Ordering your first drink in your second language can be a terrifying experience! Here’s some vocabulary that will help you and the bartender get the perfect drink at a bar.

Ordering your first drink in your second language

Imagine: You’re at a noisy, crowded night club. The music is blaring, the lights are flashing, and there is a long line of people waiting to get their drinks. You make your way to an open space at the bar.

The bartender finally leans forward and asks the question:

“What can I get ya’?”

It’s a very simple question, but it’s not easy to answer!

Everything is moving fast, so you quickly blurt out your order.

“I’ll have 3 beers and…um…uh…a mojito?

There. You did it. You start to relax as the bartender starts making the drinks, but suddenly, he asks a second question.

“You want that with a twist and on the rocks?”

You have NO idea what he is asking you! And now, he’s waiting for an answer. “What? Sorry?” you reply nervously. Suddenly, the music stops. You start to sweat. Everyone is looking at you. So what do you say?

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

For the moment, you just say yes. And you have no idea why your drink arrives with ice and a slice of lime.

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

With a twist means with a slice of fruit, typically lemon or lime. On the rocks means your drink will be served with ice, and neat is for a drink with no ice, no fruit, no nothing. You can order any drink followed by these phrases to customize your order.

For example, “I’ll have a whiskey on the rocks.” Or, if you’re feeling a bit fancy, ask for a “martini, with a twist.” That will get you started on the many different ways of ordering drinks!

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

Types of Drinks

If you really want to get the party going, you can start by doing a few shots of tequila. A large shot is also called a double shot. Tilt your head back and gulp it all down. As they say,

Bottoms up!

Some beer drinkers like bottles, others like draft beer (beer from the tap), and some don’t mind drinking out of cans. Large groups of friends will want to order pitchers. It’s cheaper than buying it by the glass.

The bartender will ask if you want to open a tab. This means that you can continue ordering drinks without paying each time. When you finish your drinks, tell the bartender to close out the tab. This means you are ready to go pay. Hopefully, a friend will offer to pick up the tab, which means your friend will pay for all the drinks. Cheers to that!

Drunken English

Did you know? Studies have shown that having a few drinks can actually improve your ability to speak. Alcohol lowers your fear of making mistakes. It can actually can improve your pronunciation, as long as you don’t drink toooo much. Then you’ll be talking only to yourself.

So there you have it. I hope one day we can meet up for a drink! I’d love to hear you order me a cocktail. Cheers!

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

2 thoughts on “What’s your poison? English for ordering drinks at a bar

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    Liked by 1 person


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