Imagine, if you will, an all-too-familiar scenario. You’re at a private function at a local sports bar in New York. You amble up to the bar ready to order a drink when you suddenly catch a glimpse of Michelle in accounting. Realizing that she’s in charge of your promotion next week, the pressure is suddenly on to order a fancy drink. It’s a subtle move, but a power-play nonetheless. But if you’re not a regular drinker, typically drink at home, or usually spend your night out slamming light beers, then your professional drink-ordering skills might be a little bit rusty. But don’t panic, we got your back. Read on for some quick tips on how to order a drink with panache.
Don’t Be a Jerk
All too often, when people feel like they need to order a fancy drink, they do so with an attitude. The fact is, acting like a jerk doesn’t impress anyone, especially your bartender. Remember, nothing says cool like showing off the fact that your mother taught you your manners. Being polite is a great way to make friends with your bartender, ensuring that you get speedy service in the future as well as stronger drinks than you’re paying for.
Learn the Lingo
One of the easiest ways to order a drink with authority is to use the same lingo that the bartenders are using. To the neophyte, it can seem like a coded language, but it’s actually easier to learn than you might realize. Here are some basics:
- Neat: Alcohol with no mixers, water, or ice.
- On The Rocks: A drink served on ice.
- Up or Straight: The ice is strained out of the drink and your cocktail is presented in a stemmed glass.
- Dry: Vermouth is added to the cocktail.
- Well: A drink made with the cheapest alcohol available.
- Dirty: The cocktail is mixed with brine to add taste and a clouded appearance to the drink.
- Double: Twice the alcohol.
- Tall: The alcohol is diluted with more mixers.
- Top Shelf: The most expensive alcohol at the bar.
Using names and terms convincingly can help you order a drink that you’re sure to enjoy.
Follow the Order of Operations
Now that you know some of the lingo, don’t just start rattling off names and phrases at the bartender. You might end up with something completely different than what you ordered. Make sure you follow a specific sequence when you order. Start by always putting the type of liquor first. This is especially important for common drinks like “rum and coke,” or a “gin and tonic.” This way, if you modify the order by saying “double,” or “tall,” you won’t get a two-times strong mixer or watered-down mixer with too much alcohol.
In the same vein, if you’re looking for a particular brand of alcohol, make sure to put that first as well. If you’re looking for a vodka and tonic and you want Belvedere, say “Belvedere and tonic.” Unless your bartender moonlights on the side as a psychic, they cannot read your mind.
The world of mixed drinks is extremely nuanced and detailed. Add in the complication that no two bartenders will ever make the same drink the same way twice, and you’ve got a recipe for a headache and not just from drinking too much.
That said, it’s important not to panic.
Sure, rattling off a slick sounding sentence when you order is sure to turn heads, but can also be quite the tongue twister. If you read everything we’ve written above and you still do not have a grasp on what’s going on, don’t be afraid to reach for a menu. A good bar will have put together a cocktail list full of favorites and drinks that your bartender enjoys making.
If nothing on the menu catches your eye, another easy trick to order with confidence is to tell the bartender what you like. Provided it’s not busy, you can discuss with your bartender which flavors you like and alcohols you enjoy. Sometimes just giving your bartender your favorite brand and permission to create something that they like is a recipe for success.
New York’s Choice for Private Functions and More
If you’re looking for a night out and ready to elevate your experience, it’s time to visit Bounce Sporting Club in New York. A fresh take on the classic sports bar and grill model, we do more than offer burgers and beers. Check out our extensive cocktail menu and list of events, then book your private function in one of our two entertaining spaces.