I’m a bartender, and these are the drinks that we secretly judge you for ordering

  • There are certain drinks bartenders like me will secretly judge you for ordering.
  • We’ll happily make you a mixed drink with top-shelf liquor, for example, but we’ll be rolling our eyes on the inside.
  • Here are 16 things you should think twice about before ordering at a bar.

Bars are filled with people trying to look cool.

Maybe you’re trying to impress your squad. Maybe you’re trying, and failing, to woo someone on a first date.

Or maybe you just want to appear cool in front of me, your bartender.

And why not? Bartenders are hip. We stand in front of people and do things 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 big moment in front of us: ordering a drink.

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

Here are 16 orders that bartenders are sure to secretly judge you for.

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 and one with the well vodka, I highly doubt you’d 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

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

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 $25 Nikka Coffey Whiskey Old Fashioned you just ordered.

We judge when large groups all order the same thing

We judge when large groups all order the same thingShutterstock

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

You ask for your martini shaken

You ask for your martini shakenUnited Artists

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 LIT when you’re somewhere fancy

Assess your environment. Look around.

Say, for example, there aren’t peanut shells on the floor, 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.

And when you’re at a dive bar, you 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 your drink in ‘fingers’

You order your drink in 'fingers'Getty Images

It’s a joke among our crowd that the under-21s order in “fingers” to try to seem more sophisticated — and less underage.

That’s when customers use the width of their fingers to indicate how much liquor they want.

Basically, if you order your drink like this, I will ask to see your ID. Seriously.

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

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

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

You arbitrarily add egg white to your drinkGetty Images

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 ‘whatever you want’

You ask me to make 'whatever you want'Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

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 favorite 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

You order a well-known brand, but dismiss my suggestions for a better, lesser-known oneCraig Barritt/Getty Images for Johnny Walker

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

You order ice in your wineDavid Paul Morris/Getty Images

I say this as a person who does this occasionally. But only on $3-wine night. And with a healthy dose of shame.

You order ‘Tito’s with vodka’

You order 'Tito's with vodka'Colin Young-Wolff

It never fails to amuse me when this happens. And for some reason, this slip of the tongue only happens with Tito’s.

You request an obscure garnish

You request an obscure garnishGetty Images

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 for some reason, we had on hand.

Another common eye-roll is asking for multiple Luxardo cherries. Fun fact: Those babies cost $0.33 a pop.

You request a menu drink, but ask to substitute vodka

You request a menu drink, but ask to substitute vodkaMatt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Grey Goose

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.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author: phicklephilly

Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

4 thoughts on “I’m a bartender, and these are the drinks that we secretly judge you for ordering”

  1. Soooo…I have asked for ice in my wine (shame on me), but I drink very little of the stuff now due to sulfites and headaches.

    A brandy old fashioned, sour, with muddled orange and cherries, is my thing. No top shelf brandy. No expensive drinks because all of a sudden a craft old fashioned with rye or bourbon or special cherries is on the menu. Nope. Give me a straight up what my dad used to make for me thirty years ago and I’m good.

  2. This is funny! Especially Titos with vodka. I have to admit my wife ordering top shelf LITs. She figures she can only handle one or two, so make them special. I didn’t realize bartenders were so judgmental. I’m a generous tipper. Maybe I should tip upfront and ask for the non-judgmental top shelf Long Island. 🙂

  3. lol. I do some of that, only because I seldom drink, so I never know what to order, other than a martini. I like mine with three olives. And, I like it gin. I usually say Tangueray because it’s the only name I can remember. I will keep in mind that it doesn’t matter? I had one dirty once (because I was asked) and I liked it. I had it a second time and didn’t. When I drank often, I used to love something called a greyhound, I think but it had grapefruit juice? It was popular way back, then it got old and now I’m on medication that prohibits anything grapefruit. Wines give me headaches but that used to be my drink of choice. I try exotic stuff off the menu occasionally. Rum makes my tongue swell, so that’s out. I got drunk on a drink my ex made me that was mostly ice cream, Kahlua and vodka. I got pregnant and ended up married to the jerk The drinks were amazing though. Then I got into something called a King Alphonse, loved those, but no one seems to know how to make them. They keep calling it a Black Russian, but if I recall they weren’t the same but similar. Then there was the…. Are you laughing yet? I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I think I’ll stick to my martini.

    1. I love your comments so much! That was so good I should feature you as a guest columnist! Great stuff! Thank you! (I like ice cubes in my wine! My dad would roll over in his grave had he not been cremated!)

What are your thoughts on this subject?