Signature style is important. It helps to define your taste and set you apart from everybody else. So what makes your signature cocktail any different? Knowing what you like and dislike is key, especially when it comes to your drink(s). When going out on a date do you frantically reach for the drink menu or do you tell the bartender your drink of choice with confidence. You don’t want to ask for a “surprise drink” or you’re sure to be disappointed by the sweet Vodka concoction the bartender is going to make you. With endless amounts of cocktails and specialty drinks out there mixing it up is easy, however there are some great fallback drinks when a drink menu is nowhere in site (and no a Vodka Cranberry is not one of them).
Strong Yet Sweet Martinis
Martinis: The classiest of the cocktails. A martini ensures that your cocktail isn’t being loaded with sugary juices and mixers, all while looking sophisticated and beverage savvy. Being that a martini is the strongest drink one can order at a bar, they can still be tasty and bearable. If you’re looking for a sour drink, go with a Green Apple or a Lemon Drop. A girl’s night out calls for a Sex and the City traditional cocktail, the Cosmo. While some find the Cosmo outdated and “totally 90’s” I think that it’s a good upgrade for the boring Vodka and Cranberry drinker, with a guaranteed kick. The Pomegranate Martini is another fun and pink cocktail that is sweet yet strong for girls’ nights around the nation.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your martins but when ordering, know what you’re talking about. Most specialty martinis are crafted with Vodka, yet a traditional martini is with Gin. Dirty=Olives, if you don’t enjoy olives do not order dirty. Extra Dry or straight up=liquor. Unless you want a fancy glass with chilled vodka or gin you shouldn’t be ordering this. If you’re hesitant with what you like in a martini, stick to some of these fallbacks that no bartender can mess up and you will enjoy.
Fun and Tropical
Tropical drinks are not only for vacations anymore. These drinks are for someone who doesn’t want to necessarily taste their alcohol, but have confidence that it’s there. Popular Rum Tropical drinks include the Bahama Mama and the Mai Tai. These fun and fruity drinks are filled with different rums, liquors, juices, and both are topped with dark rum floaters. Although they may not frequent many drink menus, the ingredients are common and carried at most bars. If you’re a Vodka fan there are tropical drinks for you to choose as well. Everyone knows the traditional Sex on the Beach (and yes, everyone smirks while ordering) but to mix it up try a Bay Breeze or Sea Breeze. While these drinks are basic, they add some flavor to your traditional Vodka and juice drinks that people frequently order. If you’re a fan of the popular 5-liquor drink the Long Island, try a Long Beach to add some sweetness. It’s essentially the same drink, yet with a little cranberry instead of sour mix. You don’t have to wait until vacation anymore to enjoy your paradise cocktail.
While the mojito and the margarita may be some of the most common drinks known to man, people often hesitate to order them! If you enjoy a fresh mojito don’t be afraid to order it, they take time to prepare but it’s part of the job. Mojito’s are great drinks to pair with dinners or just to have while out and about with friends. With no mixers in them, mojitos can also be very low calorie (tip: If ordering a fresh mojito, ask your bartender to use a sugar substitute instead of simple syrup for a healthy mojito) yet just as tasty as sugary cocktails. Margaritas are also a great fallback cocktail, and if you want to mix it up try asking for a Pomegranate Margarita. Skinny Margarita’s are equally as good if you’re looking for a healthier alternative (simply: tequila, agave, and lime juice topped off with soda water- no sour mix). If you want a basic yet flavored cocktail, pair flavored Vodka with soda water or lemonade. By sitting down and ordering a “Stoli Raspberry with Soda” you’re putting your own spin on cocktail and it’s also a drink that will never let you down. Plus Vodka flavors are endless and they just keep coming out with more. Bartenders appreciate a confident customer who knows what they want, so don’t be intimidated to ask.
On the other hand, there are some drinks that should only be ordered under certain circumstances. Frozen drinks such as Daiquiris and PiñaColadas are great drinks… when you’re lying at a pool. Ordering a frozen drink like this is a guaranteed for a weak and sugar filled drink. You’re sooner to get brain freeze then you are a buzz. Go for a Rum Runner on the rocks instead of these frozen concoctions and do yourself and your bartender a favor. Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are great for brunches and hangovers, however after 5pm you just look silly ordering them at a bar. Try a tequila sunrise or maybe a screwdriver instead for a similar evening drink.
Going out for cocktails is a way that we socialize with others. Knowing what to order and your fallback drink is important no matter who you are. Educate yourself and experiment to find your cocktail of choice. Once you find your signature cocktail, you’ll wish you had it all along. Drink responsibly and always be sure your cocktail is drink-worthy.
– Mackenzie Brown