Updated at: 20-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Ever found yourself at a bar, unsure of what to order without breaking the bank?

You’ve likely heard the term “well drink” but may not exactly know what it means.

In this article, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about well drinks – from their definition and composition, to popular examples and tips on how best to order them.

Ready for your next happy hour adventure? Let’s dive in!

Understanding Well Drinks

What Does Whiskey Taste Like (1)

Definition of a well drink

Essentially, a well drink refers to a cocktail mixed with the most cost-effective liquor available on hand, often kept within arm’s length of the bartender in an area known as the counter “speed rail” or “well”.

The genre includes any mixed beverage made using this lowest tier alcohol stocked by establishments.

Typically, these spirits include vodka, gin, rum or whiskey. These alcohols are then combined with common mixers like soda water, fruit juices, or syrups to create various flavorful mixes.

Whether you’re savouring a vodka cranberry concoction or sipping on a classic vodka soda mix- you’ve got yourself immersed in the realm of well drinks.

So next time when someone asks you what a ‘well drink’ is don’t forget to explain its origin from the spot behind every professional bartender’s station – where low-cost liquors reside for fast access during happy hour madness!

Ingredients of a well drink

A well drink is a cocktail that is made using low-cost well liquor and other common ingredients kept behind the bar.

These liquors are often blended with a variety of mixers, such as soda water, juices, or syrups.

Here are the main ingredients you can expect to find in a well drink:

  1. Vodka: A popular choice for many well drinks, vodka is a clear and neutral-tasting liquor that pairs well with various mixers.
  2. Gin: Another common spirit used in well drinks, gin has a distinct herbal flavor that adds depth to cocktails like the classic gin and tonic.
  3. Rum: Whether it’s light or dark rum, this versatile spirit is often added to popular well drinks like the classic rum and coke or the refreshing mojito.
  4. Whiskey: From bourbon to rye whiskey, this strong and flavorful liquor is commonly used in classics like the whiskey sour or old fashioned.
  5. Mixers: Well drinks often utilize mixers such as soda water, cranberry juice, orange juice, tonic water, cola, or ginger beer. These mixers help to enhance the flavors of the spirits while adding volume to the drink.

Popular Well Drink Examples

Vodka soda

What Is A Well Drink (1)

Vodka soda is a popular choice for those looking for a low-calorie and refreshing well drink option. Made with vodka and soda water, it’s a simple yet satisfying cocktail that can be enjoyed any time of the year.

With its crisp taste and the ability to customize the level of sweetness or tartness by adding lime or other garnishes, vodka soda offers versatility for individuals who prefer lighter alcoholic beverages.

Plus, since it’s made with well liquor, it’s an affordable choice that won’t break the bank.

Whether you’re enjoying happy hour at your favorite bar or hosting a gathering at home, vodka soda is a classic and reliable drink option that never disappoints.

Vodka cranberry

The vodka cranberry is a popular and refreshing well drink that combines the smoothness of vodka with the tartness of cranberry juice. This classic cocktail is loved for its simplicity and delicious taste, making it a go-to choice for those looking for an easy and enjoyable drink option.

The combination of vodka and cranberry juice creates a balance between sweetness and tanginess, resulting in a satisfying beverage that can be enjoyed at any occasion.

Rum and coke

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One popular well drink is the classic rum and coke. This simple and refreshing cocktail combines the smooth flavors of rum with the bubbly sweetness of cola.

Made using low-cost well liquor, this mixed drink is a go-to choice for many bar-goers.

The affordability and availability of rum make it a popular choice for well drinks, while the addition of coke adds a touch of carbonation and sweetness.

Gin and tonic

Gin and tonic is a popular well drink that combines gin, a type of clear distilled alcohol made from juniper berries, with tonic water. This classic cocktail offers a refreshing and slightly bitter taste that many people enjoy.

Gin and tonic is typically garnished with a slice of lime or lemon to enhance the flavors.

It’s important to note that well drinks like gin and tonic are made using lower-cost liquors, which makes them an affordable option for those who want to enjoy a mixed drink without breaking the bank.

Whiskey sour

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Whiskey sour is a classic well drink that has stood the test of time. Made with whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup, this cocktail offers a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors. The combination creates a refreshing and tangy experience for your taste buds.

Whiskey sour is a great choice for those who prefer the boldness of whiskey but also crave something with a hint of sweetness.

Benefits of Well Drinks


Well drinks are known for their affordability, making them a popular choice among those on a budget. These cocktails are made with low-cost well liquor and other common ingredients that the bar stocks.

By using these less expensive liquors, bars can offer patrons a variety of mixed drinks at a lower price point than premium options.

This means you can enjoy your favorite cocktail without breaking the bank.

So whether you’re looking to save some money or just want to try something new, well drinks provide an affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice taste or quality.


Well drinks are known for their versatility, making them a popular choice among bar-goers. With a wide range of liquor options and mixers available, you can easily customize your well drink to suit your preferences.

Whether you enjoy the refreshing taste of a vodka soda or the fruity flavors of a vodka cranberry, there are countless possibilities for creating your perfect cocktail.

The flexibility of well drinks allows you to experiment with different combinations and variations, ensuring that there is something to satisfy every palate.

So whether you’re looking for a classic cocktail or want to try something new and exciting, well drinks offer endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.


Well drinks are widely available at bars and restaurants, making them easily accessible for those looking for an affordable drink option.

Since well drinks are made using low-cost liquors that every bar stocks, you can find these cocktails on almost any drink menu.

Whether you’re at a local dive bar or a high-end lounge, chances are they’ll have a selection of popular well drinks like vodka sodas, rum and cokes, or whiskey sours.

So no matter where you go, you can enjoy the convenience and variety of well drinks without breaking the bank.

Tips for Ordering Well Drinks

Specify the liquor and mixer

When ordering a well drink, it’s important to be specific about your choice of liquor and mixer. The term “well drink” encompasses various types of mixed drinks made with the lowest tier liquor available at a bar.

By specifying the type of alcohol you prefer, such as vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey, you can ensure that your cocktail is made exactly to your taste.

Additionally, don’t forget to mention your preferred mixer – whether it’s soda water for a refreshing fizz or cranberry juice for a fruity twist.

Being clear about what you want will help the bartender create the perfect well drink tailored to your preferences.

Be aware of potential quality differences

It is important to be aware of potential quality differences when ordering well drinks. Since these cocktails are made with lower-tier liquors, there can be variations in taste and smoothness compared to premium brands.

However, this does not mean that well drinks are inherently bad or undrinkable. Many bars take pride in their well drink offerings and ensure they are still enjoyable options.

Just keep in mind that the quality may not be as refined as high-end spirits, but they still provide a satisfying drinking experience at a more affordable price point.

Experiment with variations and combinations

To truly enjoy the world of well drinks, it’s important to let your creativity run wild and experiment with different variations and combinationsMixology is an art, after all, and there are countless ways to customize your drink to suit your taste buds.

Try adding a splash of fruit juice or a squeeze of fresh citrus for a burst of flavor, or perhaps opt for a flavored syrup or bitters to add depth and complexity.

Don’t be afraid to mix different liquors together either – you never know what delightful concoction you might stumble upon.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating unique and delicious well drinks that will keep you coming back for more. Cheers!

Enjoy responsibly

Drinking responsibly is crucial when it comes to well drinks or any other alcoholic beverages. It’s important to be mindful of your alcohol consumption and make responsible choices.

While well drinks may offer affordability and versatility, it’s essential not to overindulge or exceed your personal limits.

Remember that consuming alcohol in excess can have negative effects on your health and well-being, as well as potentially leading to harmful behaviors.

Take care of yourself by drinking in moderation, knowing when to stop, and always being aware of the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption.


In conclusion, a well drink is a mixed cocktail made with affordable, lower-tier liquors that are readily available behind the bar.

These drinks offer affordability, versatility, and easy accessibility for those looking to enjoy a refreshing beverage without breaking the bank.

So next time you’re at the bar, don’t hesitate to ask for your favorite well drink and savor it responsibly. Cheers!