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Foolproof drinks in the clubs

What is the most foolproof thing to order in the bane of a cocktail enthusiast - the bustling nightclub?

Things have to be simple here. In these places the music is blaring, the bar is a layered 4 bodies deeps, and if ever get the bartender's attention you have to yell your order. In general you're being very generous calling em "bartenders." The classics are generally out, you'd be lucky to get someone who knows what a manhattan is let alone make one to an acceptable level. I mean I've had a failed vodka/cranberry... that was rather amazing.

Any drinks ought to be super simple - 3 ingredients or less OR something so universally known that every barkeep can make it. Something so simple that it can't be ruined by the worst pour in the universe. (We're probably going to be stuck with fratboy stalwarts like long island ice teas, but thats alright)

Heres some things that I've had success with

"Taste" category:
Malibu + Pineapple: Tastes good no matter how poorly its made. It's generally not too sweet because the cup full of ice waters it down. Unfortunately it is very low on the ABV.

"It'll get you drunk" category:
Long Beach - Variation on the long island ice tea but with cranberry instead of coke. Rather crude and pedestrian but it gets the job done. Usually barkeeps have so much experience making L.I. ice teas that this works well. Probably one of the best values for the very big $.

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  1. Vodka tonic. Nothing is foolproof, but this comes close.

    1. Gin and Tonic tends to be pretty hard to mess up as well. Vodka Presbyterian (Vodka Press)? Any drink where its basically the names of the ingredients.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Xaga

        I would second the G&T with some words of caution. A G&T is my "go-to" cocktail when at restaurants/bars with questionable back bars or bartenders. Since most restaurants have either Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater that usually the gin choice I make. However, what I've found is that the quality (or lack thereof) of tonic varies greatly between establishments. Sometimes the drink served will be great, other times its sketchy at best.

        That said, I'm also interested in some go-to drinks when the bar/tender is in question. Some possibles:

        Rum/Jack/Bourbon and Coke
        A higher tier spirit that you like on the rocks
        Vodka (or Gin) and Cranberry (or other juice)
        Gimlet

      2. One that I've enjoyed recently that's almost impossible to screw up is a mix of the fruit-flavored vodka of your choosing with Bailey's on the rocks. Few have enjoyed the thought, but are usually instant converts when they try it. My favorites so far have been raspberry and peach.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          jk, does it taste like a chocolate/fruit cordial candy? it sounds good (and potent!) to me.

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            Would have never thought of that, sounds quite good! I'll test that out soon.

          2. A presbyterian is what I'll go to, but I won't ask for it as such. Just whiskey (in the clubs I'll go for any Irish or Crown Royal) and ginger ale.

            Gets you drunk AND tastes great.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sailormouth

              Whiskey and ginger ale isn't a Presbyterian, it's whiskey and ginger ale. Presbyterians are a spirit, ginger ale, and club soda. The drink got its name because teetotaling Presbyterians would drink the mix of ginger ale-club soda at parties because its color resembled that of a Scotch and soda. Eventually other people added alcohol to what was originally a virgin drink.

              1. re: sailormouth

                For what it's worth, I took a bartending class once and a whiskey and ginger ale combo was called a Highball, which I always thought was just a generic term for a mixed drink in a highball glass, but there you go.

              2. Jack and Coke. Problem with Tonic is if they put too much in, it tastes terrible! If you put too much coke, its just coke.

                2 Replies
                1. re: AlbertaHound

                  Forget the coke. Go for ginger ale. Doesn't cut the flavor of your preferred liquor as much, even if mixed poorly. Plus it has far less sugar and no caffeine, so fewer hangovers.

                  1. re: mojoeater

                    A cup of Coca-Cola has 27 grams of sugar, a cup of Schweppes ginger ale 23 grams, and Canada Dry has *more* sugar than Coke, with 33 grams per cup.