How to order whiskey at a bar?

Updated: 24/12/2020
2 mins read
How to order whiskey at a bar?

The first time you order a new drink in a bar can be intimidating, especially with a whiskey when there are so many different types and ways to enjoy it.

Fortunately, we have you covered! In this article, we’ll be breaking down the terminology, so the next time you order a whiskey, you’ll be full of confidence and come across a seasoned whiskey drinker - in the best way, of course.

Choose Your Whiskey

whiskey bottles

There are several whiskey types to choose from; Scotch, Irish, American, Bourbon, and Japanese. Many bartenders will automatically reach for a Scotch if you simply ask for a whiskey. We’ve got a great guide that explains the differences between them all so you can get an idea of what you may prefer.

How to Drink your Whiskey

whiskey on the rocks

Now you’ve chosen your whiskey; it’s time to decide how to drink it. There are several options to choose from, which include:


whiskey neat

Ordering a whiskey neat means you’re getting just the whiskey - no ice, no water, no mixer. It’s an excellent option for those that enjoy to taste the whiskey as is, at room temperature.

On the Rocks

whiskey on the rocks 2

Rocks refer to ice cubes. Ordering a whiskey on the rocks means not only will you have a colder drink, the ice will also dilute the taste of the whiskey. A whiskey on the rocks is a great option for someone who doesn’t want an overwhelming whiskey flavor.

A Splash of Water

whiskey with water 1

Adding a splash of water to a whiskey is just as it says. Whiskey enthusiasts say it amplifies the taste of a whiskey. Science supports this theory by identifying an additional one or two drops of water in the whiskey brings the guaiacol (a compound linked to the smoky taste of a Scotch Whisky) to the surface.


Whisky lemonade

A mixer refers to a non-alcoholic drink that will help dilute the whiskey. Some mixers that work well with whiskey include coca-cola, lemonade, ginger ale, soda water, and even coffee. Simply ask for a ‘whiskey and…’ your mixer of choice.


Whiskey cocktail

If a whiskey cocktail is on the menu, why not indulge yourself? Many whiskey cocktails are made with minimal ingredients, enhancing the whiskey flavor rather than masking it.

Some popular whiskey cocktails are:

Wrapping up

Who knew there are so many ways to enjoy a whiskey! Sometimes it’s a bit of trial and error. You may order a whiskey neat and never do so again and instead find a whiskey and ginger goes down the hatch wonderfully. 

Ashleigh Cain

Ashleigh is a key part of the editorial team at Whiskey Rocks. You'll often find her either writing educational articles or reviewing the latest artisan whiskeys. Her favorite drink? Ashleigh loves smokey scotches like Laphroaig, but you'll also often find her with an old fashioned in hand.

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