27 Cheap Drinks To Order At A Bar

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None of us wants to go out to a bar and come back home with just enough money left for a coffee the next morning. However, bar drinks can set you back pretty substantially, especially if the evening goes as it should. 

It is easy to get carried away with the music and atmosphere, especially if you are with your favorite people. Drinks, in general, are very conversation-starters, so chances are, you won’t want to pace yourself too much. 

So, at some point, you will have to choose between having a good time and keeping something jiggling in your wallet. The good news is, there is a third option, which is to have your cake and eat it too, meaning there is a way to have fun and keep something in your wallet for a rainy day. 

So, what are some cheap drinks to order at a bar? 

The sheer word “cheap” makes most of you associate it with “low class,” “low quality,” and “lowlife,” but it doesn’t have to be that way if you play your cards right.

Granted, the stereotype implying that expensive drinks are better and of higher quality than the cheap ones of the same category isn’t all that unfounded. So, in many cases, expensive is better than cheap. 

However, times have changed a lot, and the price isn’t always a reflection of the quality, and many times you may be paying for the brand rather than the product. So that expensive drink might not be exactly what you think it is. 

The main thing to have in mind to hack the system, so to speak, is to know which drinks are adaptable and which aren’t. If the drink contains syrup or juice, you will likely not notice the difference if it has been made with an expensive or a cheap alcohol brand. 

Usually, mixed drinks are where you can experiment, as the rest of the cocktail ingredients will do nicely, covering up for the overly aggressive vodka, rough whiskey, ethanol-tasting tequila, or low-quality rum. 

Also Check: 26 Best Shots To Order at a Bar

To help you make the most of your money and maybe save a few pennies, in this article, I will give a list of the cheapest drinks to order at a bar. Each of these drinks also has an expensive version, but the point is you don’t have to pay $50 when you can pay $10. 

1. Screwdriver

Screwdriver Starting with the classics, the screwdriver is a refreshing and delicious drink which, most importantly, won’t set you back a lot. Made with nothing more than vodka and orange juice, its average price is from $7 to $10, depending on the type of bar you have it at. 

Since we are talking about regular bars for regular Joes, expect to pay somewhere in the price range mentioned above. The more expensive bars also use more expensive vodkas, resulting in a more expensive screwdriver.

2. Gin Gimlet

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Made with gin, simple syrup, and lime juice, the gin gimlet cocktail will cost you no more than $7. Since it contains syrup, it will mask even the worst rum possible, so feel free to ask for the cheapest kind, as you won’t feel it as much. 

Moreover, the lime juice will do an excellent job balancing the bitterness of the rum and the sweetness of the syrup, so you may even end up with a very enjoyable cheap cocktail.

3. Old Fashioned 

Old Fashioned CocktailMade with bourbon, cocktail bitters, and sugar, this cocktail works excellent even with cheaper whiskeys, as the sugar will sweeten up everything that needs sweetening. Therefore, the $9 for this cocktail will be a cheap price to pay for the deliciousness in the glass you will be getting. 

The cocktail bitters will add some flavor and freshness to this combo, so expect an excellent drink for your money. 

More: Best Fruity Drinks 

4. Vodka Tonic 

Gin TonicVodka tonic is one of the most refreshing and soothing two-ingredient mixers you’ll ever try. The price of this drink is very variable because it largely depends on the type of vodka you have it with. However, there are decently-priced vodkas that deliver excellent results. 

So, you can have this mix for about $6 and enjoy it too. Of course, at the fancier bars, you will have to pay more, but you won’t be paying only for the drink, but for the bar’s image too. 

5. Gin Tonic

gin-tonicRefreshing, tasty, and edgy, the gin and tonic combo is a favorite to many, especially due to the combination of sweetness, sourness, and edge. Fizzy, sweet, and very delicious, the gin and tonic drink shouldn’t cost you more than $10, and that is using some of the fancier gins. 

The gin and tonic drink doesn’t tolerate a too low-quality gin, as the tonic is not as powerful as the coke, and it doesn’t mask an overly bitter rum as well as coke, does. With a very cheap rum, you may pay an even lower amount than $10, but you will be getting a razor-sharp drink. 

6. Lemon Drop

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Containing lemon juice, sugar, and vodka, don’t hesitate to go as cheap as you can with this cocktail, as the sugar and lemon juice will cover all traces of bad vodka, except for the burn. However, all vodkas burn, so it isn’t that much of a problem. 

This cocktail will cost you about $8, so it is definitely worth the try. Also, it isn’t only because it is cheap, but it is really tasty and refreshing. 

7. Tequila Sunrise 

Tequila sunrise cocktailMade with grenadine, tequila, and orange juice, feel free to ask for the cheapest tequila imaginable for this cocktail. The sharpness of the tequila, even if it reeks of ethanol, will simply go away with the grenadine and orange juice sweetness. 

Most bartenders use cheap tequila for tequila sunrise precisely because people can hardly taste it. It will burn, though, but even the best tequila burns, so it isn’t really a downside, and for $9, it really is an excellent solution.

8. Cuba Libre

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Also known as simply rum and coke, as those are the only two ingredients, this cocktail easily tolerates a cheap rum brand, as the coke nicely masks the bad flavors. Therefore, this cocktail has rightfully deserved a place on this list. 

You can find it for about $6 or $7, depending on the rum brand. Generally, the Cuba Libre cocktail is cheap in most places, as they know that even if they use an expensive rum, the coke will dim it down. Therefore the bars, too, think that the Cuba Libre cocktail is better off sold more cheaply. 

9. Red Wine and Coke

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This is probably the most common mix to order at a bar, and not only at a bar, as you don’t need a mixologist to make it for you. Since the wine and coke quantities are not set in stone, and you may adjust them as you like, you can literally make this mix everywhere. 

In addition, there are many types of red wine that are very affordable, even cheap, yet of very good quality. Therefore finding a good and cheap wine to mix with coke at a bar should be very easy, setting you back for no more than $6; this mix will definitely become one of your favorites. 

10. White Russian

White RussianAlso known as cake in a glass, the white Russian cocktail contains Kahlua, vodka, and heavy cream. Here, you can go as cheap as possible, as the heavy cream and Kahlua will cover up even for the worst vodka imaginable. 

The sweetness of the Kahlua and the creaminess and heaviness of the heavy cream will do an excellent job masking the overly expressed vodka aggressiveness. You may need to compromise, though, but not by that much, and for $9, it is definitely worth it. 

11. Casamigos Tequila 

Gold vs Silver TequilaCasamigos is the famous tequila brand by George Clooney and is also known as a gringo tequila since the brand owners are Mexican non-natives. This brand is known as the people’s tequila, which is why it is so affordable yet of excellent quality. 

A shot of the Casamigos tequila at the bar won’t set you back much, about $5 or $6.

12. Vodka Cranberry

cranberry cocktail with vodkaThis is another classic that I had to put on this list. The cranberry juice is somewhere between sweet and sour and, in any case, very refreshing. Therefore it does more than a good job masking even the worst vodka taste. 

What you will have to tolerate, though, is the overly expressive burn, as that doesn’t go away with the cranberry juice. This will cost you about $8, so it may be worth compromising. 

13. Salty Dog

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another gin-mixing drink that will set you back about $10. Just like the gin and tonic, this combination doesn’t involve any sugar or syrup, so it is harder to mask the taste of a poor gin. Therefore, don’t even order it if it is under $10, as it is not worth it. 

The lemon juice will cover up the fact that you aren’t having the best gin, but don’t think that it will mask overly bad tastes. Therefore don’t get greedy, as paying even $5 for a very cheap salty dog is a waste of money. 

14. Dark and Stormy

 

 
 
 
 
 
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When a drink involves beer, it is never out of reach, no matter how limited your drinking budget is. Containing ginger beer and lemon juice, the dark and stormy cocktail is always a welcome addition to your bar table as it definitely is a poor man’s gold. 

Costing about $9 for an entire beer mug, you will be enjoying its refreshing and sweet taste without worrying about emptying your wallet. 

15. Long Island Iced Tea

Iced TeaContaining tequila, rum, vodka, and triple sec, you can’t expect for a Long Island iced tea to be too cheap, but it won’t set you back a lot anyway, as it costs about $9. The last ingredient of a Long Island iced tea is coke, meaning that it masks the alcohol bitterness nicely. 

You may have to compromise, though, as the cheaper the alcohols are, the bitterer the cocktail will be, but with a little bit more coke, you will get through it successfully. 

16. Spritzer 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Made with white wine and soda water, the spritzer is a delicious and refreshing mix, so you may not only get it because it is cheap but because it is genuinely good. There are many budget white wine varieties that are of good quality and reasonable prices, so you may not even have to settle for anything. 

It will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $6. 

17. Fireball Whiskey 

Fireball WhiskeySpicy and flavorful, many disregard the Fireball whiskey because it is very cheap. However, don’t judge too soon, as it may surprise you. Priced at about $9 per glass at a bar, you may even enjoy it, especially if you aren’t in the mood for a mixed drink.

18. Smirnoff Vodka 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Smirnoff is a good vodka, medium-class vodka that will do nicely as a budget-friendly drink at a bar. Priced at about $5 per shot, you can get hammered with $35, not that you should, but you could. 

It isn’t the smoothest of vodkas, but if you aren’t a vodka aficionado, it will do a great job. 

19. Jonnie Walker Red Label

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Even though made for cocktails, many bars sell Johnnie Walker Red Label as a clear and unmixed drink. So, if you are on a budget and you don’t want a cocktail, it may come in handy. For about $7, you can have a nice renowned whiskey. 

However, the Red Label is the harshest one of the Johnnie Walker spirit expressions, so be prepared for a significantly expressive sting. 

20. Cosmopolitan 

CosmopolitanIt looks and sounds more expensive than it really is. Although there are pricier versions of the cosmopolitan cocktail, there are those that are budget-friendly. However, when it comes to cosmopolitan, you are paying for the image, so expect to pay a few bucks more than it’s worth. 

Made with vodka, cranberry juice, and lime, the cheapest you can find this cocktail is no less than $10. 

21. Old Grand Dad Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A glass of the Old Grand Dad whiskey will cost you about $7 at the bar, but don’t be fooled by the price, as this is an excellent spirit. If you are in the mood for a pure drink without all the fuss, I recommend you give this one a chance. 

22. Mimosa

Considering that it contains champagne, don’t go for the cheapest mimosa, as the very cheap champagne just won’t do here. Luckily there are cheap champagnes that do very well in a mimosa, so I suggest you choose the one that is one or two levels above the cheapest one. 

Not that the price is the only indicator of the quality, but you do need some kind of reference. The other mimosa ingredient is orange juice, but you can also ask for grenadine if you want it sweeter. A reasonable mimosa price would be about $10.  

23. Cognac and Coke

cognac cocktailYou guessed it, since it contains coke, you can go for the cheapest cognac there is and still get a good and enjoyable drink. Even the worst cognac has the recognizable cognac fruitiness, and mixed with coke; the drink will have a nice fruity and floral note. 

Sweet and boozy, this mix will cost you about $7. 

24. Mojito 

MojitoMade with white rum, lemon juice, and mint leaves, you can find cheap mojitos that will taste great. The lemon juice and mint combination does a great job masking for the possible low-quality vodka, creating a delicious, even fancy cocktail. 

Moreover, the mint has a unique ability to tone down the vodka burn, so if you like vodka only for the effects and not for the taste, the mojito is the drink you should have. As for the price, a medium-quality vodka mojito will cost you no more than $7. 

25. Seven and Seven 

A mix of Seven Up and whiskey, the seven and seven cocktails will do nicely using a budget-friendly but still not too cheap whiskey. The Seven Up, although very tasty and refreshing, as well as sweet and fizzy, won’t do a great job covering for a too bad whiskey. 

If you find your seven and seven too ethanol-flavored, feel free to dilute them with water and milden the possible whiskey sting. This mix will cost you about $10, on average, for a decent whiskey brand. 

26. Moscow Mule

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime and served in a copper cup, this mix is generally budget-friendly, so you will definitely not have a problem finding this cocktail for an affordable price. It usually costs from $7 to $10. 

27. Beer 

beerIf you are looking for a cheap drink, you can never go wrong with beer. Every bar imaginable carries beer, and beer is never sinfully expensive. Therefore you can afford some of the better beers and not have your wallet emptied. 

Beer usually goes for $5 and up. The more expensive beers are craft beers. 

What Are Cheap Alcoholic Drinks?

Each expensive drink has a cheap counterpart. Often, you don’t pay for the drink as much as you pay for the brand or the image of the bar, so have that in mind when ordering a budget-friendly drink. 

If you want to have a good drink and still not empty your pockets, go for a cocktail, preferably containing coke, orange juice, grenadine, or syrup. In addition, a beer is always a winning combination, as well as Smirnoff vodka, Casamigos tequila, Old Grand Dad whiskey, Fireball whiskey, or Johnnie Walker Red Label. 

How Do You Drink on a Budget?

Drinking on a budget doesn’t always mean that you have to drink lousy alcohol, so have that in mind when you want to order an affordable drink at the bar. Beer is always a winning choice, but there are other drinks you can get cheaply and still enjoy them. 

Do your homework and educate yourself on this subject to know what is the most cost-effective solution for you. The cheapest options are mostly cocktails and off-brand alcohols if you aren’t in the mood for a mixed drink. 

What’s the Cheapest Thing To Order at a Bar?

Mojito, Moscow mule, gin and tonic, and screwdriver fall among the cheapest drinks to order at a bar. You can always order a beer or a ginger ale if that’s what you like. Wine is also a cheap drink to order at a bar, as well as tequila, vodka, and whiskey shots.

What Is a Good Cheap Shot To Order at a Bar?

Unless you are ordering some special selection limited edition 15th century custom-made craft alcohol shot, you will probably get by with a modest amount of money. Shots aren’t expensive and get the job done, which is why they are so popular. 

Tequila, vodka, and whiskey shots are the classical shot ideas, but you can also do Jagermeister, Absinth, or gin. Amaretto or Kamikaze shots are also great ideas. 

Do Cheap Drinks Get You Drunk Sooner?

Whether or not a cheap drink will get you drunk sooner than a more expensive one doesn’t depend that much on the price, as it depends on how you drink. If you knock off your drinks quickly, you will get wasted very quickly, and it won’t matter how much they cost you. 

The quality of the drunkenness also depends on you and how you drink, the day you had, and if you mix drinks. However, the price of the drink matters most in terms of the hangover. 

If you get drunk on expensive high-quality alcohol, the hangover will likely be more bearable and pass sooner. Low-quality alcohol creates a detrimental hangover leaving you bedridden for at least a day. 

Resources: 

  1. https://www.mashed.com/158670/cocktails-from-chain-restaurants-you-should-absolutely-never-order/
  2. https://cocktails.lovetoknow.com/cocktail-recipes/cheap-mixed-drink-recipes-ideas

Chad Smith

Hello and Welcome, I am Chad, a formal bartender. I created this blog to help readers make exotic cocktails at home.

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