The Drinks Bartenders Secretly Judge You For Ordering

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The Drinks Bartenders Secretly Judge You For Ordering
Mai Tai drink on the bar ready to drink

There are certain drinks bartenders, like me, will secretly judge you for ordering. We’ll happily make it for you but we’ll be rolling our eyes on the inside.

Bars are filled with people trying to look cool. Maybe you’re trying to impress your group of friends. Maybe you’re trying — and failing — to woo a date. Or maybe you just want to appear cool in front of me, your bartender.

Fair enough. Bartenders are hip. We stand in front of people and do things that most people probably can’t do.

So it’s no surprise that folks sometimes try to impress us — or at least not disappoint us — when it’s their time to order a drink.

No matter what kind of drink you order, we’ll happily make it with a smile. But there are some types of drinks we’ll secretly judge you for requesting.

Here are 16 orders that bartenders are sure to wince at.


You order a filthy martini with a top-shelf spirit

With a few exceptions, such as when the cocktail is super spirit-forward, house cocktails are always made with the bottom shelf — or “well” — spirits. Because why waste a perfectly good top-shelf spirit?

If I gave you a blind tasting of two filthy martinis, one with Grey Goose, one with the well vodka, I highly doubt you would be able to tell which was which. At least not in a meaningful way. Some bartenders go so far as to judge any and all dirty martini orders – especially when a blue-cheese-stuffed olive is requested.

Personally, I’m unbothered. That is, until, you besmirch a perfectly good top-shelf gin or vodka that can stand on its own.


Actually, requesting an uppermost echelon spirit in any mixed drink is kind of silly

The same principle applies with any mixed drink. Even if it’s a more refined cocktail, like an Old Fashioned. I’ll do it. But it will hurt me inside to add even a dash of bitters and a bar spoon of sweetener to the $US25 Nikka Coffey Whiskey Old Fashioned you just ordered.


We judge when large groups all order the same thing

Don’t be square. Live a little. Just because you’re wearing matching tees doesn’t mean your drink orders have to correspond too.


You ask for your martini shaken

Please. Unless it’s a Vesper – calm down, James Bond.

Hint: There’s a reason martinis are stirred. And it has nothing to do with how manly you are, and everything to do with the type of ingredients involved. Our decision to stir instead of shake is pretty cemented, and it’s based on how the ingredients dilute, interact, and ultimately appear in the glass.


You order an Long Island Tea when you’re somewhere fancy

Assess your environment. Look around.

Say, for example, if the lighting is decent, and your bartender is wearing a tie, vest, or blouse: Don’t order a Long Island Iced Tea. Or a Blue Motorcycle, an Irish Trash Can, or a Slippery Nipple.

These are cocktails designed basically to get you as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. And they taste – unremarkable. Let a bartender at a refined joint get you drunk in at least a memorably tasty way.

But by all means, when you find yourself at a dive, go ahead and revel in the blasphemy of combining multiple spirits in one glass.


You’re at a dive bar and order something obnoxiously high-end

Don’t ask the bartender what smoked salts the bar has available for a bespoke margarita when you’re at a dive bar.

On second thought, never ask us about our smoked salts (yes, people actually request this). It’s an inquiry that somehow manages to make you sound both silly and pretentious.


You order a rum and Diet Coke

You’re drinking cane-based booze. You might as well pile it on.


You order a complex drink whose substitutions make it a basic drink

When people try to mask their more basic, but desired, drink choice with substitutions, it’s their insecurity that I judge, not their desire to have a vodka soda.

So please. Just ask for a vodka soda. Don’t ask for a gimlet, sub-gin-for-vodka, sub-lime-and-sweetener-for-soda.


You arbitrarily add egg white to your drink

Whiskey sour. Amaretto sour. Ramos gin fizz. These are the drinks it is appropriate to request egg white with, if it’s not already assumed. A gin and tonic is not.


You ask me to make you ‘whatever you want’

Bartenders hate this. Don’t do it. Be decisive. Or at least be decisive when I ask a follow-up question.

“Refreshing or spirit-forward?” “Up or on the rocks?” “Bitter or smoky?”

When people insist on sticking with the “whatever you want” script when pressed to answer questions to find a perfect drink, you’re hurting me when you should be helping me help you.

Also, here’s a trade secret from me to you: We have a favourite drink to make. It’s called a neat pour of anything.


You order a well-known brand, but dismiss my suggestions for a better, lesser-known one

Part of our job is to know what’s well marketed versus what’s good. So I’ll always throw side-eye to someone who dismisses a suggested spirit that would have probably both saved them money, and enhanced their drink.


You order ice in your wine

I say this as a person who does this occasionally. But only on three-dollar wine night. And with a healthy dose of shame.


You request an obscure garnish

Some people have weird neuroses about drink garnishes, while others treat the bartender like a Subway sandwich artist at the garnish station. I fondly recall when a guest asked for “a single blueberry” in his drink, which we happened to have on hand.

Another common eye-roll is asking for multiple cherries. Fun fact: Those babies cost 33 cents a pop.


You request a menu drink, but ask to substitute vodka

Don’t do this. Don’t make me explain the vast taste difference between scotch and vodka and why that substitution won’t fly. Then again, it’s fine. You do you. Live your best life. Order whatever you want.

Just know, we are judging you.


This story originally appeared on Business Insider. Read the original story here.

Comments

  • Your life would be less frustrating and more happy if you weren’t so concerned about what other people wanted. Please speak for yourself and not ALL bartenders. Not everyone is so horribly judgmental.

  • I’m a bartender in Vegas….and yes some of things are pretty annoying at times but your spending your money so order what you want how you want….a good bar/ bartenders should be able to accommodate. I bet they rather annoying customers than none…I’m tired of people in the industry trying have all the these for bars….it’s all bullshit…spirit …mix..glass it’s not that complicated folks

  • I’m a bartender in Vegas….and yes some of things are pretty annoying at times but your spending your money so order what you want how you want….a good bar/ bartenders should be able to accommodate. I bet they rather annoying customers than none…I’m tired of people in the industry trying have all the these for bars….it’s all bullshit…spirit …mix..glass it’s not that complicated folks

  • The judgement of a bartender is the absolute least of my worries. If I want a goose and turkey cocktail, who cares? Why do you care? We all have different tastes. Maybe you aren’t woke to individuality and would rather everyone confirm to you because you’re an ‘expert’ who can ‘do things I cannot’, like be a pretentious douchebag to your customers.

    • I’ll second this. While some of the suggestions in the article are logical, a lot could be personal preference from the drinker. I particularly like Myers rum for example. I’d rather drink it than a more expensive one. I’ve also tried a variety of Jamaican rums and it’s still my favourite. So if I’m ordering that there’s a reason.

      Similarly, I might prefer a high end scotch whiskey but I’m never going to drink it neat – because I don’t like the taste neat. So don’t roll your eyes at me if I ask for ginger ale or ice in it. Just because I’m “polluting it” with ice or soft drink doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the difference between say Johnny Walker and Glenmorangie.

  • Hey bartender…not sure if you noticed this whilst pouring liquids into a glass and judging how people tell you to do it…but you are judged for being a bartender…Mostly by alcoholics who have more aspirations than being a bartender.

  • Rum is a clear spirit (even the dark o es, though dark ones don ccasssionally have sugar added back in *after* to balance the flavour profile). The fact that it comes from sugar cane matters no more than if it came from potatoes or grain – distillation and sugar alcohols are completely different from munching on a sugar cane or a ‘tato in terms of nutritional intake. If you want a carbless, low-cal drink, rum and diet coke is as good an option as gin and slimline, or any other spirit and low cal mixer.

    But of course, as a top notch barman, you’d already have a good grasp of the composition and process of alcohol making, right?

  • I understand your point about being decisive over your drink. You want to have fun and not having to spend 10m to figure out what to drink.

    However if my bartender is judging me, I will be more concerned about why the bartender is judging me. He/she should have better things to do than judget people for their choices, drinks or whatever. As long as what one person chooses does not harm someone else.

  • The rum and coke judgment is stupid as you (roughly) triple your calorie intake by not choosing diet.

    The well known request vs lesser known suggestion is debatable as everyone has different tastes. Good service would be to only offer a suggestion if the person seems unsure of what to get or asks your opinion.

    The reverse of the large group one could be annoying if you’re behind a large group all ordering different cocktails! Also if they’re in rounds and order different drinks it would be a nightmare to remember who ordered what!

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