The Insider’s Guide to Ordering Drinks at a Bar

Raise Your Glass: A Comprehensive Guide to the Perfect Drink to Order at a Bar.

Updated Mar 28, 2023

Looking for the perfect drink order? Check out our guide to trendy and classic cocktails, mocktails, beer and wine options, and even off-menu drinks. Whether you’re a seasoned drinker or a newcomer to the bar scene, explore the best drinks to order at a bar and discover new favorites.

Hey there, my fellow drinkers! Whether you’re a seasoned barfly or a newbie to the scene, it can be tough to know what to order when you’re staring at a menu full of obscure names and fancy ingredients. Fear not, my friends, for I am here to guide you through the murky waters of the bar world and help you find your perfect poison.

Oldies But Goodies: Timeless Classics

First up, let’s talk about the classics. These are the drinks that have been around for decades (if not centuries) and have stood the test of time. Think martinis, Sex on the Beach, and old fashions. They’re classic for a reason – they’re simple, delicious, and always impressive to order. Plus, they’re usually made with just a few ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about any complicated mixology.

Let’s start with the Martini. This iconic cocktail is made with gin and dry vermouth, and is typically garnished with a green olive or a twist of lemon. There are also variations that use vodka instead of gin, known as a Vodka Martini or a Kangaroo. Martinis are usually stirred (not shaken, despite what James Bond might tell you) and served in a chilled glass. They’re elegant, timeless, and perfect for sipping before a fancy dinner or at a sophisticated cocktail party.

Next up is the Manhattan. This classic cocktail is made with whiskey (usually rye or bourbon), sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. It’s garnished with a cherry and served in a chilled glass. The combination of the sweet vermouth and the bitter bitters creates a complex, rich flavor that’s perfect for whiskey lovers. Manhattans are usually stirred and served up (without ice), making them a great option for colder months or cozy nights in.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the Old Fashioned. This cocktail is made with whiskey (usually bourbon), sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus. It’s garnished with a cherry and an orange slice, and is usually served on the rocks (with ice). The Old Fashioned is a true classic, with its origins dating back to the 19th century. It’s simple, strong, and perfect for sipping at a dive bar or a fancy cocktail lounge.

While these classic cocktails may seem simple, they’re actually quite complex in their flavor profiles. Each ingredient plays an important role in creating the perfect balance of sweetness, bitterness, and strength. And while they may not have fancy, Instagram-worthy garnishes or obscure ingredients, they’re always a hit with the crowd.

Sipping in Style: Trendy Drinks to Order

But maybe you’re looking for something a little more exciting. In that case, I recommend trying one of the trendy cocktails that have been popping up in bars everywhere. These drinks are usually made with unique ingredients (like artisanal bitters or house-made syrups) and have fun, quirky names (like the Bee’s Knees or the Dark and Stormy). They’re a great way to impress your friends and show off your hipster credentials.

First up is the Aperol Spritz. This Italian cocktail is made with Aperol (an orange-flavored liqueur), Prosecco (a sparkling wine), and soda water. It’s served over ice and garnished with a slice of orange. Aperol Spritzes are light, refreshing, and perfect for sipping on a warm summer day. They’re also low in alcohol content, making them a great option for those who want a tasty drink without getting too tipsy.

Next, let’s talk about the Moscow Mule. This drink is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. It’s typically served in a copper mug (which is said to enhance the flavor) and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint. Moscow Mules are tangy, spicy, and perfect for those who like a little kick in their drinks. Plus, they look super cool in the copper mug, making them a great option for Instagram-worthy photos.

Another trendy drink that’s been popping up on menus is the Espresso Martini. This drink is made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and freshly brewed espresso. It’s shaken with ice and served up (without ice), and is typically garnished with a few coffee beans. Espresso Martinis are perfect for those who love coffee and cocktails – they’re strong, rich, and will give you a caffeine boost and a buzz.

If you’re in the mood for something sweet and fruity, try a Frosé. This drink is essentially a frozen rosé wine slushie, and is typically made with rosé wine, strawberry puree, and sugar. It’s perfect for sipping on a hot day or at a beach party. Frosés are also super easy to make at home – just blend some frozen rosé and your favorite fruit puree together, and you’re good to go!

Breaking Boundaries: Experimental Drinks to Order at a Bar

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also try ordering something off-menu. Many bars have secret drink menus or will let you customize your order to your heart’s content. Just be sure to tip your bartender well if they go out of their way to make you something special.

One popular off-menu drink is the “Dealer’s Choice.” This is a drink where the bartender will ask you what type of spirit you prefer, what flavors you like, and then craft a custom drink just for you. It’s a fun and unique way to try something new and get a drink tailored to your tastes.

Raise Your Glass: Exploring Beer and Wine Options

And let’s not forget about beer and wine. While they might not be as flashy as a fancy cocktail, there’s nothing wrong with ordering a good ol’ pint or glass of vino. Just make sure to ask your bartender for recommendations if you’re not sure what to try.

Beer lovers have a plethora of options to choose from, depending on their tastes. If you’re a fan of light, crisp beers, try ordering a pilsner or a lager. These beers are easy-drinking and perfect for sipping on a warm day. If you prefer something with a bit more flavor, try an IPA (India Pale Ale) or a pale ale. These beers are typically hoppier and have a more complex flavor profile. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try a sour beer – these beers have a tart, tangy flavor that’s unlike any other beer you’ve tried.

Wine drinkers also have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re a fan of red wine, try ordering a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot. These wines are full-bodied and have a rich, complex flavor. If you prefer something lighter, try a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais. These wines are more delicate and have a fruitier flavor profile. If white wine is more your thing, try a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnays are typically more buttery and oaky, while Sauvignon Blancs are more crisp and citrusy.

Sipping Without the Hangover: Enjoying Mocktails

And let’s not forget about non-alcoholic options! If you’re not in the mood for alcohol, try ordering a mocktail. Many bars offer non-alcoholic versions of their cocktails, so you can still enjoy a fancy drink without the buzz. Plus, you’ll feel like a responsible adult for choosing a non-alcoholic option. And if you don’t see any mocktails on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask the bartender for their suggestions – they’re sure to have some creative ideas up their sleeve.

One popular mocktail is the “Virgin Mojito.” This drink is made with lime juice, fresh mint, simple syrup, and soda water. It’s refreshing and has a tangy kick from the lime and a hint of sweetness from the simple syrup. It’s a perfect drink for sipping on a hot summer day.

Of course, we can’t talk about drinks without mentioning the importance of moderation. While it’s certainly fun to let loose and have a good time, it’s always important to drink responsibly and know your limits. And if you do happen to overdo it, don’t be afraid to ask for a glass of water or some bread to help soak up the alcohol.

So there you have it, folks – a brief guide to what drinks to order at a bar. Whether you’re a fan of the classics or the trendy, always remember to drink responsibly and have a good time. Cheers!


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