There comes a time in a man’s life that he will eventually cozy up to a bar he’s never been to before. And it is in that decision making process that he must choose what to order and not look like an amateur. Gentlemen know not to waste the barkeeps time by just standing there and mumbling incoherent statements about what they think they should order. It is in these moments that men should always have a “go-to” drink.

The “go-to” drink is the one drink, beer or cocktail you know you enjoy and can speak with relatively ease once the bartender asks you for your pleasure. The “go-to” drink is sort of ritual. It is a feel good moment for you and the bartender. But before you order the usual, there are a few things you need to do first.

Step 1: scope out the bar and the scene. If you are in a sports bar, chances are they won’t be able to make the perfect martini and the wine has probably been open for days. So you need to have a drink that says, sports bar and complements the wings. If the place is pretty swanky, then you have a better shot at fresh wine and higher end cocktails. Know your location and order appropriately.

Step 2: observe the bartender. Chances are he or she will be fixing a drink when you get there and that can give you a chance to see if they know what they are doing or just whipping up ready- made drinks. Great bartenders have a seemingly easy approach to making drinks and take pride in what they are doing. Choose that person.

Step 3: be specific when you make your ask. This shows you’re not a novice drinker! I have several quirks when I order my drinks but that lets the bartender know that I am not here to play. Light ice or heavy ice, splash of water, lemon twist or whatever it is you like let them know immediately so they do not have to remake a drink you did not give specific instructions about. Order up and let’s drink.

I have several “go-to” drinks when I go out. And yes, it will depend on where I am or how I am feeling. For example, I like my scotch neat or with one ice cube when it’s cold outside. I order a vodka martini with 4 olives when socializing or Cabernet with dinner. I know what I want when I get to the bar and I do not hold up the flow. Nothing worse than waiting to get served because the guy ahead of you cannot decide on what he wants. There is an unspoken bar etiquette and a classic rule is not staring at the bar and becoming undone by all the choices. A man should hold his composure and order with confidence. Having a “go-to” drink solves those issues and leaves more time for drinking and enjoying your company.

So find out what you enjoy and commit it to memory. Next time you are out at the bar, approach confidently, look the bartender in the eye and order your “go-to” drink with bold authority. Make sure to tip reasonably and sit back, relax and enjoy your cocktail.