How to Order Whiskey Like a Gentleman

How To Order Whiskey Like a Gentleman

Like many things in life, some techniques separate the simple man from the connoisseur. Any average person can walk into a pub, look the bartender in the eye, and ask for their favorite whiskey. However, it takes a different type of knowledge to ask for the right kind of whiskey to lift your spirits.

Whether you’re a frequent patron at the bar or enjoy the occasional night out, knowing what to ask and look for will enhance the social experience. Read on to learn how to order whiskey like a true gentleman.

What’s Available?

Sometimes your whiskey of choice is not available. Have no fear — a true gentleman (or gentlewoman) knows how to compromise and find the second or third-best option.

At times like these, it is important to know what makes each blend of whiskey different from the other. Note that some drinks may qualify as distilled spirits.

Irish Whiskeys

Irish whiskeys are known for their smooth taste and are brewed in Ireland. To achieve this smooth taste, brewers exclude peat while doing the malting process. They’re also aged for at least three years and distilled with malted barley.


Scotch is made and aged in Scotland. Scotch is made with malted barley. It may have a hard taste if you decide to have a glass. Some might say it simultaneously tastes bitter, sweet, sour, and grainy. It’s not a drink recommended for first-time drinkers, but you’re free to give it a shot if you’d like.

Some types of scotch include:

  • Blended malt scotch
  • Blended grain scotch
  • Blended scotch

American Whiskeys

American whiskeys are produced in the United States and are distilled to no more than 80% alcohol by volume. American whiskey is also briefly aged in charred new oak containers and prohibits adding coloring, caramel, and other flavor additives. If it’s aged for at least two years, it’s considered straight whiskey.

Some popular types of American whiskeys include rye whiskey and bourbon whiskey.

Rye Whiskey

Rye whiskey is typically made with at least 51% rye grain. It’s known for having a spicy, grainy, and hard flavor. American rye whiskey has to age about two years and not be blended with other spirits to qualify as straight whiskey.

Bourbon Whiskey

Bourbon whiskey is typically made with at least 51% corn and doesn’t typically contain added colors or flavors. Unlike rye whiskey and scotch, this whiskey has a sweet taste. It also has fewer calories per serving compared to other drinks.

Determine How You Want It Served

There are many ways you can enjoy a glass of whiskey. If you’re eager to have one after the other, you’re free to do it. If you want to enhance your palate and find your ideal taste of whiskey, this is a great way to start.

This is also a great way to experiment with your beverage if you prefer a mixed drink or blended whiskey.

Whiskey with Water

If you’re eager to find your ideal taste of whiskey, consider ordering whiskey with water. When you add water to your favorite whiskey, it can either dilute or enhance the drink to suit your taste.

Whiskey Cocktail

If you want to experiment with how you order your drinks, it won’t hurt to try a whiskey cocktail. Several blends incorporate bourbon, whiskey, and scotch. Some popular whiskey cocktails to ask the bartender for include:

  • Whiskey Sour
  • Manhattan
  • Spiked Southern Tea
  • Irish Coffee
  • Old Fashioned


A shot of whiskey is poured into a glass at room temperature, with no ice or additives. A solid option for connoisseurs with endurance.

On the Rocks

If you order this, you’ll get your whiskey served with ice. Depending on your preference, and whether you would like your whiskey diluted as the ice melts, ordering on the rocks may be for you.


If you ask for a chaser, you’ll get your choice shot of whiskey served with other beverages, such as juice or soda, to wash it down. Some veterans use a glass of water as a chaser to pace themselves for a long night out.


Your drink is often already stirred when ordering a cocktail with spirits, sweeteners, or bitters.


When you order a drink with fruit juices, egg whites, and non-carbonated ingredients, the bartender or server will shake it to keep your cocktail light and enhance its taste. A shaken beverage will be more evenly chilled than a stirred one.

How to Order Whiskey

Once you’ve accustomed yourself to the basics of what type of whiskey is available and how you can order it, you’re ready to order. Let’s begin:

  1. If you’re a new patron at the bar, you’re free to ask the bartender what kind of whiskey they would recommend. If you’re perusing the menu, you can get a good idea of what to get.
  2. If you’re new to whiskey, you can order it “neat” to get the true flavor of the whiskey.
  3. When you’re ready to order, think about how you want it served. If you have a good idea of what whiskey type, style, and chaser you want, let the bartender know.
    Ex. If you want scotch with ice and water, ask for a “scotch on the rocks with a water back.”
  4. If there’s a specific flavor you’re looking for, ask around to see what’s available. Whether you prefer spicy, sweet, or smoky tastes, your bartender will suit your needs.
  5. If you’re in the mood for another round, repeat the process and drink responsibly. Keep track of how much you drink and take it slow.

Enjoy Your Drink and Start Thinking About Your Next Round

Before setting foot into a bar, have an idea of what you’d like to order. Whether it’s sharing a few rounds with old friends or making new ones, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy your whiskey. Experimenting with its preparation and flavor will help you find the right drink for you.

When it comes to learning how to order whiskey, practice makes perfect. The more you order and experiment with different flavors, the more whiskey-savvy you will become. It never hurts to add a little spice in your life, and a gentleman who knows whiskey can certainly do the trick.

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