05/01/2014 01:25 pm ET Updated Jul 01, 2014

Neat, Straight up, and on the Rocks: How to Order a Cocktail

Knowing the rules and the proper terminology can make you seem like a cocktail expert even if you aren't. Before approaching the bar, always know exactly what you want and give your order to the bartender with confidence, or risk looking like you just turned 21 five minutes ago.

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Rule number one: Never order a cranberry vodka. At least not like that. When ordering a cocktail, name the alcohol, then the chaser, or you'll look like a freshman in college who didn't know what else to order. If you want a specific type of liquor, say so. And to make it fancy, add "with a twist."

Here's how you'd order it: "I'd like a Stoli-cranberry with a twist, please." You just ordered a cocktail with Stoli vodka and a lemon peel, also known as a Cape Cod.

When ordering, though, be careful not to throw around cocktail terms like "neat," "straight up," and "on the rocks" without knowing what they mean. If you do, you might end up with a drink you didn't want and an unamused bartender.

For a drink made without ice or mixer, you'd order it "neat," and it would be served to you in an Old Fashioned cocktail glass. So, you might say, "I'd like a bourbon, neat." To order a martini "up" or "straight up," means you'd like it chilled. A cocktail that is poured over ice is "on the rocks."

For more drink terminology and how to use it when ordering a cocktail, read on. And don't forget to tip your bartender!

How to Order Cocktails the Right Way

-- Haley Willard, The Daily Meal

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