Shaken, not stirred: how to drink in English


Let’s get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini…

A great way to practice your English is at the bar, but how will you know what to order?

Don’t let your English get in the way your social life or sobriety. We’ve got your cocktails covered from A to Z, or Aperol Spritz to Zombies.

First, know the lingo:

  • Ask your bartender for a drink ‘neat’ if you want it straight from the bottle, no ice or garnish.
  • ‘On the rocks’ if you want ice.
  • ‘Straight’ or ‘up’ you want it shaken or stirred and served in a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Dirty if you want olive juice in it, and with a twist if you want a bit of lemon or lime.

Are you the Samantha or the Carrie of your group? Maybe you couldn’t care less but are still thirsty. To channel Sex and the City, order a Cosmopolitan: Vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, and Cointreau, with a twist.

For the James Bond types, choose a Martini: Gin (sometimes vodka), Dry Vermouth. Of course you’ll want this, shaken not stirred. Garnish with an olive or lemon. Ask for it ‘dirty’ and get some more of that delicious olive juice.

James Bond's Martini

How about something simple, populist not so elite? Try a screwdriver: Orange juice and vodka served in a tall glass with ice. Fun fact: Allegedly this drink was invented by oil workers that mixed the drink a screwdriver, the tool, not another cocktail. Meta.

Of course there’s the matter of your bartender. You’ll want to leave a tip, depending on their pour the heavier the better. If your drink is ‘watered down’, then don’t bother with a good tip.

Learn more about drinking in English. Sign up for a free trial of English lessons at

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