Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Bill Allen
Classy Upscale Drinks to Make You Look Sophisticated in Any Setting
When I think of my favorite Upscale Drinks, I always envision James Bond sitting in some exotic bar dressed in a tuxedo and sipping a martini, shaken and not stirred of course, while sitting next to a beautiful bombshell.
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Yes, there are very few drinks that conjure up a more upscale drink reference than the martini, but there are a few others as well. And that’s what this list of upscale drinks is all about. Helping you to not only look sophisticated at that important business brunch or first date, but to actually enjoy the taste of your drink that you just ordered.
I’ve tried to include some classy drinks, my personal favorites, and a little something for everyone. So whether you like vodka or gin, or beer and wine. I think you’ll you’ll find something that you can enjoy while looking great at the same time. In fact, it’s the name of this website. So take my list seriously 😉
This drink will always be the epitome of an “Upscale Drink”. It’s timeless and will always look great in your hand whether you’re wearing a $5,000 tuxedo or a faded pair of jeans and a t-shirt. It’s a classy drink at it’s finest and for me, it will always be the number one upscale drink.
A “real” martini is made with gin and a hint of vermouth. Basically the martini is simply a socially acceptable shot of gin. It just looks a lot better than gin in a shot glass.
For those of you that don’t like gin, then a vodka martini is a great choice as well. Just be sure you order a vodka martini at the bar, because if you just say a martini, you will get gin.
A lot of people look at absinthe as a drug rather than an upscale drink. Too bad, because not only is it really delicious, it also comes with an amazing presentation. Sugar, water and fire make this beautiful green drink something to stop and look at in any bar. And if the bartender knows what they’re doing, the taste will keep you coming back for more.
3. Moscow Mule
We have a great Moscow Mule recipe that includes lime juice, ginger beer, and vodka variations to create a nice light and refreshing drink that is perfect for those hot days or nights. When your bartender serves your mule, if done correctly it will also have a bit of mint as a garnish for an even cleaner taste. Or maybe lime if the bar doesn’t have mint.
Either way, the green garnish looks great against the usually hand crafted copper mug that this drink is served in, making the whole experience of a Moscow mule a great upscale drink.
4. Old Fashioned
An old fashioned really is just that. The drink dates back to the 1800s! The main ingredient here is whiskey. A lump of sugar, a cherry and a bit of bitters and water are added to the glass and then muddled. Then the muddled ingredients are mixed with your favorite whiskey to create a cocktail with a lot of flavor that both a woman and a man can enjoy. Garnished with a lemon peel and served in a rocks glass, this drink makes number four for our list of the best upscale drinks.
5. Gin and Tonic
A “G&T” is similar to the martini, although instead of vermouth, it’s replaced with tonic water. And similarly, its clean and clear presentation makes it one of the classier drinks on our list. A Gin and Tonic is garnished with a lime and served over ice in a rocks glass. Although sometimes it’ll come in a taller drink glass. A super easy drink to make at home as well. If you love gin, then this is a definite try drink.
Although wine has a huge variety as far as “drinks” go, it is still most definitely an upscale drink. Especially when bottles can go for hundreds or crazy amounts. Personally, bottles usually in the $30-$50 range are fine for me. But my palette isn’t as refined as some of my wine connoisseur friends to be completely honest. Then of course you have red and white wines, and knowing which wine pairs best with your meal is the very basics of understanding wine. So take a look at some of these other wine articles as there really is just too much to say about wines.
For the beach bar crowd, there’s nothing like sipping on a delicious frozen margarita while sitting in a beach chair watching the waves and your trouble slowly melting away. Margaritas come in all kinds of varieties, but the classic or “authentic” margarita is made with tequila, Cointreau (a Triple Sec), and fresh squeezed lime juice served over ice with a salted rim and lime as a garnish.
This tasty classic also comes frozen. You’ll need a frozen Margarita maker if you’re going to try to whip one up at home. We actually have a list of the best margarita machines here. But in a bar, it’ll be served in a cool looking Margarita glass with a salted rim and a lime wedge for a garnish. And if you really need to buy a mix, then check out what we have to say about the best margarita mixes here. Authentic or frozen, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a margarita!
Go to any Sunday brunch and you’re most likely going to see Mimosas on every other table. Usually made with Champagne, Triple Sec, a splash of cold orange juice and an orange slice as a garnish, this drink is not only an upscale beverage, but it’s also the perfect hang over “healer” that’s light, tasty and has a bit of vitamin C to help get you through those first few hours of the day. That’s why they are so popular at Sunday brunches.
In fact, most bars and restaurants will run specials knowing their clients are in need of a bit of “the hair of the dog” after a hard Saturday night.
Another for the Sunday brunch or work lunch crowd. The original drink, created somewhere in the mid-1900s was a concoction of sparkling Italian wine and peach puree. Today though, most Bellinis are made with Champagne and peach schnapps, but if you can get one with fresh peach puree, it really makes this drink very special. Bellinis are a little less sweet than a mimosa, and a great alternative for something that’s still on the lighter side and perfect for early drinking.
10. Bloody Mary
While we’re on the subject of Brunch, the other most ordered brunch drink is the Bloody Mary. Long thought of as another hangover cure, this cocktail is made from many different ingredients that resemble more of a meal than a drink. The alcohol of choice is vodka and it’s served in a highball glass with ice and a celery stick as a garnish. This particular one is a Smirnoff.
As far as the ingredients, a lot of bartenders want to keep their own recipes a secret. But you can try this at home as a base, then tweak until you get the proportions that you like the most.
It all starts with tomato juice, then add some horseradish, celery salt, a dash of regular salt, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. I used to also add some freshly cut garlic, lemon and lime juice and a splash of hot sauce like Tabasco. Mix it all well! And yes, people who love Blood Mary’s loved the way I made them.
11. White & Black Russians
These easy to make drinks look and taste great and are served in a rocks glass over ice. There are no garnishes for either. The first drink, the Black Russian, is made with vodka and Kahlua. It’s a great after dinner drink, especially for those of you who enjoy a good cup of coffee after dinner. And if that’s a little to much, the White Russian is the same drink with a bit of heavy cream mixed in to give it a more “Bailey’s” type flavor. Again, very nice as an after dinner drink.
For the beer lover who not only wants to drink the best beer in the world (yes, I am a huge Guinness fan!), but wants to have a truly “upscale” beer that looks and tastes amazing, the having a proper pint of Guinness that’s pulled correctly and given time to settle and form the perfect tan colored head, this is the beer for you. Served in a pint glass, this almost black beer is a real upscale treat. And it is NOT as heavy as everyone says.
And be careful if you’re buying bottles or cans. The cans are the closest thing you can get to a draught, the bottles, called “old grand dads”, are much more bitter.
And if you still can’t hack the goodness, make a black and tan using half Guinness and a lager. Even though every time someone ordered one of them, I cringed a little inside!
13. Long Island Ice Tea
Are your co-workers driving you crazy? Just a really bad blind date? Then it’s time to bring out the big gun that packs a serious punch, but still looks cool. This high alcohol content drink is made with 4 different alcohols including vodka, rum, gin, and tequila of your choice. You will also need triple sec, sweet and sour mix, a splash of cola, and if you need the garnish, use a lemon slice.
You’d think with so much going on in this drink it wouldn’t be tasty at all, but you’d be wrong. It really does taste like ice tea! And since there are so many ingredients, don’t hesitate to mix up the amounts of each to make your drink a little sweeter or more sour depending on your taste buds.
Do you think there’s a drink that really deserves a spot on the list, let me know in the comments and if I agree, I’ll include it in our list of upscale drinks. I’ll even give you a shout out!