The best drinks to order at a bar according to bartenders

Helena V Berbie
best drinks to order at a bar

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Since the easing of social distancing restrictions, the days of queueing at the bar are officially back. Why not mark the occasion by choosing a new signature cocktail? That is, providing you eventually get served.

Whether you can usually be found sipping on a glass of flavoured gin, a bottle of the pinkest Prosecco, or prefer an English sparkling wine, there’s plenty of hidden gems waiting to enrich your palate. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of alcohol-free alternatives too.

Here, Caroline-Astrid Mathon, Head Bartender at Trade – an independent group of coffee shops and eateries – takes us through the nicest drinks that people never order but definitely should. Go on, your next bartender will be very impressed…

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Cynar Mezcal

What it is: A hearty blend of mezcal, red vermouth, cynar, red bitter, and a cinnamon stick for extra flair.

Perfect for… Hiding from the rain in a newly discovered bar. Caroline-Astrid recommends asking for a few drops of chocolate bitters and a slice of grapefruit. Delish.



What it is: A twist on a classic, the shaquiri, or sherry daquiri, consists of white rum, lime juice, sugar, and err, sherry.

Perfect for… Freshening up before dinner. This is a low-proof cocktail, meaning it has low alcohol by volume. That isn’t the green light to have two though…


East 8 Hold Up

What it is: This fruity number consists of vodka, lime, passionfruit, pineapple and a touch of Aperol.

Perfect for…The Porn Star Martini lovers out there. It’s also *slightly* less awkward to ask for on that family lunch out.


Army and Navy

What it is: Sweet with a kick, this cocktail contains lemon, gin and orgeat (almond) syrup.

Perfect for… Settling first date nerves. Apparently, the name originates from the rivalry between Army and Navy football teams back in 1890. So there’s your icebreaker.



What it is: A refreshing raspberry drink with a ginger kick. Contains gin, raspberry syrup, lime juice, and ginger beer.

Perfect for… Your Instagram aesthetic. Don’t hesitate to order it with rye whisky instead of gin for some extra spice.



What it is: A gin and lime cocktail with mint added in the shaker.

Perfect for… Mojito devotees. Ask for a Southside Royal if you fancy bubbles (champagne). I mean, who doesn’t?


Jack Rose

What it is: Controversially not named after the star-crossed lovers on the Titanic, this pink drink contains apple brandy, pomegranate, lime juice and syrup.

Perfect for… Those who are partial to apple brandy but never know how to order it. Add a few drops of absinthe and it becomes a Pan American Clipper.


Vieux Carré

What it is: The OG of the cocktail world, this drink consists of rye whisky, cognac, sweet vermouth and Benedictine liqueur.

Perfect for… Cocktail connoisseurs. As the Vieux Carré originates from the French quarter of New Orleans – the birthplace of cocktails – it’s a staple.


Red Hook

What it is: This dry, spicy cocktail contains rye, Punt e Mes and maraschino liqueur.

Perfect for… Your friend who loves to tell you that cocktails are ‘too sweet’.


Miami Vice

What it is: This tropical cocktail contains white rum, coconut cream, grenadine, pineapple juice and some syrup.

Perfect for… Pretending you’re on holiday. Yes, the bartender might think it’s a bit of a faff but it’s too indulgent to resist.



What it is: It’s boozy. It’s creamy. It’s minty. Mmmmmmmm. Contains creme de menthe, white crème de cacao and cream.

Perfect for… Those who never skip dessert.


Virgin Missionary Downfall

What it is: This alcohol-free treat contains apple juice, pineapple juice, mint leaves, peach puree, and honey syrup.

Perfect for… People who are utterly fed-up of Virgin Colada or Virgin Mojitos.


Arnold Palmer

What it is: Named after an American golfing legend, this mocktail contains earl grey syrup, lemon, and soda water.

Perfect for… A summer day when the iced tea cravings hit.

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