Drinks 101 for the Bar Newcomer
Strolling up to the bar and placing an order for your favorite drink is a commonplace occurrence for most people, but everyone has to get over their first awkward/confused ordering experience before they get to that point. If you're a newcomer to bar life and don't know your Witbier from your Harvey Wallbanger, you'll need to brush up on the lingo and figure out your tastes before placing an order. Use these tips to look and feel more confident at your favorite local bar.
Pick the Category
Start by deciding what type of drink you want. Beer has a relatively low alcohol content and a less sweet taste, while wines can range in both alcohol content and sweetness. Most cocktails are based on sweet mixers, and the use of liquor gives most cocktails a high alcohol content. Of course, flavors and alcohol levels vary widely even within these categories, so it's essential to try out a few different varieties of each over time.
You'll need to know the type of beer, wine or liquor you're ordering and the amount you want. For example, beers are usually served by the pint, bottle or pitcher, while wines come by the glass or bottle. Don't assume that a bottle of wine is way too much to order at once. Most bottles only contain four full glasses, so if you're sharing with a friend or date, ordering a bottle might make sense. When requesting a cocktail, you only need to mention the brand of liquor you want if it's essential to your enjoyment of the drink.
Understand Your Special Requests
You may think you look cool ordering your martini shaken and not stirred like James Bond, but making special requests you don't understand can inhibit your enjoyment of the drink. Calling for a dirty martini is a mistake if you're not a fan of the sour and salty taste of olive juice. Some of the most common request terms include:
- Tall, which means the drink is served in a taller glass with more mixer rather than extra alcohol.
- Neat, which means served without ice.
- Top shelf, which means making the drink with only premium liquors.
- On the rocks, which means serving the drink over ice.
Tip the Bartender
Finally, finish your drink order by leaving a tip of at least a dollar or two for the bartender. They're only making a flat wage per hour that is usually close to minimum wage, so leaving a tip really shows your appreciation for their hard work. It also helps you build rapport and get better recommendations on what to try next.
When you're ready to test your new knowledge of bar and drink lingo, stop in at The Alcove Restaurant & Lounge. We'll serve up fantastic cocktails, beers and wine in a comfortable and welcoming environment!