Raise Your Glass: How to Order Bourbon Like a Pro

One of the best aspects of a night out is enjoying a really good whiskey. Whether you’re having a romantic dinner for two, throwing a dinner party for friends, or just looking for a good drink at your favorite bar, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly how to order your favorite bourbon.

In this guide, I’ll provide you with tips and tricks on how to order bourbon like a pro, from the types of drinks available to helpful hints on how to choose the perfect order.

My Personal Journey with Bourbon

My journey with bourbon began in 2014 when I visited Blanton’s Distillery in Kentucky. The experience was like no other. From the majestic tasting rooms to the friendly staff, I instantly knew this would be a long-term relationship. From that moment on, I developed a strong appreciation for bourbon, traveling to various distilleries and sampling their products along the way.

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The spirit has come such a long way since its first appearance back in 1789 as a humble American whiskey that was used primarily to settle debts and disputes between landowners in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Today it is consumed nearly everywhere around the world and comes in many different varieties — wheated, rye, blended and single barrel — each equally delicious but distinct in character and taste.

With the growing trend of bourbon connoisseurship over recent years, my goal became to learn as much as possible about how to order these unique spirits while instilling an appreciation and reverence for this American tradition at every opportunity. Over time I’ve learned how to purchase them at bars, restaurants or online; sample them properly; identify their flavor notes; and even mix them into classic cocktails with ease — all without breaking the bank or sacrificing quality.

This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about ordering bourbon like a pro and drinking it like an expert whiskey enthusiast! Whether you’re just starting out or are looking for some tips on how to enhance your experience, I can guarantee that by following these simple steps you will gain an unparalleled appreciation for this distinctly American spirit!

How to Order Bourbon Like a Pro

Bourbon has been around for hundreds of years and is a favorite of connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. Whether you’re a seasoned bourbon enthusiast or a novice looking to learn the ropes, ordering bourbon like a pro is not as daunting as it may seem.

In this essay, we’ll guide you through the process of ordering and enjoying this American classic. We’ll help you choose the right bourbon for your taste and order it correctly so you can get the most out of your experience.

So, let’s raise a glass and toast to learning how to order bourbon like a pro.

Understand the Different Types of Bourbons

When it comes to understanding the different types of bourbons, the main thing to keep in mind is that the type of distilling process used to make the whiskey determines its flavor profile. Each type of bourbon uses a different distillation method — and each one adds a unique flavor element. Here we’ll run through the key types of bourbons, so you can impress your friends next time you’re out at a bar:

Straight Bourbon Whiskey: Made from pure corn with no added artificial coloring or flavoring, straight bourbons have been aged in charred oak barrels for at least two years before they are bottled. They must also be bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40 percent ABV in order to be labeled as ‘straight bourbon whiskey.’

Wheated Bourbon Whiskey: Wheated bourbon whiskey is made with wheat instead of rye as its secondary grain instead of corn (hence why you may see it called ‘wheat whiskey’ or just ‘wheated whiskey’). It has a smoother, sweeter taste than traditional straight bourbons and is often aged for longer periods before being bottled — some wheated whiskies are aged for up to 14 years!

Rye Bourbon Whiskey: Rye-bourbon plays around with the formula for traditional American-style straight bourbon and makes rye rather than wheat its secondary grain ingredient. The result is a full-bodied whisky with spicier, earthier notes that are balanced by subtle sweetness – making it perfect for sipping neat or adding into classic whiskey cocktails such as Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

Blended Bourbon Whiskey: Blended bourbon whiskey is made by combining multiple batches (from different distillers) into one bottle — usually this involves blending one or more straight whiskies together with other less mature ones in order to create particular flavor profiles. This results in light bodied whisky that tends to have warmer notes on the palate — great either neat or over ice!

Know What You Like

Know your taste when ordering bourbon. Think about what flavors and aromas you like. Do you favor sweet, rich caramel or spicy tannins? Are you looking for a smooth, mellow flavor or a complex one? The more you think about what flavors appeal to you, the better able you will be to narrow down your choices when making a selection. Consider age, too – younger whiskeys tend to have sharper notes while older ones are smoother and softer on the palate.

When ordering a specific bottle of bourbon, such as Blanton’s or Woodford Reserve for example, ask for it by name – but don’t forget that some barrels are kept isolated and not released in wide distribution. So ask your local bartender if they stock it before ordering so you know it’ll be available before committing to buy.

As bourbon can range in price and strength vary significantly between bottles too, come equipped with some idea of how much money you want to spend. That should help narrow down the list of options that meet your needs. Finally, don’t be afraid to try something new! You never know when an unexpected new favorite may be revealed!

Know What You Want

Now that you’ve made the decision to join the world of bourbon, you’ll want to do your research and hone in on what type and style you prefer. There are different blends, types, ages and flavor profiles in whiskey that can all be customized to your preference. Once you decided on what will taste most enjoyable for you and what suits your budget — if applicable — sticking with that go-to bottle is half the battle!

In order to make it clear at the bar or restaurant, try not to get too overwhelmed by the names of whiskeys listed on the menu — they often are just a few words associated with a particular brand or style of bourbon. After all, there’s more than one way to order bourbon. For example, when ordering Blanton’s Bourbon, it would just be “Blanton’s please,” no need for any extra qualifiers unless otherwise requested. If a certain type or blend is sold out but something similar is available instead — or if price matters most — inform your server about any details necessary before ordering.

Another way to make things easier for those behind the bar is by asking them questions about various types of bourbons on offer: which ones have a higher proof? Are there any rare top shelf bottles? If any mixers are preferred, find out which from their selection (if available) pairs best with certain brands or styles. Stocking up on some smart questions beforehand can help increase your knowledge as well as keep things running more efficiently when ordering at a restaurant every time!

Ask for Advice

It never hurts to ask for advice. A good bartender or restaurant server will know their bourbon selections and can help you narrow down your choices. If you’re looking for something specific, like Blanton’s Bourbon, make sure to ask upfront. Serious whiskey drinkers will often want a recommendation so they can try something different and exciting. Requesting advice is also beneficial if you’re feeling overwhelmed by an extensive bourbon list.

It’s important to remember that the bartender or server is not only there to help you order, but also to offer an enjoyable drinking experience. Your bartender wants you to have a good time and will be more than happy to recommend the perfect glass of bourbon for your evening. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about what kind of drinks they’d recommend based on your preferences and taste buds! Of course, don’t forget the tip — a great way show appreciation when asking for their insight and help!

How to Order Bourbon at a Bar

Bourbon has truly transcended from an unknown Southern US beverage to an international icon. There’s no better way to experience the full flavor of bourbon than ordering one at a bar.

If you’re looking to create a marvelous evening with friends or family, or simply learning how to order bourbons in general, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you out. This article will provide you with all the information you need to know on how to order bourbon at a bar.

Ask for a Sample

When shopping for a bottle of bourbon, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the selection. Even if you know what type of bourbon you’d like to order, there may be variations within the range. By asking for a sample before ordering your drink, you can get a taste for what differences are present between the bourbons and make a more informed decision on which bottle to purchase.

When tasting different bourbons at the bar, you should still follow proper etiquette. Start with asking politely for a taster before your request is officially accepted. You will also want to follow any specifics given by the bar or pub as some establishments may have specific tastes or sizes they offer that aren’t available elsewhere. Once your tasting has been accepted, start with lighter-flavored bourbons overall and move up in bodies as you go forward with each successive sip. Make sure to sample at least 1-2 ounces per pour so that you have enough to truly taste each variety and make an educated decision on which bottle to purchase.

Keep in mind that most bars will charge for tastings so take care not overindulge your samples – remember it’s supposed to be a learning experience!

Ask for Recommendations

Asking for recommendations is one of the best ways to figure out how to order bourbon. People who have tried many different bourbons can give you an idea of what to try and what not to try. Most bartenders at quality establishments will be more than happy to share their thoughts with you and make recommendations from the available selection.

If you’re ordering bourbon for yourself, make sure to ask if there are any special deals or seasonal offers that might be available as well. You may even be able to sample a few drinks before committing to a full bottle, which can help you decide whether or not it’s worth the purchase price.

In some cases, it might also be possible to request a sample of a certain bourbon before committing to buying a full bottle — particularly if you’re in an establishment that specializes in offering whiskey flights or small samples. This is often a great way of trying out different kinds of bourbons so that you can narrow down your selection and find something that fits your particular tastes.

Order by Brand

When ordering your bourbon, start by selecting a brand. Pick up the bottle and take a look at the label for three essential pieces of information about that bottle: the type of whiskey, the proof, and the age. There are five main types of whiskey: single malt, blended whisky, Canadian whisky, pure grain whisky, and corn whisky.

Once you’ve determined what type of whiskey you’d like, consider the proof. Proof is simply twice the alcohol concentration by volume—for example 40% equals 80 proof. Then check to see how long it has been aged; some drinks may be aged as little as two or three months while others are aged for years.

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferences between different brands with similar types and proofs (ex: Blanton’s bourbon 86-proof single barrel bourbon) it’s time to decide whether or not you want it neat (just whiskey in a glass), chilled (straight from the fridge), on the rocks (over ice), or in a cocktail (with mixers). Consider what kind of flavor profile you prefer and ask your server or bartender for advice if you aren’t sure which option would be best for a particular brand.

If it’s your first time ordering bourbon at a bar don’t hesitate to get creative—by ordering different mixes you can customise each order to create unique flavour profiles!

How to Order Bourbon at a Restaurant

Bourbon drinkers have many choices when ordering bourbon at a restaurant. From selecting a bourbon for the first time, ordering a bourbon neat, to ordering bourbon on the rocks, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you order bourbon like a pro.

In this article, we’ll look at some tips for ordering bourbon at a restaurant or bar, and break down the different types of bourbon that are available.

Ask for a Flight

Tasting flights are a great way to familiarize yourself with the full range of flavors that bourbon has to offer. Most restaurants and bars will have a drop down menu to choose from when ordering a flight. Be sure to ask your server or bartender what their current bourbon flight selection is; they should be able to provide you with detailed descriptions of each one.

When ordering a bourbon flight, you may see three or four varieties side by side; this lets you compare and contrast the different flavor profiles, like sweet woodiness, spiciness, smokiness, and caramel flavor. You can also ask for something specific if there is a particular style or brand of bourbon you would like to try out.

Many establishments also offer tasting flights that are paired with certain foods, such as charcuterie boards or desserts. It’s best to research in advance what your goal is when sampling bourbons—whether it’s finding one you like enough to order by the glass later on or simply exploring new brands and types that you’ve never tried before. Talk with your server or bartender; they will usually be keen on accommodating any special requests in order for customers to have an unforgettable experience sampling some of the finest bourbons around!

Ask for Recommendations

If you’re not sure what bourbon to order, then ask your server or bartender for a recommendation. This is especially helpful when a restaurant has a wide selection of bourbons to choose from. However, don’t be afraid to express your own preferences and ask more questions if necessary. If the restaurant doesn’t have the specific bourbon you want, they may be able to recommend something similar that will still satisfy your craving for a good glass of bourbon.

Also keep in mind that there are different types of bourbons available such as wheated, high-rye, single-barrel and small batch bourbons so make sure you understand what type you prefer before ordering. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to try something new or ask for help from knowledgeable staff members at the restaurant who can assist in selecting a special bourbon from their menu.

Order by Brand

When it comes to ordering bourbon in a restaurant, you want to focus on the brand. Don’t just ask for a “bourbon” – specify the exact type of Bourbon you desire. Most restaurants will have a standard selection of Bourbons, such as Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Basil Hayden’s. If your waitress doesn’t know which brands are available, then simply ask her to show you the bottle list. This bottle list will usually have all of the brands that the restaurant offers.

There are certain high-end Bourbons that not all restaurants will carry due to their limited supply and higher cost. For example, one highly sought-after brand is Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey – its fans consider it one of the greatest sipping whiskies ever created. If you want to try Blanton’s at a restaurant – inquire ahead of time; some places may special order it for you if they don’t currently stock it!

Finally, when you make your order – be sure to specify how you would like your bourbon served – do you prefer it neat (no ice or mixers), on the rocks (over ice) or in a specialty drink? Depending on which drink recipe is followed, adding ice can water down the flavor of your order slightly so determining your serving preference beforehand can ensure that your Bourbon experience is one worth savoring!

How to Order Bourbon for the First Time

If you’re a first-time bourbon drinker, you may not know how to order your drink. When you’re at a bar or restaurant there’s a certain etiquette with ordering drinks, especially when it comes to ordering bourbon.

This article will cover different ways to order bourbon, including how to order Blanton’s, on the rocks, neat, chilled, and more. Let’s look at what you need to know about ordering bourbon for the first time.

Ask for a Sample

If you don’t know much about bourbon or want to try it before you commit to a glassful, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample. Most bartenders and waiters will be happy to pour a small amount of bourbon so that you can give it a try. Make sure that you approve of the taste before you make your order.

If you have an idea of what kind of bourbon you want, be sure to ask the bartender or server if they have any recommendations. They may be able to suggest something that appeals to your preferences, and even if they can’t, it will show them that you are trying to learn more about bourbon.

Asking for samples is especially important when ordering aged bourbons, as older bourbons tend to be more expensive and harder to find than younger ones. If there is an aged option on the menu, ask for a sample before deciding which one you would like. This way, you won’t waste your money on something that tastes terrible or off-putting.

Ask for Recommendations

When it comes to ordering your first bourbon, there’s no single right answer. Depending on your individual preference for taste and strength, the possibilities are nearly endless. Fortunately, many bartenders and wait staff at restaurants and bars are experts in the art of pairing a perfect whiskey drink with any occasion, from casual gatherings to five-star dinners. And speaking of experts, if you see bottles or labels that have awards like “Gold Medal Winner” listed on them, these whiskeys made it past rigorous reviews conducted by experienced spirit tasters. It never hurts to dive into more specifics when you’re ordering at an establishment that offers flights or tastings; these are often useful for discovering which bourbons will become your go-to favorite.

In addition to tasting your own preferred mix of flavors, considering asking for recommendations from the people who already know their way around the shelves and equipment behind the bar—your server or bartender. Just remember: don’t let the fancy names intimidate you; bourbon is meant to be shared! Ask questions and be willing to try something new! Bourbon may sound intimidating—after all there are so many types out there—but if you ask questions about what type of flavor profiles a particular spirit has (or even just ask for a server’s favorite choice) then you can make an informed decision about what type of taste experience will best suit your needs.

Start With a Lower-Proof Bourbon

If you’re new to bourbon and want to learn more about ordering it, a good place to start is with a lower-proof bourbon. A lower-proof bourbon is one that has an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of around 40 percent or less. It will have fewer complex flavors and aromas, but still have a nice amount of sweetness, smokiness, and flavor that helps you get acclimated the the tastes of Bourbon. A common mistake made by first-time whiskey drinkers is assuming that stronger is better; however, strength can sometimes overpower the flavor, so it’s best to start out slow with milder offerings.

When you do decide to try out something stronger – like a high proof Barrel Strength Whiskey – be mindful that it can taste significantly different than what you are used to tasting when drinking lower proof Bourbons.

At bars or restaurants, there are several different options for low-proof Bourbons: Maker’s Mark is one popular option because of its mellow sweetness; Jacob’s Ghost White Whiskey has notes of caramel but with almost no smokiness; Bulleit Bourbon delivers more traditional bourbon flavors but in lower proof. Blanton’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon is also popular because of its unique aromas and bold flavors such as vanilla, caramel and honey; Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon offers an interesting balance between strong oak notes and sweet notes such as orange marmalade and honeycomb candy – definitely a good choice if you want something reasonably priced with distinct characteristics!

Ordering Bourbons at mild proofs can provide an excellent introduction into how vibrancy each pour contains as well as how different whiskeys affect your palate differently due their flavor profiles. Even better – these bourbons won’t overwhelm your senses like higher-proof offerings might! Keep in mind that whatever low-proof whiskey you choose will be best served neat or on the rocks in order for all their respective nuances to be fully appreciated – this will allow for a full appreciation of its unique aromas, flavors, textures & complexities! So if it’s your first time trying bourbon – go slow & ease yourself into appreciating this classic beverage!

How to Order Bourbon Neat, On the Rocks, or Chilled

Bourbon is an American whiskey that has a unique flavor and looks great when served in a glass. The way you order your bourbon can make all the difference in terms of taste and presentation. Whether you are a beginner or a connoisseur, it is important to understand how to order bourbon so that you can get the most out of your experience.

In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to order bourbon neat, on the rocks, or chilled.


Ordering a bourbon neat is the most traditional way to enjoy this spirit — no ice, no mixers, just whiskey in a glass. This can offer a great way to bring out the nuances of flavor in a high-quality spirit like Blanton’s. When you order neat, you will receive the bourbon in a tumbler with no ice or mixers. You may also be served a side of room temperature distilled water to drop into your glass if desired.

It’s important to note that when ordering bourbon neat, you should take your time and explore the flavors as it slowly warms up in your glass — this type of tasting should be savored and enjoyed.

On the Rocks

Ordering bourbon “on the rocks” means you’ll receive your bourbon poured over ice. This can be an ideal way to enjoy your bourbon if you’re in the mood for something refreshing and less intense. When you order “on the rocks,” your bartender should fill a single rocks glass with two or three large cubes of ice and then measure out two ounces of bourbon, whiskey, or whatever spirit you prefer. Be sure to ask for your favorite brand — there’s no point spending good money on a bottle only to end up with an unrecognizable drink!

You can also ask for some mixers such as cola, 7Up, or tonic water to make your drink last longer. Just remember that adding anything sweet will bring out a different subtle flavor from the whiskey itself, so experiment until you find something that suits your taste.

If ordering at a bar, it is usually best to get an ice-filled highball or old-fashioned glass specifically made to fit the liquor poured into it; this helps keep a consistent portion and ensures that each drink tastes exactly like its predecessor. Whichever container you choose, remember that when ordering whisky “on the rocks,” never stir after adding the liquor — stirring will decrease both temperature and flavor intensity of your beverage!


If you’re looking to enjoy bourbon’s robust flavor in a chilled drink, there are several options. The simplest is ordering an over-the-rocks bourbon: just ask for skim or light ice and your spirit of choice, poured into a rocks glass. You can also order a pour of neat (no mixing — just the whiskey) over ice.

If you’re feeling daring, you can also ask for “rocks blasts” of chilled bourbons: dropped or stirred with crushed ice to release even more intense flavors and aromas. This method is perfect for blanton’s, which has distinctive aromatics that marry well with the aroma released by the crushed ice.

Finally, many bars and restaurants will custom-chill beverages on request: if you’d like your bourbon especially cold with no dilution at all, simply tell your bartender. Whether ordering over-the-rocks or neat chilled bourbon, always be sure to specify how much ice you’d like and which kind of glass container you’d prefer (rocks glass or smaller).

Enjoying chilled bourbon can make it taste even better than room temperature — a fantastic way to impress your guests.


In conclusion, ordering bourbon like a pro isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds. Whether you’re looking to order bourbon neat, chilled, on the rocks, or as part of a cocktail, it’s easy to impress the bartender with a little bit of knowledge and the right questions.

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With the right preparation and a good understanding of how to order bourbon, you’ll be able to confidently order your favorite bourbon in any situation.

Final Thoughts

When ordering bourbon, it’s important to know your preferences and then find the right bottle or blend to suit them. Don’t be afraid to ask bar staff for recommendations and descriptions – they can help you find a great pour!

If you don’t feel comfortable ordering a specific bottle, there are always options like flights that let you sample different styles without committing too much. And if you’re ever stuck in an unfamiliar situation when it comes to choosing your spirit of choice–just remember: “Know thyself,” order with purpose, and enjoy the delicious ambrosia. Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I order a bourbon for the first time?

If you’re ordering a bourbon for the first time, it’s best to start with something familiar like a Blanton’s or a Maker’s Mark. If you’re not sure what kind to order, ask the bartender for their recommendation. Be sure to specify if you’d like it served neat, on the rocks, chilled, or in a mixed drink.

How do I order bourbon at a bar?

When ordering bourbon at a bar, you’ll need to know what type of bourbon you’d like. If you don’t know, you can always ask the bartender for their recommendation. Then, you can specify if you’d like it served neat, on the rocks, chilled, or in a mixed drink.

How do I order bourbon at a restaurant?

When ordering bourbon at a restaurant, you should consider what you’ll be eating and what type of bourbon you’d like. If you don’t know, you can always ask the server for their recommendation. Then, you can specify if you’d like it served neat, on the rocks, chilled, or in a mixed drink.

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Author: Justin

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