How to Order Drinks Like a Pro

Sips of wisdom on the most popular libations.

Moscow Mule

Fresh-squeezed juice is critical when it comes to a Mule. Bar Rev includes it—and adds spicy ginger beer for a kick.
Copper mugs are little more than a marketing ploy; they won’t improve the flavor of your drink. Libertine serves its version in a Tom Collins glass.
Vodka is the most popular base, but you have other options. Tini’s signature Kentucky Mule with Maker’s Mark sips easily on a summer night.


James Bond’s preference notwithstanding, a shaken martini often arrives watered-down. Stirred with a twist of lemon, vermouth, and bitters is best—and is the “only true martini,” according to the ’tenders at Thunderbird.
Order one “dry,” and your bartender will probably seek to clarify your request. “Dry” indicates dry vermouth, and that doesn’t pair well with olives, which are common in the drink.
In fact, skip the olives. It turns a martini into a saline bath, killing any botanicals from the spirit. If you must have a garnish and you’re feeling adventurous, try a jalapeño martini from the Tick Tock Lounge.



Winehow to order wine
A dry rose appeals to almost everyone, and it expands the palate. Tinker Street’s 2013 Liquid Geography Rose is a good place to start.
Sometimes it makes sense to try a wine on the list that doesn’t seem to fit—the one with a hard-to-pronounce name or a location that seems out of place. Those often were pulled onto the menu for a reason. Plow & Anchor’s delicious Luberri Seis from Spain is a great example.
Bottles opened for glass sales can sit for days, and they don’t age gracefully. Buying a bottle is usually worth it.



Although it’s the classic cocktail’s signature ingredient, make sure you understand what Campari is before ordering it. The liqueur is an acquired taste—dry, bitter, and herbaceous.
The base of a Negroni doesn’t change much, but the inclusion of interesting vermouths is a good indication your bartender knows what he’s doing. North End BBQ serves up one with a coffee-infused sweet vermouth.
Expect to see a lot more of these around town, especially with the opening of The Pioneer, by J.B. Andrews of Bluebeard, this summer. The Fountain Square restaurant will feature a sous-vide method of infusing house Negronis.


Tiki Drink
Though it’s a broad category, the fresh-juiced daiquiris, Mai Tais, and punches that fall under the beach umbrella of “tiki drinks” are back in vogue.
Two things often left out of these that shouldn’t be are absinthe and bitters. For its version, Bluebeard coats a glass with a spray of the former to get just a hint of the liquor.
Tiki drinks often call for blending two rums, but that’s not the only way to do things. The Ball & Biscuit’s Caribbean Whip uses only dark Plantation 5-Year rum with chocolate bitters.


The classic is served a number of ways. Up (no ice) or on the rocks. In a cocktail glass or in a lowball. Just don’t order one “neat.” (That means no preparation. There’s no such thing.)
Famous for Manhattans, the Red Key Tavern didn’t serve them with bitters for years. Now it does, and a slice of orange is the crowning gem.
A standard Manhattan comes with rye whiskey, like Plat 99’s house choice of Redemption Rye from Lawrenceburg. Make sure to request bourbon instead if you prefer a little sweetness.


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