Food - Drink
Where Does The Bartending Term 'Well Drink' Come From?
When you tell a bartender you want a mixed drink, they usually won't ask for clarification on what brand of liquor to use — unless you ordered a "call drink” that features a specific brand of liquor, such as Jack and coke. Any other kind of drink is typically a "well drink," a less expensive cocktail using liquor from the bar's "well."
The term "well" is one of the many names for the area underneath the bar top (counter), a section that is stocked with liquors and mixers conveniently within the bartender's reach. Generally, well liquors are bottom-shelf and inexpensive, since most mixed drinks don’t necessitate top-shelf, brand-name spirits.
What is stocked in the well will vary bar by bar, and some bars will add local or new brand spirits and alcohols to their wells for use in well drinks. If you happen to want your favorite and/or more expensive liquor in a mixed drink, you can always ask your bartender to swap out a well liquor for your preferred brand.