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Drinks you should never order in a bar. (Maybe?)
October 4, 2012 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Writing for the Globe & Mail's "Wine & Spirits" section, Beppi Crosariol interviews some bartenders and suggests that there are some drinks you should never order in a bar.

The response from readers is a mixed bag. Some agree that "-tini" should only be used as the last four letters of "dry martini," not a general suffix (previously). Others feel that bartenders should drop the pretense and make whatever the customer asks for without judging them.
posted by asnider (106 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ctrl+F "lemon drop"

Phrase not found.

fail.
posted by MikeKD at 12:03 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Judging how cool or uncool your customer is by the relative hipness of the drink they order, no thanks.

Part of me is all glee and haha-I-knew-those-drinks-were-tired-too. However the bigger part of me says I am the customer, I like a certain drink, I am paying, feel free to suggest something similar but if I still want it then just make it, please.

Great service is making the customer feel like whatever they did (within reason) was the right thing to do, some restaurants never seem able to grasp this.
posted by Cosine at 12:09 PM on October 4, 2012 [16 favorites]


How about the bartenders make whatever the customer asks for but continues to judge them?

It's win win!
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on October 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


MetaFilter: Not an acceptable substitute for vermouth.
posted by brokkr at 12:10 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Cocktail quality tends to be inversely proportional to calorie count.

And the inverse is usually true for beer. That is to say a beer's quality tends to be directly proportional to calorie count.

Yes, yes, there are exceptions and I know all about stouts and porters... But come on, nitpick me and you're nitpicking for light american lagers. Tread warily.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:12 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ctrl+F "lemon drop"

I don't know, a lemon drop is pretty refreshing on a really hot afternoon, but yeah, I guess that's not something I'd order at a bar, unless it was one of those fake bamboo-and-thatched-roof bars next to a hotel pool.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:14 PM on October 4, 2012


Ugh, just leave me and my terrible taste in liquor in peace. I will tip and everything, just don't get all judgey at me about my taste for sweet cocktails or whatever. I don't go to a bar to have the bartender judge me, I go to a bar to drink and/or socialize while drinking.

Though I have to admit, ever since learning that bartenders hate making mojitos because they're a pain in the ass, I never order them.
posted by yasaman at 12:17 PM on October 4, 2012


Beppi Crosariol: Proof you can make booze boring.
posted by docgonzo at 12:18 PM on October 4, 2012


You wouldn't ask for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner at an upscale steakhouse to replace the Truffled Gruyere and Brandy Macaroni and Cheese as your side dish. And if you did you would most certainly be refused. Nor would you go into McDonald's and demand creme brulee and a braised halibut cheeks sandwich. What's the difference? Either way you are asking a restaurant to serve you something that they can't or strongly prefer not to serve.

Any food or beverage establishment, to my mind, should be allowed to choose between getting some extra business or forgoing that business in order to preserve the tenets of their foodic vision. Anyone who doesn't like it is completely free to go somewhere else.
posted by TheRedArmy at 12:20 PM on October 4, 2012 [19 favorites]


The article is pretty all-over-the-place. You have some bartenders who are infusing their own fresh-fruit liqueurs and making drinks with passionfruit juice, elderflower liqueur, and applewood smoke-infused vodka and then others who refuse to make a mojito "for the labour involved". These two types of bartenders are working at very different types of bars, I think.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:21 PM on October 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


And the casual use of -tini drives me crazy, too.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:21 PM on October 4, 2012


The main problem I've run into as I've explored the finer bars of NYC is a tendency to make things much, much more sour than I can really handle. I don't know if there's something wrong with me, or if certain bartenders just have a mouth-puckering preference, but it's gotten to the point where I basically never order anything from the likes of Death and Company or PDT or the Campbell Apartment that contains lemon juice. I've also taken to halving the amount of lemon juice that the PDT cocktail book calls for when making drinks at home, and then nudging the proportion up a little to taste.

Like, sure, I am a fan of sweet things! But I'm hardly a drinker of sugary, syrupy nonsense on most days -- I'm more into scotch than piña coladas, you know? I almost wonder if part of the communications breakdown between high-class bartenders and the appletini hordes is an unwillingness to kind of meet people in the middle.

Or maybe my tongue is just broken.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:23 PM on October 4, 2012


Does a Bloody Mary count as a cocktail? Cause I love me some Mary!!!
posted by Pendragon at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I hate is going to the places that have [candy]-tinis on the menu but if you ask for a proper martini they look at you mystified. Come on, even if you're going to cater to the people who don't want to taste the alcohol, be able to make the real drinks too.
posted by olinerd at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I HATE the casual use of "Tini". It's MR. TIM, for Chrissakes. The guy didn't tip-toe through those fucking tulips all day so you could call him by his first name, asshole.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2012 [18 favorites]


Like half of these mixologist types who are so dedicated to preserving the sanctity of the martini end up being the same ones who do the "nod solemnly in the direction of France" routine, so enjoy your glasses of chilled gin, I guess.
posted by Copronymus at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, dammit, I will order a Mint Julep or Mojito if I want one, I don't care how annoying they are to make, they're delicious.

I'll just tip much, much better than I normally would.

EVERYONE WINS OKAY. :|
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


yasaman, depends on the context. if it's busy, keep it simple. if it's slow, it's not that big a deal to make a mojito. all of your bar supplies should be ready, for one. it's not like you're ringing my doorbell at 8am asking for a mojito and me with no mint leaves or simple syrup, ack.

the best bartender is the kind that keeps you coming back. i've never liked judgy bartenders myself though i'm nice to all bartenders. i don't like judgy drinkers either, but if we're going there, i'll let ron swanson have the last word.
posted by twist my arm at 12:29 PM on October 4, 2012



How about the bartenders make whatever the customer asks for but continues to judge them?


This was certainly the way that I was always taught to do it.
posted by josher71 at 12:30 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


“There is nothing more disheartening and annoying than to make an old-fashioned, sazerac or crusta, only to have it sent back to the bar to have it altered because it’s too strong or bold or not to their taste,”

There is nothing more disheartening and annoying than to make something not to someoneelse's taste?? Wow.
posted by Blake at 12:30 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


How about the bartenders make whatever the customer asks for but continues to judge them?

Nah. Men (young men in particular) tend to be incalculably full of shit in all manner of ways with regard to taste and preference, and thus need to be called on it every now and then, to their faces, by other men who know better, professionals preferably. Because it helps us to be humbled somewhat, with witnesses. It helped me anyway.
posted by philip-random at 12:32 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The good thing about always ordering whatever beer is on special - I anticipate being treated like a know-nothing cheapskate.
posted by mannequito at 12:32 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And no mention of anything made with Fruit Loop, marshmallow, or cupcake flavored vodka? Because I'm not seeing anyone ordering those. Not that I want to, but I'm kind of curious who the market is for them.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:35 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, it's like a contest to see who is more irritating, Beppi or celebrity barkeeps (which Vancouver is overflowing with). The Globes booze writer manages to get exactly zero sentences in before using a cliche. He did manage to do something other than his usual column, cut'n'pasting from winery PR releases. He is incredibly terrible, so terrible he makes wine dull.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:39 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's difficult to make an analogy between "class" of bar and "class" of restaurant, because there's a major difference between the two, in that the former is much more likely to expect you to walk in and know what you want, while the latter hands you a menu, and unless you know the chef or are Mr. Fancypants Moviestar McGee, you don't order outside of those parameters. Yes, there is a general repertoire of drinks, but a lot of people, especially new drinkers, don't necessarily know what they are or what they like, so they go with stuff they've heard of, the new craze, or try to recreate what they've seen in places with drink menus. If your bar has a menu, you'll be less likely to have to make something you hate, unless you hate the menu. I love menus, because they give some indication of what the bar is proud of.

Without a menu, it's sort of like walking into a restaurant and being asked to immediately think of a standard dish to order, but that dish has to be something that fits the caliber of the restaurant, be something the restaurant wants to make, and not cause the chef too much trouble. You're looking into the kitchen so you can see all the ingredients, but nobody really feels like going to the trouble of grating cheese today, so don't order anything with cheese. Oh, and there are three people behind you, so what do you want right now?

Anyway, it's not a perfect analogy because there are bar "standards," but man. Also, whose idea was it to give drinks idiotic names? Often there's nothing particularly irritating about the combination within, but it's just unorderable because you cannot force yourself to say the name of the drink to another human being.
posted by ilana at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2012 [26 favorites]


“There is nothing more disheartening and annoying than to make an old-fashioned, sazerac or crusta, only to have it sent back to the bar to have it altered because it’s too strong or bold or not to their taste,”

Hmph. Taste is everything. Serve me a "sazerac" made with bourbon and Agnostura bitters and I will surely send that shit back. If you can't or won't make a drink just tell me you can't or won't make it so I know what sort of bar I'm in.
posted by tyllwin at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2012


When I clicked the link I thought I was ordering a nice easy-to-skim linkbait, but the server delivered a clunky old timey news article, instead.
posted by notyou at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you're a 'mixologist' at a hip cocktail-geek place working with rarified ingredients, I'd hope you have a menu of awesome signature cocktails. And if you do, great - what are people doing ordering boring generic cocktails at such places?
posted by naju at 12:45 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't be the guy to ask for an Irish car bomb at an Irish bar. People can be sensitive about making three decades of violence into a stunt drink. Try a baby Guinness instead.
posted by peeedro at 12:46 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine is a bartender at a sports bar here in Portland. Whenever someone would come in and order some fruity, crazy-named shit, she would just say, "So, a whiskey then?"
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dairy: Got milk? Got a mess.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man.
posted by A dead Quaker at 1:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [25 favorites]


I tend to favor brewpubs and beer-oriented bars so anyone ordering something other than beer* usually gets a funny look from everyone, not just the bartender.


*For the purposes of this discussion beer does not include such atrocities as Bud Light, or God forbid, Bud Light Lime.
posted by tommasz at 1:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite columns on Serious Eats is "Ask a bartender." This week, they asked bartenders "What's the strangest drink request you've ever gotten?" It makes a pretty good guide for what not to order, as well.
posted by knile at 1:07 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It makes a pretty good guide for what not to order, as well.

Gin and milk with soda? What's wrong with people?
posted by tommasz at 1:13 PM on October 4, 2012


I dunno, I've found that the fancier the joint, the more they're amenable to open-endedness.

So, if they make their own bitters and are generally hoity-toity about liquor, I typically just say "do something interesting with XYZ" where XYZ is replaced by any number of standard alcohols, whether they have a menu or not.

"Do something interesting with bourbon".

They get to show off in the manner of their choosing, I typically enjoy the results, and it's why I love the high-end crafty bars. No fuss, no muss, all funky.
posted by aramaic at 1:14 PM on October 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


In the Summer I'll often order a gin rickey and this usually requires me to provide the recipe -- fortunately no bartender has ever thought it a ridiculous affectation (and a couple have complemented me for introducing it to them).

But it's all context awareness, just like not being a jackass anywhere, some places I'll stick to a simple whiskey and beer.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:16 PM on October 4, 2012


Jagermeister: Not an acceptable substitute for vermouth.

Goatse is not an acceptable substitute for The Last Supper. Rusty razor blades are not an acceptable substitute for kittens. Polonium-210 is not an acceptable substitute for salt. Is anyone really doing this with Jagermeister? How do they sleep at night?
posted by Blue Meanie at 1:18 PM on October 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


If you have frozen daiquiris on your menu and I order one and you judge me/sneer/whatevs, I am going to keep on ordering them and drunkenly enjoy myself right in your face, and I will tip you really well just to make it even more annoying when you try to bitch about me later on.
posted by elizardbits at 1:21 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've just stopped enjoying beverages in the city all together. Between my barista refusing to serve me anything other than a $35 cup of artisan espresso with organically grown coffee beans grown around Machu Pichu and imported Kona Nigari water, and bartenders spitting in my drink and face for ordering a mojito, it's just not possible to enjoy myself without going broke or being humiliated.

But you know what?

I've discovered that urine mixed with Axe deodorant - I prefer Cool Metal or Rise - satisfies most of my drinking needs and keeps me surprisingly fresh throughout the day. Your move, baristas and bartenders.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:26 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Made with muddled mint, lime, sugar, rum and club soda, it was also slammed as passé.
What the fuck are you doing writing about cocktails?
posted by howfar at 1:29 PM on October 4, 2012


I like fiery bourbon and peaty scotch etc etc but hot damn if all those virgin frozen strawberry daiquiris from Red Lobster in my childhood haven't given me a taste for neon alcoholic slushies.
posted by invitapriore at 1:31 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Disregard my last comment, I'm going mad.
posted by howfar at 1:33 PM on October 4, 2012


prolly you are just drunky
posted by elizardbits at 1:34 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Double bourbon, house brand, straight up.
posted by jfuller at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "no dairy" is nuts. I once dated a bartender who improvised a drink for me on the spot when I visited him at work once; I don't recall all the ingredients, but I do remember Midori and cream were involved, and it was fucking delicious.

(And then he forgot what was in it so he could never make it again. Suck.)

I do have a definite sweet tooth when it comes to cocktails (anything without a lot of sugar and I can "taste" the alcohol, and that makes me make funny faces like when you let your kid try a taste of beer for the first time). Fortunately, though, a number of the classics do have some sweet element - I really was into daquiris for a while (not the frozen kind, the straight-up lime juice and rum and simple syrup and that's it kind), and just discovered Sidecars. They're classic, most bartenders know them, I think they're tasty, and they get me buzzed.

A lot of the "adventursome" cocktails people come up with today just...feel like they're trying too hard sometimes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:48 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


MeFi-tini: don't skimp on the bitters?
posted by prefpara at 1:48 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, try a Stinger sometime.

I just remember the moment when I decided to order a white zinfandel. I knew what I was doing, I just didn't care -- I wanted one, and I ordered it. I felt so defiantly uncool. It was great.
posted by endless_forms at 1:50 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


lots of lushshaming going on in this thread....
posted by The Whelk at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I started going to a new fancy bar last year, though I haven't been in a couple of months. I prefer things on the sweeter side as well, because I am a prole. But I discovered that my new favorite cocktail is the Lion's Tale: bourbon, St. Elizabeth's, lime, and simple syrup. So good. Sweet, sour, spicy, and a little smoky.
posted by KathrynT at 1:59 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


i feel like when it comes to alcohol metafilter is, as with many topics, not part of the mainstream. especially for a US-centric site, i feel like there are way too many people here who turn up their noses at vodka martinis, shaken martinis, flavored martinis, the word martini, bartenders who don't know how to make drinks that haven't been popular since prohibition (resurgence of classic american cocktails notwithstanding), bars that serve drinks to people with bad taste, drinkers that don't know how to drink.

we (in the US anyway) live in a country that thrives on miller lite, mcdonald's, walmart and reality tv. lots of people don't do things the way you'd do them. and still they manage to get by.

but if you want to be the change you want to see in the world? be gentle. if the bartender doesn't understand what you ordered, explain it if you can. seriously, a drink is just a recipe and if they have the ingredients, they ought to be able to do it. being shitty to the bartender because they're 23 and have been pouring jack and cokes for 2 years is no reason for you to be an ass.

and the pickier you are with your drinks, the more likely you are to know what the WRONG WAY to make them is. let your server or bartender know ahead of time-- for example: stirred not shaken, no sweet and sour, no grenadine, fresh lime juice please, no well liquor, GIN not vodka. i understand the people that say this is a "test" for the quality of the bartender, but if the last 200 vodka martinis got made just fine without getting sent back, it's shitty to make a scene because your server asked you what type of vodka you wanted. lots of people don't drink gin martinis! this is the world we live in!

they don't carry your drink? become a regular. get to know the bar manager. be charming and receive comped drinks. over comped drinks, talk to the bar manager about what's so great about a real sazerac or rye whiskey. if you're already a regular, it's a lot easier to say, "if you start carrying it, i will order it every time i come in here and i will talk it up to every other customer i see at the bar, i promise you'll make your money back." it's a $40 bottle of alcohol. any halfway decent restaurant will be able to experiment with drink specials to at least recoup the cost.

What's the strangest drink request you've ever gotten

sambuca in a wine glass, a straw, and a long-handled lighter. and this is how they drank their drink:

light the sambuca, immediately put your hand over the wine glass so the flame burns itself out and creates a suction with your hand. gently swish around the sambuca. quickly drink the sambuca through the straw, turn the wine glass over onto the bartop to trap the gas. slip straw into wine glass and inhale sambuca fumes. feel giddy.

bartenders spitting in my drink and face for ordering a mojito

this is not your fault for being in a place with crappy service, but if you want to test the waters, try this "hey bartender. if i order a mojito, will you be mad at me? i've heard that bartenders don't like to make mojitos and i don't want to be a pain in the ass. no seriously, i like getting along with my bartenders. that's my first choice. but i'd be totally fine with [2nd DRINK CHOICE]. what do you think?"

if any of this advice goes wrong and they treat you shitty when you were being polite, never go back.
posted by twist my arm at 2:01 PM on October 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Drink snobbery is annoying. Sometimes you want to order a totally stupid drink because it's fun, and some hipster fuck on the other side of the bar refuses to serve it because it's not to his liking. Fuck that. He's got a job to do. I'm not paying him to approve of me.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:01 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're a 'mixologist' at a hip cocktail-geek place working with rarified ingredients, I'd hope you have a menu of awesome signature cocktails. And if you do, great - what are people doing ordering boring generic cocktails at such places?

I find that in most (certainly not all) cocktail bars the signature cocktails on the menu tend to be tuned to a palate that's... while probably not all the way out in the long sugary -tini cocktails, at the very least prefers you to disguise the underlying alcohol a lot more than I'd like.

So most of the time when I'm at a place like that I either talk to the bartender and ask for something custom or, if it's busy and I don't want to make a fuss, I just ask for something classic. There are some very good classic cocktails, and a decent cocktail bar should generally be able to make them. They may be generic, but they're certainly not boring.
posted by DRMacIver at 2:01 PM on October 4, 2012


Blake: "“There is nothing more disheartening and annoying than to make an old-fashioned, sazerac or crusta, only to have it sent back to the bar to have it altered because it’s too strong or bold or not to their taste,”

There is nothing more disheartening and annoying than to make something not to someoneelse's taste?? Wow.
"

Consider the parallel world of coffee drinks. The macchiato is a drink that's been around since I don't know how long, and has always consisted of espresso with a dollop of foam on top.

Then Starbucks comes along and creates one of its frappucino-y mostly-milk drinks and christens it a "macchiato." Millions of people learn to associate the word with Starbucks' unique interpretation. Then they go into a neighborhood coffeeshop, order a macchiato, and are perplexed and dismayed at what they get. The barista is equally dismayed at the way the public's expectation for the drink has been changed.

Maybe in these cases the barista or bartender are taking themselves and their job too seriously. Maybe. But if I'm going out and ordering an adult beverage—which is going to be stupidly expensive considering the cost of labor and materials going into it no matter what—I think I prefer that.
posted by adamrice at 2:38 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, I have to pay outrageous bar mark-up and tip-toe around the pretention of the person being paid to provide me a drink?

After leaving the food service industry over 6 years ago, threads like this remind me of exactly why. Hearing people seemingly hate their customer base for expressing their own preferences is exactly why I realised I had to get the fuck out of there.

If I'm a respectful patron and willing to pay -- and tip, where appropriate -- then I have negative empathy for some pissy bartener / waiter / cook / whatever who feels I am required to submit to their determination of what I "really want" or "should order".

It's exactly shit like this that keeps me from ever wanting to eat / drink at other establishments, aside from using the exercise as an excuse to drink cheap beer and consume mounds of even cheaper wings.

I'm not seeking an oracle or divine truths; I want someone to honour my request and take my money. If I want an outside opinion on the matter, I'm a grown-up, I'll ask.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:55 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am all for people drinking what they want, and for bartenders serving people what they order and like, but I will tell you this: I am most in favor of all alcoholic drinks tasting at least something like alcohol.
I have been out far too many times for what was supposed to be a short happy hour meetup with people of either gender who have gotten girl drink drunk to the point of having to be cleaned up and helped home into bed because they could not manage themselves on whipped cran-tinis that night.
You are out drinking alcohol. This has its consequences when taken too far. Know it. Own it.
"But I don't like the taste." Own it.
posted by oflinkey at 2:59 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


i feel like when it comes to alcohol metafilter is, as with many topics, not part of the mainstream. especially for a US-centric site, i feel like there are way too many people here who turn up their noses at vodka martinis, shaken martinis, flavored martinis, the word martini, bartenders who don't know how to make drinks that haven't been popular since prohibition (resurgence of classic american cocktails notwithstanding), bars that serve drinks to people with bad taste, drinkers that don't know how to drink. we (in the US anyway) live in a country that thrives on miller lite, mcdonald's, walmart and reality tv. lots of people don't do things the way you'd do them. and still they manage to get by.

Sure. We're elitist snobs here sometimes and there's frankly nothing wrong with that in moderation, and there's a fair bit wrong with not expanding your view of the world beyond Miller Lite. If you've given a lot of beers a fair shot and, for whatever reason, Miller Lite just hits the spot for you sometimes, then I don't think any less of you as a person. If you can't be bothered to be adventurous enough to try Sierra Nevada or even a Corona sometime (let alone an awesome local microbrew), then I won't hate you or anything, but I will wonder how you're not more curious about the world around us.
posted by zachlipton at 3:01 PM on October 4, 2012


To Ron Swanson's (and any other partisans') assertion that clear liquor is for rich ladies on diets? Crawl into a bottle of slivovitz and see whether that changes your mind.

It's a bit fruity, a bit plucky, and generally a bit over-proof.
posted by mr. digits at 3:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


peeedro: "Don't be the guy to ask for an Irish car bomb at an Irish bar. People can be sensitive about making three decades of violence into a stunt drink. Try a baby Guinness instead."

Follow-up pro-tip: also ix-nay the Black and Tan. You're welcome.
posted by boo_radley at 3:06 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


While it is good to encourage people to get more adventurous and abandon uni drinking habits, this ultimately one of those things the Globe pumps out to help junior bankers and brokers with their classism. I mean, it's kind of cute that sometimes we proles read this stuff, it really is intended for them, and extra relevant because, well, those guys do get judged on what they drink because they drink on the job.
posted by mobunited at 3:10 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the Summer I'll often order a gin rickey and this usually requires me to provide the recipe

Matt Oneiros, you have excellent taste in booze. Nothing better than a gin rickey in the summertime--bright and refreshing, but not sweet. I spent at least one summer in Boston way back when dancing with fellow grad students and teaching lots of nightclub bartenders how to make them.

You're welcome.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 3:12 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Silvovitz.....my spine just shivered.
posted by real_paris at 3:36 PM on October 4, 2012


To Ron Swanson's (and any other partisans') assertion

to be clear, *i'm* not the partisan you were looking for, i'm just saying, i feel like all this fainting over gin/vodka martinis is usually an underhanded comment on someone's masculinity/maturity, and if we're playing that game, well why are you drinking your sissy drink because one person's sophisticated is another's pretentious, etc.

if i'm speaking for myself, ONE LOVE pretty much captures everyone and whatever your drinking habits may be.

slivovitz

wikipedia tells me it's plum brandy, so you had me at brandy first of all. secondly, i'm guessing it will not exhibit the flavorlessness and lack of depth of most vodka, which i feel like is part of that "rich women on diets" jab.

I will wonder how you're not more curious about the world around us

agreed. however, we're talking about a bartender taking their customer's drink order, so the interaction being as limited as it is, it's highly doubtful that the judger is thinking as far as you are. and not to pull a jonmc, but some people are just happy where they are and live their entire lives without wondering what's on the other side of that hill. as long as you behave yourself and don't become a bigoted xenophobe from your lack of experience and vote to keep gay people from getting married, i don't see what's wrong with that even while i won't bother asking you to try out a new restaurant with me.

in terms of snobbery, i think it's fun to "play" on metafilter, but taking it out into the real world and purposefully making someone's job harder (if you're a customer), or ruining someone's night when they're spending money that in part keeps you employed (if you're a bartender) is the wrong way to go.

and if you have such expansive taste, well, sharing with others and teaching others is way better a contribution than disdain. that road can go both ways with customers and bartenders but both people have to be open to it. which can be tricky when one person's drinking and the other's working.
posted by twist my arm at 3:42 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't be the guy to ask for an Irish car bomb at an Irish bar.

Unless you're in Dublin, what are the odds that there are actually real Irish people in an Oirish bar?

Best bit of the original article: talking about how much more classy classic mixes like Campari are, which is just a bit too Abigail's Party.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:48 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can assure you of two things, twist:

The first is that I addressed Ron Swanson because I assumed that you had posted it for amusement.

The second is that slivovitz is anything but flavorless. For the casual drinker I would suggest it as a curiosity -- don't spend too much or it might be tastier than 'tis intended, however -- and for the hard drinker I would suggest it to test their mettle.
posted by mr. digits at 3:52 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


in terms of snobbery, i think it's fun to "play" on metafilter, but taking it out into the real world

Yeah... A lot of things I quite like in principle have been ruined by the hipper than thou style fetishists, who turn something as fun and unpretentious as coctails (or another example, the resurgence of hats) into a snobbery contest as well as an exercise in conspicous consumption. The same with the people who think the zenith of craft beer are $35 bottles of limited edition uber hopped triple IPAs or whatever, rather than good, decent beers that people who'd normally drink industrial lagers might also like.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:53 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife and I received the sneering of a lifetime at l'Express in Montreal when the waiter came over to take our wine order. I told him I wanted a beer, my wife said she wasn't sure...and that was it for him. Someone else (politely and capably) waited our table for the rest of his night after he'd finished rolling his eyes and stormed off.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:26 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's as if this thread was about eating out and half the people are thinking McDonald's and the other half are thinking Per Se. Except we're using all using the one word, "restaurant".

It's really simple. If you want your drink to be bright green, but the bartender in front of you has a moustache from history or is wearing a waistcoat of some kind ABORT!

If you need me I'll be in the scotch thread
posted by danny the boy at 4:30 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


L'Express is a fancy place... Are you sure the guy wasn't just the sommelier?

At my local, the problem isn't the people with low-brow tastes. It's the opposite: the fuckers who order multi-ingredients, multi-processes drinks when there's 15 other people trying to get a beer from the one bartender. You're slowing us down, Mojito Girl! Tap, shots or drinks requiring 5 moves or less, please.
posted by Freyja at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2012


> If you need me I'll be in the scotch thread

I don't know anything about scotch, but the place where I got married has some expensive whiskeys and a few people got into them by the end of the night. I was told by a third party that one of our guests had this exchange with the bartender:

Friend: "I'd like a ________* on the rocks."
Bartender: "I can't do that."
Friend (drunk and confused): "What do you mean?"
Bartender: "I mean, I'll give you the ________ or I'll give you the ice, but I'm not giving you both."

* I don't know what he asked for, specifically
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:39 PM on October 4, 2012


> L'Express is a fancy place... Are you sure the guy wasn't just the sommelier?

Hm. Could have been. Neither of us are that experienced with fancy restaurants or the French language, so either or both might explain his reaction.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:43 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe someone should invent a drink called the Beppi Crosariol. At the very least it sounds like a kickass ingredient in a drink that someone should invent.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:43 PM on October 4, 2012


sambuca in a wine glass, a straw, and a long-handled lighter.

A flaming sambucha isn't that weird; try a flaming bob next time.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:46 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Either way you are asking a restaurant to serve you something that they can't or strongly prefer not to serve.

The difference is that restaurants won't necessarily have the stuff required to make what you want to make, and you're not placing the order with the person who actually knows what the kitchen can and can't make. You can't go into Ritzy Restaurant A and order any old Ritzy Food B even if the levels of ritziness are equivalent. Restaurants are so much more logistically constrained. It's not about snobbery.

Not at all the same as asking for something from the drink mixing person, who is right there in front of you, surrounded by all the ingredients they will need. If they refuse to make something for you which they could, but won't because it isn't part of their "vision"—that's a special level of assholery.
posted by fleacircus at 4:59 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Card Cheat: "I mean, I'll give you the ________ or I'll give you the ice, but I'm not giving you both."

My sister got me whiskey stones as a gift because she knows I like the sweet brown medicine. It was a really nice, thoughtful gift, that I'll never use.

Opinions vary, but my belief is that you only want a drink cold if it has unpleasant characteristics that you're trying to hide. A glass of the house white zin? Yeah as cold as you can get it. Something nicer? Cool, but never cold.

A little bit of water, on the other hand, can dramatically improve a scotch. Like really open up the flavors.

So basically whiskey stones are completely, totally wrong. Similarly, if I see someone drinking a really nice scotch on the rocks, I can only assume that they don't actually like the taste of scotch.
posted by danny the boy at 5:08 PM on October 4, 2012


So basically, in that context, the bartender was doing your friend a favor. He was clearly new to the stuff, and wanted to try the good stuff. If he had been served the good stuff with a bunch of ice in it, he would not have been able to taste it, and would have wasted the scotch and his money.

There are whiskeys the bartender would have happily poured over ice for him, I am certain.
posted by danny the boy at 5:14 PM on October 4, 2012


I don't have a dog in the Whiskey: Rocks Or Not? fight, but I suspect my friend was already too drunk for it to matter much one way or the other.

> Yeah as cold as you can get it.

This explains why Coors Light should only be served at -210 C, like liquid nitrogen.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:19 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suppose. I find warmish liquor other than Irish whiskey fucking gross.

Eh, people are snobs and snobbery can be fun but don't make people feel like assholes for ordering what they like.
posted by josher71 at 5:42 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


So basically whiskey stones are completely, totally wrong. Similarly, if I see someone drinking a really nice scotch on the rocks, I can only assume that they don't actually like the taste of scotch.

The thing about whisky stones (which I own and occasionally use) vs. ice is that the stones don't dilute your drink. Yes, a splash of water will open up some scotches and bring them to a whole new level, but ice dilutes it too much as it melts. And, yeah, if it is too cold, as ice tends to make it, you end up not really tasting the drink. But sometimes I like my whisky slightly cooled but not diluted. Whisky stones do the trick.

What gets me is that most restaurants seem to automatically serve scotch on the rocks (i.e., in a glass filled to the brim with ice) unless I ask them not to. I've taken to specifically ordering it neat, which is not a huge burden on me and ensures that I get what I want. Bars, on the other hand, generally don't add ice unless you request it. I wonder where the disconnect happened between the way bars serve whisky vs. the way that restaurants do.
posted by asnider at 6:20 PM on October 4, 2012


I am of the strong belief that whiskey on the rock is just fine. An ice cube. Maybe two. A bit of a chill and a bit of water is fine. A whole glass of ice is far too much, though.
posted by flaterik at 6:21 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


How about the bartenders make whatever the customer asks for but continues to judge them?
posted by BlueHorse at 6:24 PM on October 4, 2012


Whoops, hit post too soon.

Yeah, I'm paying for the drink, so make the damn thing already. And I like dairy in my drinks! Gimmie Bailey's in cream, Brandy Alexanders, White Russians, White Almonds--they're not hard to make and they're scrumptious.
(Plus I don't get a tummy ache from the booze.)
posted by BlueHorse at 6:29 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


single malt whiskey and ice -- there oughta be a law against it. blends - not such a big deal.

although it's entirely arguable some blends are superior to some single malts, but that's a different controversy
posted by philip-random at 6:45 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but the Lemon drop is a legitimate cocktail. It's not one that I care for much, I make a perfectly respectable one on request. And the no-dairy thing is baloney; the Brandy Alexander is a classic. Again, not something I make for myself, but I do not turn my nose up at somebody who asks for one.
posted by borges at 7:33 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


where the disconnect happened between the way bars serve whisky vs. the way that restaurants do

ignorance amongst the staff, most likely. as with any occupation, there will be a wide range of abilities, so while we would all like to be waited on by the career waiter types, every establishment has to compromise somewhere. with restaurants it's more important to have good table-side service as the focus is on getting customers through a meal. bars it's more important to keep drinkers happy. so you staff accordingly. beginner/intermediate bartenders/servers for restaurants, experienced bartenders for bars.

here is my point: alcohol can be really simple, but if you want to learn all the details, it takes time. even someone who gets drunk every week doesn't know all the lingo and all the brands and all the cocktails. so yes, as a concept, "neat" should be easy. but if you're training restaurant staff and they're 22 and never worked in a restaurant before? you'd start from the drink menu and expand from there. most servers probably won't be able to list off the top of their head all the vodkas, or gins, or scotches, or irish whiskeys, or single malts at their own establishment. so you memorize that. and along the way you learn double/single, tall/short, neat, rocks, highball, splash, dry, dirty, up, straight up, straight, twist. you learn the standard cocktails and shots off the menu so when a customer says a word, you'll realize hey that's a brand of vodka we don't carry, hey that's a shot we can make, hey this drink has 2 names, hey this drink has 3 common variations.

so basically it's a tossup whether that 22 year old learns about drinks that might need to be ordered "neat" before they meet you, scotch drinker, or they get fired or quit first. it is a flaky industry and there is not much upside to being in it, after all.

that being said, i'd be pretty surprised if this happened to you at a fancy restaurant with fancy expensive scotch menu. that should definitely be second nature if scotch is on the menu.
posted by twist my arm at 8:28 PM on October 4, 2012


I've only run into the bartender-says-no problem once here in DC. I asked for a hot toddy and - though I could see a hot water pot right behind the bar, and it was not busy - the bartender simply said "oh you don't want that. You want this [points to some flowery drink on the menu]." I ordered what they pointed to, and while it was good, but it wasn't what I came into the bar for. So I never went back. Problem solved.

There are a smattering of like places here where I can either get what I order or be told like an adult that they can't make it for whatever reason. I later was told that snooty bartenders were part of that place's appeal, and I can see how some folks might be into that (it's the kind of place that doesn't have a sign outside and makes a big deal about it), but it's just not for me.

Also, for those of you interested in the rickey - it's DC's official native cocktail, and July is Rickey Month, with competitions and everything. So, y'know, if you're thinking about a visit...
posted by troika at 8:30 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friend who tends bar once told me "the blender is always broken" -- i.e., he never ever wanted to make a drink that required a blender. Once I heard that, I noticed that "the blender is broken" in many bars I have visited where someone in my party ordered a pina colada or something similar.
posted by Mid at 9:39 PM on October 4, 2012


That article was just in time for my birthday tomorrow, where I intended to have a friend with an incredible bar make me a huge grasshopper. Now that I've heard how declasse they are, I think I'll double the amount.
posted by happyroach at 10:16 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


But did they tell you why you should never order these drinks? They're incredibly dangerous!

Exhibit A: Girl Drink Drunk.
posted by mazola at 11:39 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, a splash of water will open up some scotches and bring them to a whole new level, but ice dilutes it too much as it melts

Muji make a large silicon ice cube mold, specifically for having with whisky. The ice it makes takes a long time to melt. A place I was in recently basically used a scale model of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:21 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then Starbucks comes along and creates one of its frappucino-y mostly-milk drinks and christens it a "macchiato."

I had to learn this the hard way. What Starbucks sells is in fact a Latte Macchiato (in Germany this is the most common definition of "macchiato") -- i.e. milk which has been stained, blotted, or flecked with coffee. An Espresso Macchiato however, is an espresso which has been stained/blotted/flecked with milk. It is also infinitely better. But yeah, macchiato as a short form is actually ambiguous.
posted by molecicco at 1:42 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jagermeister: Not an acceptable substitute for vermouth.

Years and years ago I went to a bar in San Diego that didn't have a hard liquor license and yet they still made cocktails. How? By using soju instead of vodka. I really wish they were a little bit more snobby and just refused to make cocktails.

At first it was like, "Woooo, not baaaaad. I love you maaaaan." And then all of a sudden at around 1am, you know how people say, "It got pretty messy" to be funny?

It wasn't fun or funny at all.
posted by like_neon at 1:57 AM on October 5, 2012


I am of the strong belief that whiskey on the rock is just fine. An ice cube. Maybe two.

I do this at home -- one cube works great, and I actually like that I get a range of dilution as I drink. (Enough that when I finish I often say, "That was fun, let's do it again!")

I never thought of ordering "on a rock" at a bar, though. Definitely will try that next time.
posted by bjrubble at 5:59 AM on October 5, 2012


Me: Bourbon neat in the winter, on the rocks in summer. For a fun pick me up, 8 oz of ice water plus 2 TB bourbon. Makes the water taste good but doesn't make me sleepy or tipsy if I still need to get stuff done. The last time I ordered a cocktail was at a bistro in Durham. We went to brunch and I ordered a House Special Bloody Mary. It had clam juice in it-- it looked vile and tasted like unfiltered swamp water. I think bar tenders should warn you if something is going to have clam juice in it.

I worked in a bar in the early 80's in downtown LA. The cocktail thing hadn't happened yet, but we did serve margaritas. And we served strawberry margaritas made with this glop of strawberries in sugar syrup-- like the sort of stuff you would serve on top of ice cream. I used to despise the people who ordered strawberry margaritas. Secretly. After all, I was there for the tips, so I was good at hiding my feelings.

Then Midori was introduced and we started having Midori Tuesdays where I think all midori cocktails were half price. I can still taste the Midori like an old war wound.

What's interesting is that, much like perfume, I can have strong associations with certain drinks. Like when I was 19 and traveled in Europe-- I drank Campari, and once in awhile I will have a Campari and soda and remember that time in my life. The first time I ever had Bailey's Irish Cream was in The Magic Castle, and that is a fun memory to have. So my advice when you are having a new experience is to maybe order something new to drink so that you can recall those halcyon days of yore in the autumn of your life.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:24 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The casual use of “tini”: Those would be the last four letters in “dry martini,” not a general suffix.

Unless you prefer your martini to be wet, perfect, or a classic 50-50 ratio of gin to vermouth, snobby-pants. Pardon me for rejecting your flavorless modernity and actually enjoying the old-fashioned herbal taste of vermouth.

Not that I have anything against drinking straight gin. Quite the contrary.
posted by snottydick at 7:02 AM on October 5, 2012


You will pry my sugar-rimmed lemon drop out of my cold tipsy hands
posted by Wordwoman at 7:40 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


We went to brunch and I ordered a House Special Bloody Mary. It had clam juice in it--it looked vile and tasted like unfiltered swamp water. I think bar tenders should warn you if something is going to have clam juice in it.

It sounds like they gave you a Caesar, which is incredibly common in Canada, so much so that you can buy "clamato," which is premixed clam and tomato juice. It is delicious and requires no warning.
posted by asnider at 9:17 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The second is that slivovitz is anything but flavorless. For the casual drinker I would suggest it as a curiosity -- don't spend too much or it might be tastier than 'tis intended, however -- and for the hard drinker I would suggest it to test their mettle.

My brother-in-law, who hails from a community with strong Macedonian roots, introduced me to slivovitz, or "Slivo" as they affectionately nickname it. On one hand, lots of people outside of this community hate the stuff, and for good reason: the cheap stuff tastes like barely-flavored grain alcohol. On the other hand, I gave it an honest try since he likes it so much (and since he's a good guy with generally good tastes) and learned to like it pretty quickly. Small sips so you get a little flavor and a little alcoholic bite, much like whiskey. And it opened up a whole new world of liquors to me - if you like slivo, you'll probably like other liquors like kirschwasser.
posted by Tehhund at 9:51 AM on October 5, 2012


You’re thirsty for a cocktail, not the whole bar.

Let's avoid assumptions on just how thirsty I am, shall we...
posted by jalexei at 11:00 AM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]



It sounds like they gave you a Caesar, which is incredibly common in Canada, so much so that you can buy "clamato," which is premixed clam and tomato juice. It is delicious and requires no warning.


No, it definitely requires warning as some of us are deathly allergic to shellfish. I was served a Bloody Mary one time with clam juice in it. I'm grateful I could tell something was off without drinking it or it could have killed me.

Having said that, snooty ass bartenders, or drinkers, can really kiss my ass. I like vodka. I like girly drinks at times. I also like a good bourbon all by itself. It depends on my mood on what I want to drink that night and if it happens to be something sweet and pink, serve it to me, happily, as I tip way too much.

Life is too short to be snobby. Hell, when it is hot as hell here and I want some wine, once in a blue moon I'll buy a cheap ass bottle of white zinfandel and share it with a friend. There is nothing better than when it is 98 degrees at night, and humid as hell, than a glass of sweet ass white zin, on ice even, and a good friend to talk to while sitting on the porch listening to the crickets.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:24 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's funny...my experience is that most bartenders are the kind you find on "Bar Rescue"...in that they don't know how to make standard cocktails. I like Moscow Mules...but most bars don't even carry ginger beer. Sad.
posted by Kokopuff at 11:47 AM on October 5, 2012


I happen to love Clamato in my bloody marys and only make "Bloody Caesars" as a result. However, yes, they should warn people since, as noted above, people have shellfish allergies. Note, I don't like clams but love Clamato. YMMV
posted by josher71 at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2012


I never thought of ordering "on a rock" at a bar, though. Definitely will try that next time.

I'll only order it at a bar if they're not busy, because fishing out a single ice cube seems like a persnickity request, and when I do I just ask for "[whiskey of choice], with just one or two ice cubes?".

Actually asking for "a rock" seems like a good way to be misheard and/or hated.
posted by flaterik at 12:58 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is why I only drink at home.

Alone.
posted by briank at 1:07 PM on October 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


No, it definitely requires warning as some of us are deathly allergic to shellfish.

I assumed that the complaint in the original comment was about the unexpected taste, but you've got a very fair point regarding allergies, which is why the bar should have called the drink what is actually was -- a Caesar -- instead of vaguely referring to it as the "house special" version of a Bloody Mary.
posted by asnider at 1:57 PM on October 5, 2012


I like Moscow Mules...but most bars don't even carry ginger beer. Sad.

When I find a place with ginger beer stocked that place pretty quickly becomes my second home where my at-home job is to drink all of the dark-&-stormys.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:26 PM on October 15, 2012


Navelgazer, perhaps you would be interested in a Sexy Punch to the Face? Ridiculous name aside, it's gin, ginger beer, drambuie, and bitters and it is a perfect fall drink. There's probably has a better name, but that's the name it's under at the place I had several (Bad Decisions, Baltimore).
posted by troika at 5:34 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


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