GoEast Chinese Lessons: How to order a drink in Chinese?

Photo Credit:  TimeOut Shanghai

Photo Credit: TimeOut Shanghai

It’s never too hard to get a drink in big cities in China such as Shanghai or Beijing for a new comer - 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. 

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

(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

  • 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 when you finish the sentence.

Measure words 

  • 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 of some 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 Brands of Spirits in China 

As for wine, we will have to introduce the Chinese names and how to order them in another article. Stay tuned!

Yi Stansel, Emily and Maria's college classmate for four years, a mom-to-be who constantly fights her cravings for a glass of wine.