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How To Order Whiskey At A Bar: Full Guide (2024 Updated)

How To Order Whiskey At A Bar

Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Learning how to order whiskey at a bar could save you time and money. Besides, ordering a shot of whiskey can be a long conversation with the bartender. Without knowing what each bottle contains, you might even end up drinking the wrong spirit. 

So to avoid the stress in ordering whiskey, our team of experts spent 24 hours researching and found these helpful tips for you. 

5 Ways To Order Whiskey At A Bar 

5 Ways To Order Whiskey At A Bar 

1. Know The Different Types of Whiskey 

Blackened x Willet Rye Whiskey

Know the different whiskeys before ordering from the bartender. American whiskey such as the Bourbon whiskey offers a sweeter taste. Tennessee whiskey also has sweet savor as well as rye whiskey. Irish whiskey has a smooth taste which is best taken neat.

Another smooth, neat whiskey with a smokey taste is the Scotch whiskey. It can either be single malt Scotch or double a blended Scotch. These can be single, double-distilled, or even triple distilled.

2. Check What’s Available On the Menu

Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey

Before you order whiskey, look at what is on the menu. A busy bartender may not have much time to explain each one to you. You can commonly find Scotch whiskies on the list. Bourbon and the Tennessee whiskey, Jack Daniels, is also a permanent bottle on the shelf. 

3. Decide Which Type of Whiskey You Want To Order

Each type of whiskey has its unique qualities and malting process. Knowing their flavors and how you should drink them is important. Some whiskeys are best without mix, while others require a mix. So, you must know what type suits your palate before you give your order. 

Read: Top Sipping Whiskeys For Beginners

4. Decide How You Want Your Whiskey To Be Served


Jack Daniel's with glass

Neat means drinking whiskey straight, without water or anything else. You can ask for a whiskey neat with separate ice should your mind change. A whiskey connoisseur enjoys their glass more when served this way.

On the Rocks 

You can order whiskey on the rocks from the bartender. Bourbon with ice cubes on it also tastes good. Most beginners start with this order. It gives them a chance to enjoy the liquor without the strong flavor of alcohol [1] lingering in their mouth. Learn how to make crystal clear ice cubes for your whiskey here

With Lemon or Lime 

This is where you order your favorite spirit with a lemon or lime wedge. Whiskey Sour blended with simple syrup is the perfect example of this order. Lime or lemon juice stirred with whiskey to create that sweet, sour savor.


Whisky Tokyo Sidecar

A short alcohol order would mean having 100 ml of a strong whiskey type. Served with pure and undiluted whiskey, you can also add it with a little bit of non-alcoholic liquor. Normally, these are in cocktail glasses when served. 


You can ask the bartender for a shaken whiskey. It is similar to other beverages that are stirred or shaken. You have to strain the contents before pouring them on a cocktail glass. You can have Irish whiskeys shaken if you do not want to consume them at room temperature. So, what’s good to mix with whiskey?

With a Twist 

This order is simply having the bartender place a thin strip of the citrus peel over the surface of your glass. The beverage does not include the meat of the fruit. You can serve a delicious Sazerac with a twist, where citrus and old-fashioned Bourbon are blended.


A glass of whiskey 

Dram is the traditional Scottish name or term for a single-serve of Scotch. A dram is just enough to have the sides of your glass wet with whiskey. This is about an eighth of a fluid ounce. But, how much is a dram of whiskey?

Cask Strength

This is whiskey straight from the barrel. It can be from a single cask or double. These are taken straight from charred oak barrels, aged, and kept. You can taste the true flavor of your favorite whiskey with this order. 

Read: Most Affordable Whiskeys To Drink Straight  


Stirred whiskey is typically cocktails made ground up in the cocktail glass they will be served in. A whiskey cocktail like the Black Tea Sunset is a good example of this order. 

Read: Best Irish Whiskeys To Drink Straight

Whiskey with Water 

Whiskey with Water

The bartender will add a drop or two of a special quality of water that can enhance the flavor of your drink. This is regardless of the variety of whiskey you are having.  

Read: Peanut Butter Whiskey & Coke


Ordering an old-fashioned Scotch chilled but without ice in a glass is an example of an order “up.” Mixed drinks, stirred whiskey cocktails, and strained ones are examples of this order. The Manhattan and Rob Roy are best enjoyed when served “up.” 

With Chaser 

A chaser is another beverage you take other than the whiskey served in a shot glass. This is given separately. The best chasers for a straight whiskey are ginger beer, soda water, or coke. This can bring out the sweetness or enhance the smoky taste of the whiskey you are drinking. 

Read: What Does Whiskey Smell Like?

5. Call Your Order

Once everything is already decided, you can call your order of a blended whiskey drink. You will enjoy your alcohol more if you are all prepped up once you get the bartender’s attention. Find out how many shots are in a 5th of whiskey here

How To Order Whiskey At A Bar FAQs 

How much whiskey a day is healthy?

It is healthy for men to drink 2 ounces of whiskey a day and an ounce for women. Consuming 21 units in a week for men is still considered healthy.

On the other hand, women have a limit of 14 units a week. But do women also like drinking whiskey?

How much whiskey should you get at a bar if you’re driving?

If you’re driving, an ounce of whiskey is enough. The body typically processes alcohol every 45 minutes. Therefore, you have to wait that long before getting behind the wheel. The effects would be the same whether it comes from rye, malted barley, or grain. 

How do you order whiskey straight at a bar?

To order whiskey straight at a bar, confidently request your preferred whiskey by specifying the brand or type and add “straight” at the end of your order. For example, you can say, “I’d like a glass of Glenlivet 12-year straight, please.”

This indicates to the bartender that you want the whiskey served without any ice, water, or mixers, allowing you to experience the full flavor and aroma of the spirit in its undiluted form. Using clear and concise language ensures you receive your preferred whiskey presentation at the bar.

How do you ask for whiskey in a pub?

When asking for whiskey in a pub, clarity and simplicity are key. Approach the bar confidently and specify your whiskey preference by stating the brand or type you desire. For instance, you might say, “Could I get a glass of Jameson, please?” If you have a particular age or variant in mind, such as Jameson 18-year, include that detail. If you prefer it neat (without ice or mixers) or on the rocks (over ice), you can mention your preference at this point.

Being specific ensures you receive the whiskey you desire, and a polite “please” adds a touch of courtesy to your order in the pub environment. Whether you’re a seasoned whiskey enthusiast or just starting to explore, the pub setting welcomes a straightforward and friendly approach to ordering your preferred dram.

What whiskey to ask for at a bar?

The whiskey you ask for at a bar depends on your personal preferences. Popular choices include Jack Daniel’s, Jameson, Glenlivet, or Buffalo Trace, but feel free to explore based on your taste preferences.

What order should I drink whiskey?

Whiskey is typically enjoyed in a deliberate progression from lighter to bolder flavors. Start with lighter whiskies and move towards more robust options. However, personal preference should guide your choices.

How do beginners drink whiskey?

Beginners can start by trying milder and smoother whiskies or bourbons. It’s recommended to begin with small sips, possibly with a splash of water or on the rocks to dilute the intensity.

How do you ask for whiskey?

To ask for whiskey, simply state the specific type or brand you want. For example, “I’d like a glass of Macallan, please.”

What is whiskey with water called?

Whiskey with water is often referred to as “whiskey and water.” Some may call it “whiskey on the rocks” if served over ice.

How do you order whiskey like a gentleman?

When ordering whiskey, use polite language and be specific about your preference. For example, “May I have a glass of Lagavulin neat, please?”

What does neat mean in whiskey?

Ordering whiskey “neat” means requesting it without any ice, water, or mixers, served in a straight pour in its pure form.

What is the best whiskey for beginners?

For beginners, smoother and milder options like Jameson Irish Whiskey, Glenfiddich 12-Year Single Malt, or Maker’s Mark Bourbon are often recommended.

What should I order first at a bar?

If you’re new to whiskey, consider starting with a well-known and approachable brand like Jack Daniel’s or Jameson. You can order it neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water based on your preference.

Sit Back, Relax  & Enjoy Your Drink!  

Ordering whiskeys at a bar is not supposed to be confusing. It can be overwhelming if you look at the long list of liquors line up. However, if you already know the difference between a single malt from double or malted barley, it wouldn’t be confusing anymore.

You can easily order a mint julep or something with less mix, such as a spiked southern tea. Bars are places you can buy and drink whiskey and enjoy it as the ice melts. So the next time you go out, be ready so you can enjoy yourself more. 


  1. Health Topics Alcohol
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