The Cocktail Ordering Etiquette To Help You Get A Better Drink

Finding your drink, a classic cocktail that is your go-to order at any bar, is a rite of adulthood. Taste the same cocktail over and over, however, and you will find that it varies from one place to another. Whether you're looking for consistency or the best possible version of your preferred beverage, you'll want to add an extra detail to your order — the specific brand of liquor that you'd like for the base of your drink.

Every bar has a "well," a shelf or area where low-cost liquors are stored for the bartender to easily access. For speedy service, the bartender will use these inexpensive spirits for your cocktail to make a "well drink," unless you opt for a "call drink" made with specific spirits upon request. A call drink may come with an upcharge, but that can be worth it, especially as you search for the best version of your perfect drink.

Finding your favorite spirits

Knowing that you love an Old Fashioned doesn't necessarily mean you know which brand of whiskey you like best, so you may not be sure where to begin when ordering it as a call drink. Never fear! The bartender is here to help you. Pick a slow night (not Friday or Saturday or a holiday) and take a seat at the bar. Ask about the specific spirit that would be used in a well drink for your favorite cocktail and about the brands on hand, then see if the bartender has any preferences among those.

A fun place to start when seeking out quality spirits is to drink what's local. You can ask the bartender or do some research of your own to see if there are distilleries within your state. If so, you can go for a tasting, which can help you determine what kinds of flavors (such as floral, bitter, or spicy) that appeal to you most.

Further tips for ordering your drink the way you want it

Once you've figured out the basics of ordering alcoholic beverages to suit your taste, beyond whether you prefer gin or tequila, one of the next most important factors that will influence your drinking experience is the temperature of your cocktail. This is often determined by the amount of ice used in the preparation and presentation of the drink.

For hot summer days, you may want to order a frozen drink, such as a frozen margarita or frozen daiquiri, in which case the cocktail will be blended with ice. If you're craving something refreshing but with less dilution, you might want a drink served "on the rocks" (with ice), like a mojito or a Moscow mule. When you'd rather forgo ice, opt for a drink served "up," chilled by shaking or stirring it with ice as the ingredients are mixed. The simplest and warmest option (ideal for winters) are drinks served "neat," poured from the bottle to the glass at room temperature.