female bartender pouring a whiskey cocktail over a large format ice cube

How to Properly Order Whiskey in Public: A Beginner's Guide

How to Properly Order Whiskey in Public: A Beginner's Guide


With the growing popularity of whiskey and an increasing number of bars and restaurants catering to whiskey enthusiasts, it's essential to know how to order whiskey properly when you're out and about. In this beginner's guide, we'll walk you through different ways to order whiskey so that you can enjoy your drink without feeling overwhelmed or unsure.

1. Ordering Whiskey in a Cocktail

When in doubt, check the menu: If you're at a bar or restaurant, start by looking at the cocktail menu. Read through the ingredients and choose a whiskey-based cocktail that sounds appealing to you.

Don't be afraid to customize: Feel free to ask for your favorite whiskey in a cocktail, even if it's not listed on the menu. This allows you to enjoy a cocktail made with a whiskey you love.

Match whiskey to the cocktail: Ensure that the whiskey you choose complements the other ingredients in your cocktail. A well-matched whiskey enhances the overall flavor.

2. Order Whiskey on the Rocks

Chill and dilute: Ordering whiskey on the rocks means you'll receive your whiskey served over ice cubes. This will slightly lower the temperature of the whiskey and reduce its sharpness, making it more approachable.

Dilution benefits: As the ice melts, it adds a controlled amount of water to your whiskey, further softening its flavor and allowing you to appreciate different nuances.

3. Large Format Cube

Slow dilution: Large format cubes are similar to regular ice cubes but are larger and slower to melt. This is an excellent choice if you want to enjoy your whiskey over an extended period without rapid dilution.

Clear ice: Look for bars that use clear ice cubes for a visually appealing and high-quality presentation.

4. Ordering Whiskey Neat

The purest experience: Ordering whiskey neat means you get your whiskey served straight in a glass at room temperature. This is the purest way to enjoy whiskey and savor its full flavor profile.

Glass matters: If possible, request a whiskey-tasting glass like a Glencairn for a better tasting experience.

5. Experiment with Dilution at Home

Discover your preference: Experiment with adding small amounts of water to higher-proof whiskeys at home. This will help you determine your preferred proof level and allow you to confidently order your whiskey in public.


Ordering whiskey in public doesn't have to be intimidating. Whether you prefer it in a cocktail, on the rocks, with a large format cube, or neat, knowing your options and understanding the effects of each choice can help you enjoy your whiskey to the fullest. So, the next time you're at a bar or restaurant, order your whiskey with confidence and savor the experience. Cheers!

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