It’s never too hard to get a drink in big cities in China such as Shanghai or Beijing for a newcomer – bartenders usually understand the English names pretty well and the drink lists are mostly in both languages. However, ordering a drink in Chinese never fails to impress your friends or a romantic interest. So here’s how to order an alcoholic drink in Chinese. (For ordering coffee, see our guide for ordering coffee in Chinese).
Needless to say, unlike ordering a cup of coffee in Chinese, ordering a drink can be simple and direct, it usually doesn’t require many courtesy words or “steps”.
Sentence structure for ordering a drink in Chinese
- (给我) 来+ number of drinks + 杯/瓶 (measure word) + name of the drink
- (Gěi wǒ) lái + number of drinks + bēi/píng (measure word) + name of the drink
Let’s look at the first parts:
- 给我 gěi wǒ: for me
- 来 lái: indicates an action instead of using a specific verb, here it suggests “serve”.
- 给我来 gěi wǒ lái: serve me …
To be polite, you can always add a 请 qǐng (please) at the beginning of the sentence and a 谢谢 xiè xie (thanks) when you finish the sentence when ordering a drink in Chinese.
Measure words for drinks
- 杯 bēi：a cup, a glass, a shot of…
- 瓶 píng：a bottle of…
- 扎 zhā：a glass of draft beer. 两扎青岛 liǎng zhā qīng dǎo，two Qingdao draft beers.
Chinese names for common drinks
- Beer 啤酒 pí jiǔ:
- Draft beer 扎啤 zhā pí
- Craft beer 精酿啤酒 jīng niàng pí jiǔ
- Liquor 烈酒
- Whiskey (Bourbon, Scotch) – 威士忌 wēi shì jì （波旁威士忌 bō páng wēi shì jì，苏格兰威士忌 sū gé lán wēi shì jì）
- Vodka – 伏特加 fú tè jiā
- Gin – 金酒 jīn jiǔ
- Absinthe – 苦艾酒 kǔ ‘ài jiǔ
- Anisette – 茴香酒 huí xiāng jiǔ
- Tequila – 龙舌兰 lóng shé lán
- Rum -朗姆酒 lǎng mǔ jiǔ
- Liqueur – 利口酒 lì kǒu jiǔ
Common alcoholic drink names in Chinese