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What Is A Rail Drink? Common Rail Drinks and Mixers

What Is A Rail Drink?

A rail drink is a lower cost liquor drink at the bar. When you go to a bar it’s easy to spend a lot of money. Depending on your city, a casual night out can easily cost $50-$100, if not more! Now, if you want the best-of-the best, then you’re going to have to pay for it. If you’re going the cheap route, you might just want to consider a rail drink as an easy-to-order standard.

The Rail Drink

First, let’s define the rail. A rail is the “house” chosen brand for quick, go-to cocktails. Rail drinks are the cheap option, called such because they live in quick reach of the bartender in what some bars call “the speed rail.” Others call this “the well,” thus the synonym “well drinks.”

A rail drink is a common cocktail made quickly with the rail liquors. Often time you won’t specify the brand or style, just the common cocktail name. A bartender will give you your drink with the rail, or well, liquor.

If you ask for a standard cocktail, you might just get the rail drink by default. Some bartenders will ask if you have a liquor preference, and if you say no then they give you the rail. Others just go straight to it unless you ask. For instance, if you order a Rum and Coke without specifying a brand of rum, you’ll get that bars rails.

Most Common Rail Drinks

Not every bar uses the same rail liquor. More up-scale bars might have nicer liquors in their wells. Some bartenders just choose based on their favorite in the lower price range.

The most common rail drinks you’ll find in a bar include:

  • Rum and coke
  • Margarita
  • Bourbon and ginger
  • Vodka tonic
  • Whiskey Sour
  • Screwdriver
  • Tequila sunrise

One nice thing about these rail drinks is that, unlike more complex cocktails, any bartender can make these (and make them quick). If you’re uncomfortable at a new bar or trying to save some money, it’s a good idea to have a go-to rail drink that you can order quickly and simply.

Common Rail Mixers

As you can likely gather form the previous list of common rail drinks, some rail mixers are more common than others, as well. Here’s a quick list of the most common rail mixers.

  • Coke
  • Tonic Water
  • Club Soda
  • Ginger Ale
  • Orange Juice
  • Lime Juice