Looking through a drink's menu gives you dozens of options to choose from. They all look mighty tasty, but trying to choose an option from the list gets your head spinning before you've even had a sip. If you're hunting for a quick fix to your decision-making woes then you should opt for classic well drinks. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, we're here to break down all you need to know and which well drinks you should reach for in the future.

What Is A Well Drink?

an empty bar

Simply put, well drinks are cheap mixed beverages. The cheapest at the bar, in fact. Generally speaking, the drinks are made with the most inexpensive liquor at the bar (tequila, bourbon, vodka, gin, rum, scotch, whiskey) and some sort of mixer (soda, soda water, and various juices).

Wondering why they're called well drinks? The term was coined to reflect the space behind the bar where the bartender usually keeps his tools like different liquors, ice, and mixers. They're also the drinks that are often made a few at a time since they're ordered so frequently.

How To Order Well Drinks

When you walk up to the bar and ask for something like "a rum and Coke" or "rye and seven," you've got yourself a well drink. Simply calling out for a drink without naming a specific brand of alcohol will typically yield you a well drink.

a man ordering a drink at a bar

On the flip side of that coin is a call drink. When you request a particular brand of alcohol or a twist, you're asking for a very specific drink. So, for example, when you can ask for a "Crown Royale and seven" instead of a "rye and seven" you're getting a call drink.

There is a third kind of beverage: a premium drink. Asking for top-shelf booze (Bacardi, Beefeater, Belvedere) in your drink is the premium kind. That's pretty much all there is to it.

Popular Well Drinks List

So, now that we've nailed down what the heck a well drink even is, let's go over some of the more popular ones you can ask for at the bar. We'll go over what's in them and why they're worth trying.

1. Rum And Coke

a rum and coke in a glass
  • Rum
  • Ice
  • Coca-Cola
  • Lemon or lime wedge for garnish

This is easily one of the most well-known well drinks available just about everywhere. It's the perfect drink for those who don't like strong drinks and appreciate a good glass of Coke. It's also watered down with ice and you can choose between one or two shots of rum to make it as strong as you'd like.

2. Long Island Iced Tea

long island iced tea with lemon slice garnish
  • Triple sec
  • Tequila
  • Rum
  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Sour mix
  • Coca-Cola
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Okay, yes, this one has a seemingly huge list of cheap alcohol added, but you don't need very much of it per pitcher or glass of Long Island Iced Tea. About half an ounce of each kind of booze and enough cola to fill up the glass will give you just enough to an adult's version of iced tea.

3. Vodka Tonic

a vodka tonic next to limes
  • Vodka
  • Tonic water
  • Ice
  • Lime or lemon wedge for garnish

A vodka tonic is another one of those well drinks that doesn't take very many ingredients to make and isn't very strong. If it doesn't suit your taste, you don't need to add more than an ounce or two of vodka with some tonic water for a good, simple well drink.

4. Tom Collins

a tom collins garnished with lemon and a cherry

Tom Collins is a sweet and sour mix of simple syrup and a double shot of lemon. A splash of club soda and ice water everything down for you, and with only a touch of gin you won't be coughing on a ton of alcohol. You can stick a cherry in there too if you really want an added burst of sweetness.

5. Screwdriver

two screwdrivers on a table
  • Ice
  • Orange Juice
  • Vodka
  • Salt

No, it's not called an "Orange... Vod-Juice-Ka" like Michael Scott thought. A screwdriver is a classic well drink made with only a touch of vodka and orange juice. There will be more OJ than vodka in there, too, so you don't need to worry about a super strong drink. Not to mention, the ice will keep things watered down too. Toss a pinch of salt in there and you're good to go.

6. Bloody Mary

two bloody mary drinks on a table
  • Vodka
  • Tomato juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Hot sauce
  • Horseradish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Celery stick for garnish

Bloody Mary's are great if you're looking for something that's got a bit of a kick to it. You saw those ingredients right; horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and horseradish give this drink the spicy twist it needs to combat the tomato juice and vodka. A crunchy celery stalk gives you something to munch on that's not only healthy but will still cling on to some of that sweet concoction.

7. Black Russian

a black russian cocktail
  • Vodka
  • Kahlua
  • Ice

A Black Russian is the perfect drink for someone looking for a few brands of alcohol and a cube or two of ice. With three simple ingredients, this well drink gives you all you need for a stronger mix that's cheap and delicious. Different bars may use varying coffee flavored liqueur, but Kahlua is the brand most often selected.

8. Whiskey Sour

two whiskey sours on a table garnished with cherries
  • Whiskey
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Orange or lemon slice for garnish
  • Cherry for garnish

Whiskey, simple syrup, and lemon is a mouth-watering, sour burst that you can indulge in just about any time during the year. You can ask the bartender to switch up the garnish, too, based on your personal tastes and an added cherry makes things extra sweet.

9. Gin And Tonic

gin and tonic on a table
  • Gin
  • Tonic water
  • Ice
  • Lime or lemon wedge for garnish

If vodka isn't your thing then all you need to do is ask for gin instead. A gin and tonic is quite literally the same thing as a vodka tonic with a different kind of alcohol. Mix things up entirely by switching your garnishes around to your tastes (though typically a gin and tonic is served with lime when you order one).

10. Mojito

mojito with salted rim next to limes
  • Rum
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • Lime
  • Superfine sugar
  • Fresh mint leaves

Fresh mint, lime, rum, what more could you ask for? Mojitos are served in tall glasses, too, so you'll be able to sip this bad boy for a long time. A tablespoon or two of superfine sugar gives this well drink the perfect addition for the sweet tooth in all of us. Depending on how it's made, the superfine sugar is added merely to taste.

11. Pina Colada

2 pina coladas on a table next to pieces of coconuts
  • Coconut cream
  • Pineapple juice
  • Rum
  • Ice
  • Pineapple chunks or slices for garnish

If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain then all you need to do is ask for this little beauty at the bar. Splashes of pineapple juice and coconut cream make this the ideal beverage for those hoping to relive their summer days. You can garnish this with a pineapple slice or a few chunks, the choice is yours. Some people even add a touch of sugar too.

12. Moscow Mule

a moscow mule on a bar
  • Ginger beer
  • Vodka
  • Lime juice
  • Ice

You can ask for this simple well drink at the bar if all you're looking for is refreshing ginger beer spiked with vodka then you're in luck. The Moscow Mule is your one-stop-shop for an easy blend in a copper mug. The cool thing about this drink is that there are tons of variations to select from.

Other Kinds Of Well Drinks

Of course, even though these top 12 are the more popular ones, that doesn't mean there aren't way more to choose from. You can look into grabbing these guys too:

  • Greyhound (vodka, grapefruit juice, ice)
  • Dirty Shirley (Sprite, grenadine, ice, vodka, cherries for garnish)
  • Madras (vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice, lime wedge for garnish)
  • Paloma (tequila, grapefruit juice, ice, and lime soda)
  • Mexicola (tequila, ice, lime juice, and coke)
a rum and coke on a table

The possibilities are virtually endless and there are plenty more than the ones we've listed here. You can ask the bartender which well drinks they're serving during happy hour or which ones they recommend based on your tastes. There are lots of garnishes and variations you can use with well drinks, too, which is why these beverages are so great. Remember that if you're making them at home, you can alter the kinds of alcohol used too.

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