The Best Mixed Drinks to Order at a Bar

By Ben Moresby

Mixed drinks come in plenty of different forms. Some are simply spirits combined with non-alcoholic mixers, such as the gin and tonic; others are considered cocktails -- drinks that require a little craft. When ordering at a bar, make sure you are specific about what you want to get the best drink possible.

Mixed drinks come in differing levels of complexity.


The martini is one of the most famous cocktails in the world. It is a simple combination of either gin or vodka with vermouth, and it can be served in a number of different ways. They can be dry, in which the vermouth is simply a background flavor, or wet, in which the vermouth is present as an ingredient. They can be shaken in a cocktail mixer or stirred with a spoon, and they are served with either a piece of lemon peel or a green olive.

Gin and Tonic

A gin and tonic is made by mixing gin with tonic water, which is carbonated water flavored with quinine. The most commonly used type of gin is London dry gin. A gin and tonic is served over plenty of ice and usually with a slice of lime, although some claim that lemon is preferable. It is served in a 12-oz. highball glass, containing a shot of gin and topped up with tonic water.


A margarita is, in its simplest form, two shots of tequila, a shot of triple sec orange spirit and a shot of lime juice. The ingredients are shaken together and then strained into a margarita glass, a form of martini glass with a curved rim and bulging shape. The rim is given a coating of salt. A variation is the frozen margarita, in which the ingredients are blended with crushed ice.

Whiskey Sour

A whiskey sour combines bourbon with fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup. Two shots of bourbon, a shot of lemon juice and a shot of syrup are shaken with ice and half an egg white (the egg white is optional, but it adds texture) and then strained into a rocks glass. The drink is garnished with a cocktail cherry and a slice of lemon before it is topped with aromatic orange bitters.