What Bartenders Actually Think About The Drink You Ordered, According To A Survey

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As an aging introvert, my heavy bar-going days are largely behind me — but sometimes, I still find myself wondering what bartenders think about people based on their drink orders. Happily, though, the internet exists, which means that I don’t have to wonder anymore: The information is readily available. Alcohol.org surveyed about 260 current and former bartenders not too long ago about everything from tipping to drink orders, and, well… it turns out that some bartenders are a lot judgier than others. Depending on your drink order, your bartender’s opinion of you might lower dramatically when you sidle on up to the bar.

The survey covers a lot more than opinions about drinks; in fact, there’s some useful information about behavior that bartenders hate, too. Asking for a free drink or whistling to get a bartender’s attention were by far the most annoying customer behaviors, according to the bartenders, with asking them to either “surprise you” or “make it strong” being close runners-up. So, if you want to get on your bartender’s good side… don’t do those things.

When it comes to ordering specific drinks, though, it’s also worth remembering that it… kind of doesn’t matter what the bartender thinks of your drink choice. Drink what you want; it’s your cocktail — or mocktail, or glass of water, or whatever — after all. (The one exception is perhaps the fifth one on the list — there are a lot of good reasons not to order that one, or to at least order it under a different name.) Just don’t be a jerk to the bar staff, pay up, and make sure you tip.

But for whatever it’s worth, here are bartenders’ top five least favorite drinks to serve, according to this survey:

1Appletini

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There are actually a bunch of ways to make an appletini; the simplest (and, according to some, “purest”) version just involves vodka and apple juice, apple cider, or apple pucker, but riffs on the theme might add vermouth to make it dryer, sub out the apple juice for apple schnapps, or toss in some liqueur for a bit of added sweetness. The drink dates back to 1996; its invention is generally credited to Lola’s, a West Hollywood restaurant that closed in 2013.

But apparently bartenders don't think well of people who order appletinis — according to the survey, a whopping 49 percent said that they have a negative opinion of folks who ask for the drink.

2Jagerbomb

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Once described by Vice Thump as a “precision-engineered tool of debauchery-acceleration,” the Jagerbomb is quite a performative drink: You don’t drink it because it tastes good; it’s more of a test of endurance or a way to get loaded, fast. As such, it’s got a reputation for being a young person’s drink. (Anecdotally, it’s been at least a decade since I’ve had one — and yes, I am in the process of rapidly becoming An Old.) Originally served as a shot of Jagermeister dropped into a beer, the beer is now more frequently replaced with an energy drink of some sort. 40 percent of bartenders, however, think none too fondly on those who order it.

3Frozen Cocktails

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Most frozen cocktails bear little resemblance to their original, unfrozen forms, which might explain why 39 percent of bartenders think negatively of people who order them. Consider the daiquiri, for example: While a strawberry daiquiri is essentially a strawberry smoothie spiked with rum, a classic daiquiri simply consists of rum shaken with sugar and lime.

As a trend, frozen cocktails started to gain steam around the 1950s, according to Serious Eats; that’s when the blender was in the process of becoming a common home appliance. Strawberry daiquiris are generally considered the OG frozen cocktail, with the frozen margarita later becoming the first one to have its very own machine for easier serving in bars.

4Sex On The Beach

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No one really seems to be quite sure where the Sex on the Beach came from; it’s got several different origin stories, all of which contradict each other in some major ways. Generally, though, it’s thought to have been born sometime in the ‘80s as part of the “bawdy cocktail” era of drinking. (The Fuzzy Navel, the Hairy Navel, and other similar suggestively-named cocktails were created around this time, as well.)

Then again, perhaps the foggy origins of the drink are to be expected, since no one really seems to agree on what a Sex on the Beach is, anyway. As Aaron Goldfarb at Punch recently observed, when the drink went the late-‘80s version of viral, it “didn’t seem to matter that most places didn’t know the original recipe.” Wrote Goldfarb, “Countless sickly-sweet combos would eventually claim the same name: Pne popular variant had vodka, Chambord, Midori, pineapple juice and cranberry juice, while another swapped in grenadine. Often, it was just served as a shot — half vodka, half Peachtree, with a splash of grenadine.”

In any event, 38 percent of bartenders say they have negative opinions of people who order Sex on the Beaches. Whether it’s about the goofy name or the quality of the drink, though, remains to be seen.

5Irish Slammer

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Once known as the Irish Car Bomb — a name which has largely been retired by bars and bartenders because it’s, uh, really problematic — an Irish Slammer is, like the Jagerbomb, a performative drink: The idea is to drop a shot of Bailey’s into a Guinness and chug the whole thing before the Bailey’s curdles. Unlike the Jagerbomb, however, the drink is pretty tasty. (It’s still been at least 10 years since I’ve had one — see my previous comment about being An Old — but as the drink is made of two things I happen to like a lot, I find the flavor profile quite appealing.) Given that it’s often still ordered under a name that makes light of the Troubles, however, it’s perhaps understandable that 30 percent of bartenders don’t think very well of people who order it.

Ultimately, though, as long as you're not ordering something that's downright offensive, order what you want. If you enjoy it, it's a good drink — other people's opinions of it be damned.