink, associated with camaraderie and celebration.

15. Wine 

what to order at a bar for beginners

Wine is a cherished beverage with a history spanning thousands of years, deeply woven into many cultures globally. It’s primarily produced from fermented grapes, but other fruits like apples and berries can also be used for different types of wines. The two main categories are red and white wine, although there are many subcategories including rosé, sparkling, and dessert wines.

The taste, aroma, and color of the wine can vary widely depending on the type of grape, the soil and climate of the vineyard, and the specific techniques of the winemaker. Wine is often associated with sophistication, and enjoyed both casually and during special occasions.

16. Gin & Tonic

what to order at a bar for beginners

The Gin & Tonic is a classic cocktail known for its simplicity and refreshing taste. It’s made by combining gin with tonic water over ice, typically in a highball or rocks glass. The proportion can be adjusted according to personal preference, but a common ratio is one part gin to two or three parts tonic.

It’s often garnished with a slice or wedge of lime or lemon. The bitter-sweet flavor of the tonic water perfectly complements the botanicals in the gin, creating a crisp, balanced drink. The Gin and tonic is particularly enjoyed as a cooling beverage during warm weather or as an aperitif.

17. Whisky neat

what to order at a bar for beginners

Whisky neat refers to the purest way of enjoying whisky: unadulterated and without any mixers. Served straight from the bottle into a glass, it allows connoisseurs to appreciate the spirit’s true flavors and aromas. This method of consumption showcases the craftsmanship of the distiller, revealing the nuances of the aging process and the character of the cask. For those seeking an authentic whisky experience, going neat is the way to go.

18. Champagne 

what to order at a bar for beginners

Champagne is a type of sparkling wine known for its effervescence and elegance, originating from the Champagne region in France. It’s typically made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, following a meticulous and regulated process known as the “traditional method”. This involves a second fermentation in the bottle, which creates its characteristic bubbles.

Champagne can range from dry ‘Brut’ styles to sweeter ‘Doux’. With its delicate bubbles, light, crisp flavors, and association with celebration and luxury, Champagne has gained a prestigious reputation in the world of wine. It’s often enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with a wide variety of foods.

Order Drinks Right Away!

Choose The Right Drink For Yourself

When you want a mixed drink, never forget to name the liquor first. When you want a mixed drink of a particular brand, try to mention the brand first. Once you’ve decided what to order, then only walk straight to the bar to place your order.

In case you’ve not made up your mind what to order, don’t stand there unnecessarily. Try to avoid overcrowding. If you feel like asking for a recommendation, then ask them wherever the bartenders are free. Don’t shoot your questions to the bartenders when they are busy.

If you are confident enough regarding what to order at a bar for beginners, prepare yourself to shoot your answers smartly as soon as they hit you with the questions. It’s better to have a plan B as well. In case they don’t have the drink you are asking for, try to replace your order immediately.

Pay For The Ordered Drink

Well, there are myriad ways to pay for your drink. It depends on how you want to pay via cash debit, or credit card. Most of the bars offer you both the facilities. You can open a bar tab if you feel. The bartender will add each one of your drinks to the bar tab and charge you once you are done. Or else you can also pay after every order. 

Tipping For Regular Goers

If you become a regular customer, then you must bring this into your practice. If you prefer paying in cash, you can tell the bartender to keep the change with him/her. When you prefer to pay by debit or credit card, you can mention it verbally. 

If you are confused about how much you’ve to pay for tipping, then let us put this straight. It’s very simple to find out how much to tip at a bar. You can simply follow the rule of thumb: $1/beer or wine, $2/ cocktail, and 10-20% for large tabs. If you consider yourself thoughtful, then you can pay $2/beer or wine, $3/3/cocktail, and more than 20% on larger tabs.

How To Order Gin & Vodka?

How To Order Gin & Vodka?

Well, this may sound tricky, but you’ve to be very specific when you decide to order vodka and gin. You have to specify which top-shelf or premium alcohol you want to have. If you don’t mention it, the bartender will simply choose a low-quality liquor that won’t go well in this combination. For instance, if you want to order a martini, be specific in mentioning how you like to have a martini (shaken, dry, or dirty). You have to mention the drink type.

The Right Way To Order Whiskey

The Right Way To Order Whiskey:

Be specific about which brand or type you want to drink. There is a wide range of whiskey. It’s a broad term used as a whole. If you forget to mention which one you want, the bartender may simply use any bottle they want. Honestly, that may cost too much, and you may not afford that also. Whiskey comes in different brands with different price tags and a wide range in quality.

First of all, mention the brand that you want, then be specific about how to want to have that whiskey. For example, ‘Neat: if you want to taste the real whiskey, it’s better to order neat,’ ‘On the rocks: if you want whiskey with some ice, say, “I would like a whiskey on the rocks, please?’ 

Wrapping Up 

Well, we hope this article has answered all your queries on how to order shots at a bar, how to order vodka at a bar, and most importantly, what to order at a bar for beginnersWhen you are hoping to visit a new bar, you may google beforehand too.

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