Drinks to Avoid Ordering at a Bar: Bartenders’ Insider Tips

Ever found yourself standing at a bar, overwhelmed by the choices and unsure what to order? You’re not alone. While the world of cocktails is vast and exciting, there are certain drinks that even the most seasoned bartenders wish you’d avoid. It’s not just about taste – it’s about time, ingredients, and sometimes even your safety. Today, we’re pulling back the curtain on the bar scene to reveal the drinks that make bartenders cringe. Get ready for some eye-opening revelations that might just change your ordering habits forever!

1. The Notorious Long Island Iced Tea

Ah, the Long Island Iced Tea – a drink that’s more notorious than your average cocktail. This potent concoction is a bartender’s nightmare for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s a complex cocktail that requires multiple ingredients, including vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and triple sec. That’s right, it’s basically a liquor cabinet in a glass!

Preparing a Long Island Iced Tea is like orchestrating a miniature booze symphony. Each spirit needs to be carefully measured and added in the right proportion. This time-consuming process can seriously slow down service, especially during busy hours when the bar is three-deep with thirsty patrons.

But it’s not just about the preparation time. This drink is also a quick way to deplete a bar’s liquor supply. With five different spirits going into each glass, ordering rounds of Long Island Iced Teas can put a serious dent in the bar’s inventory. And let’s not forget about the potential consequences for the drinker. This cocktail packs a serious punch, often containing more alcohol than your average mixed drink. It’s easy to underestimate its strength, leading to faster intoxication than you might expect. So next time you’re tempted to order this boozy behemoth, maybe consider a simpler, less potent alternative. Your bartender (and your tomorrow self) will thank you!

2. The Mighty Mojito Menace

Picture this: it’s a bustling Friday night, the bar is packed, and someone orders a mojito. You can almost hear the collective groan from the bartenders. Why? Because the mojito, while delicious, is a time-consuming nightmare to prepare, especially in a crowded bar.

The mojito’s complexity lies in its preparation. It requires fresh mint leaves, which need to be carefully muddled to release their aromatic oils without turning them into a bitter, pulpy mess. Then there’s the precise balance of rum, lime juice, sugar, and soda water to achieve that perfect blend of sweetness and tang. Each ingredient needs to be measured and added with care, a task that becomes increasingly difficult as the orders pile up.

But it’s not just about the time it takes to make. There’s also the issue of ingredients. Fresh mint has a limited shelf life and can quickly go bad if not stored properly. Some bars might not even stock fresh mint regularly, making your mojito order a near-impossible task. And let’s not forget the mess – muddling mint leaves can leave green bits all over the bar, requiring extra cleanup time. So, while a mojito might be your go-to drink on a quiet afternoon, it’s best to steer clear of this minty menace during peak hours. Your bartender will silently thank you, and you’ll likely get your drink much faster!

3. The Bloody Mary Mayhem

The Bloody Mary – a beloved brunch staple that becomes a bartender’s bane after dark. This savory cocktail is a prime example of a drink that should stay in its lane, time-wise. While it’s a fantastic morning pick-me-up, ordering one at night can throw a wrench in the works of a busy bar.

What makes the Bloody Mary such a challenge? It’s all about the ingredients and preparation. This cocktail requires an extensive list of components – vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and a blend of spices. Each of these needs to be perfectly balanced to create that signature Bloody Mary taste. And let’s not forget the garnishes! From celery stalks to olives, pickles, and even bacon strips, the garnish game for a Bloody Mary can get pretty intense.

The problem arises when you order this drink outside of typical brunch hours. Many bars simply don’t keep all these ingredients readily available throughout the day. The tomato juice might be tucked away in storage, the garnishes may not be prepped, and the spice mix could be buried behind bottles of more frequently used spirits. This means your bartender has to scramble to gather everything needed, significantly slowing down service for everyone else. So, unless you’re at a bar that specializes in Bloody Marys or it’s explicitly on their evening menu, it’s best to save this spicy favorite for your weekend brunches. Your bartender (and fellow patrons) will appreciate your consideration!

4. The Frozen Drink Fiasco

Ah, frozen drinks – the slushy, sweet concoctions that transport you to a tropical paradise with every sip. But before you order that piña colada or strawberry daiquiri, consider the chaos you might be unleashing behind the bar. Frozen drinks are a bartender’s nemesis, especially during peak hours.

The primary issue with frozen drinks is the blender. That noisy, time-consuming appliance becomes the bane of a bartender’s existence when the bar is three-deep. It’s not just about the time it takes to blend – it’s the setup, the cleanup, and the disruption to the flow of service. Imagine trying to hear drink orders over the deafening whir of a blender! Plus, many bars have limited blender capacity, meaning if you’re ordering rounds of frozen drinks for your group, you’re essentially holding up the entire bar.

But it’s not just about the logistics. Frozen drinks often mask the taste of alcohol with their sugary sweetness, leading to faster and often unexpected intoxication. They’re also notoriously high in calories, which might not align with everyone’s dietary preferences. So, while that frosty margarita might seem like a good idea on a hot summer night, consider the impact on the bar’s efficiency and your own wellbeing. Maybe opt for a refreshing gin and tonic instead – your bartender will serve it with a smile, and your head might thank you in the morning!

5. The Egg White Enigma

Egg white cocktails like the Ramos Gin Fizz or a classic Whiskey Sour might be all the rage in craft cocktail bars, but they’re a real headache in a busy, standard bar setting. These drinks require a special technique and extra time that most bartenders simply can’t spare when the crowd is three-deep at the bar.

The main issue with egg white cocktails is the extensive shaking required to achieve that perfect, frothy texture. We’re not talking about a quick shake here – some of these drinks, like the infamous Ramos Gin Fizz, traditionally require up to 12 minutes of vigorous shaking! That’s an eternity in bartender time, especially on a busy night.

There’s also the issue of food safety. Raw egg whites need to be handled carefully to avoid any risk of salmonella. This means extra precautions, separate storage, and potentially even special warning labels on the menu. And let’s not forget about vegans or those with egg allergies – ordering an egg white drink could lead to a lot of confusion and potential health risks. So, unless you’re at a specialty cocktail bar during a quiet moment, it’s best to skip the egg white drinks. Your arms will thank you for not making the bartender shake until they’re sore!

6. The “Surprise Me” Surprise

We’ve all been there – facing a vast cocktail menu, feeling indecisive, and uttering those fateful words: “Surprise me!” While it might seem fun and spontaneous to you, for a bartender, it’s often a recipe for disaster. This request, while well-intentioned, can put undue pressure on the bartender, especially during busy hours.

The problem with “Surprise me” is that it’s incredibly vague. Bartenders aren’t mind readers – they don’t know your taste preferences, alcohol tolerance, or budget. Do you prefer sweet or sour? Strong or light? Fruity or spirit-forward? Without this crucial information, the bartender is shooting in the dark, which could result in a drink you don’t enjoy and potentially won’t want to pay for.

7. The Flaming Shot Folly

Flaming shots might look cool on Instagram, but they’re a nightmare for bartenders and a serious safety hazard. These fiery concoctions might seem like a fun party trick, but they come with a host of potential problems that make them a big no-no in most bars.

First and foremost, there’s the obvious safety concern. Open flames in a bar environment, especially when alcohol is involved, is a recipe for disaster. The risk of burns is high, both for the person taking the shot and for anyone nearby. Imagine a crowded bar on a Saturday night – one wrong move and that flaming shot could spell trouble for more than just the drinker.

Then there’s the liability issue. Many bars and bartenders refuse to serve flaming shots due to insurance concerns. If something goes wrong, the bar could be held responsible, leading to potential lawsuits and a whole lot of headache. Plus, in some areas, serving flaming drinks is actually illegal due to fire code violations. So, while you might think you’re being adventurous by ordering a flaming shot, you’re actually putting the bartender and the establishment in a tough spot. Stick to drinks that don’t require a fire extinguisher on standby, and everyone will have a safer, more enjoyable night out!

In the grand tapestry of bar culture, certain drinks stand out not for their delightful flavors or artistic presentations, but for the headaches they cause behind the bar. From the time-consuming Long Island Iced Tea to the potentially dangerous flaming shots, these drinks can turn a smooth-running bar into a chaotic mess. But knowledge is power, and now you’re armed with insider information on what not to order. Remember, a good night out isn’t just about what you drink – it’s about the experience as a whole. By avoiding these problematic potions, you’re not only making your bartender’s job easier, but you’re also contributing to a more enjoyable atmosphere for everyone. So next time you’re perusing that cocktail menu, think twice before ordering that complicated concoction. Your bartender will silently thank you, and who knows? You might just discover a new favorite drink that’s both delicious and bar-friendly. Cheers to smarter ordering and happier drinking!

Emma Bates
Emma Bates
Emma is a passionate and innovative food writer and recipe developer with a talent for reinventing classic dishes and a keen eye for emerging food trends. She excels in simplifying complex recipes, making gourmet cooking accessible to home chefs.

Must Read

Related Articles