Hitting the Bars 101: Drink Menu & Drink Ordering Lingo Decoded

Turning 21 is a milestone, and the very first thing you want to do to celebrate is hit up a bar. You’ve dreamed of sidling up to the bartender and ordering something sophisticated while still maintaining your cool, sexy aura. Problem is, if you’ve never ordered a drink before, you end up sounding like “Er…um…I’ll have a Strawberry Daiquiri?” Whether you’re finally 21 or in the city with a fake (ahem), you can avoid this fate as long as you brush up on your bar knowledge so you look like a pro when it’s time to get down.

Brewskis with Your Buds

Nothing is more refreshing than an ice cold beer, so after a long day of work or school (or both!) it’s nice to wash it all down with something simple. Except it’s really not that simple. There are so many varieties of beer that it’s hard to know which one will strike your fancy. Get to know some rudimentary terms, so that you can order with confidence.

Beer Dictionary:

Ale: Varies from pale to dark amber in color. The texture is smooth and sweet, the flavor is fruity, stronger, and more bitter than beer. 
Amber: A beer named for its reddish color.
Barley wine: A dark, bittersweet beer with higher alcohol content.
Bitter: Amber ale with a strong smell and a dry, sharp flavor that’s produced from hops (a flower cluster that is mainly used to provide a bitter flavor or aroma to beer).
Brown ale: Nutty, malty ale that’s dark brown in color with flavors ranging from dry to sweet.
Domestic: Beer that is brewed in the United States and is, therefore, cheaper. E.g., Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Blue Moon and Sam Adams.
Draft (draught): A method of dispensing beer from a keg or cask. This is what your waiter is referring to when they talk about the kinds of beers that they have “on tap.”
Foreign: Beer made outside of the U.S. and, therefore, more expensive. E.g., Heineken, Red Stripe, Dos Equis and Corona.
Hard cider: A sweet fermented drink made from apples. Some poplar brands include Magners and Strongbow.
Hefeweizen: A frothy wheat beer that is lighter in body and alcohol content.
India Pale Ale (IPA): A pale ale with a significant amount of hops.
Lager: A crisp, clean beer made at near-freezing temperatures for longer periods of time than ales.
Malt liquor: A malty lager that’s pale in color with an alcohol content above 5 percent by volume. This is the kind of stuff that is in Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice.
Pale ale: A highly hopped beer made from high-quality malt that’s dry in flavor. 
Pilsner: Very pale in color with a dry, hoppy flavor and aroma. 
Stout: Dark brown in color, full-bodied in texture, and slightly burnt-tasting in flavor. Guinness is the most famous form of stout.
Wheat beer: Pale in color and slightly tart in flavor