- Sam Rega
- Bartenders can tell a lot about a person based on his or her drink order. Some drinks scream boring idiot, while others make you look polished and knowledgeable. Several bartenders shared what specific drink orders indicate to them about a person.
Bartending isn’t just about mixing cocktails and serving up beers.
Perhaps one of the most social jobs out there, bartending requires constant contact with others and a great deal of social perceptiveness.
So when you’re a bartender you come to understand quite a few things about human nature and behavior, and you have some go-to tools that help.
“You can tell what type of person someone is by their drink order in specific bars,” Anjali Sharma, a former bartender with eight years of experience from Atlanta, told Business Insider.
For example, “if you’re in a bar with tons of other people and it’s loud and you order something complicated, you clearly don’t value people’s time,” she said. “How you react to the bar being out of your ‘usual’ is also very indicative of your personality,” she said.
Rebecka, a bartender with 10 years of experience in New York and Glasgow, Scotland, told Business Insider that someone’s drink order could also indicate that they have no idea where they are and what’s possible to be made in a certain bar.
Other things bartenders said they could pick up on based on a drink order include whether the person is underage, has no clue about mixology – “which is fine but disappointing because there are so many great cocktails out there!” an anonymous bartender said – is boring, wants to use money to impress people, knows his or her alcohol, or is looking for a cheap buzz.
Business Insider surveyed more than 30 bartenders on what they think about your drink of choice. Here’s what they had to say:
Shots are often a bad sign to bartenders
- Reuters/Vasily Fedosenkoi
“When you go for shots, I think ‘trouble,'” a bartender in New York with eight years of experience told Business Insider.
Or, as another bartender in the US Virgin Islands put it, “Shots equal jacka– juice.”
Ordering expensive shots in particular makes you look foolish
- Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Patron
“Some people will buy loads of expensive shots when out in groups,” a bartender from Ireland with 12 years of experience told Business Insider. “They’re trying to look flash.”
But for all your attempts to look cool, bartenders say you just wind up looking the fool.
“You look stupid when you order expensive shots,” a former bartender from New York with 10 years of experience told Business Insider. “The whole point is to get it down quickly – you’re not enjoying the quality.”
Overly sweet shots don’t make you look great either
- Heidi’s Bier Bar Odense/ Youtube
“Shots of Chartreuse, Jager, Goldschlager, or Fireball are abhorrently sweet and low on alcohol and tell me that you are a hipster who has no clue what you are doing,” Jennifer Sun, a bartender with five years of experience in New Haven, Connecticut, told Business Insider.
And shots of absinthe may be the worst offender of all
“If you order shots of absinthe, then I figure you’re insane and a cheapskate drunkard,” Sun said.
If you order vodka drinks, you look boring or troublesome — or both
- Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
“Friends don’t let friends date vodka soda girls. Basic girls always order them,” Kyle Siegel, a bartender with nine years of experience in Montauk, New York, New York City, Palm Beach and West Palm, Florida, and Maryland told Business Insider.
“Please don’t order vodka,” Emily Doyle, a bartender with 12 years of experience in Ireland told Business Insider. “You’re nice when you stick with beer, but a demon on spirits.”
Rum drinks don’t look great either
- YouTube/Party Rock Records
If you order rum, bartender Kim Meyer told Business Insider you’ll look like a “frat boy.”
Nothing good can come of ordering a Long Island iced tea
Ordering a Long Island iced tea makes you “ignorant trash” in Meyer’s eyes.
“If you order a Long Island Iced Tea, I know you are new to the bar scene and/or you are cheap and want to get sloppy drunk,” Sun said.
Dry martinis make you look old
“If a guy is going to a nightclub for young people and orders a dry martini, this guy is in the wrong place,” Rodrigo Grudina, a bartender with eight years of experience in Curitiba, Brazil, told Business Insider.
Tequila screams ‘PARTAY!’
- Getty Images
“Ordering a lot of tequila often gives the impression that you’re trying to have a wild night,” Elena Alvarez, a bartender with two years of experience at the University of Iowa told Business Insider.
People who drink moscato probably don’t really like alcohol
- Flickr / Leonid Mamchenkov
“If they are drinking moscato, they don’t like the taste of alcohol and just want to taste sugar,” Christine, a bartender with two years of experience in Washington, DC, and New York, told Business Insider.
And only anachronisms order apple martinis
“Apple martini? No, this isn’t 1995. Stop it,” Christine said.
In fact, any overly sweet drink will elicit the ire of your bartender
“Anything overly juicy or sugary is a sign of immaturity,” Amy, a bartender with four years of experience in New York told Business Insider.
Especially if you mix it with expensive liquor
- Sarah Jacobs
“If you order premium alcohol mixed with something sweet, then I know you just want to impress somebody but you are not all that cultured,” Sun said.
If you want to score big points with your bartender, order a scotch or bourbon — properly
“Ordering scotch or bourbon properly depending on the flavor profile says you know what you’re doing and what you like,” Danielle, a bartender from Seattle told Business Insider. “I really like when someone orders something with confidence rather than ordering something to look cool because they know the name of it.”
As for beer-drinkers, bartenders didn’t have anything bad to say at all
- Reuters/Yves Herman
Ordering beer tends to make bartenders’ lives easier, since it’s so quick and easy to serve, so these drinkers rank highly in bartenders’ estimations. If anything, bartenders said that ordering a beer makes you look “chill.”