Bartender Lists All The Things To Stop Doing When Ordering Drinks Because They Make You Look Foolish

bartender pouring bourbon drink

iStockphoto / MaximFesenko

Want to learn to play the guitar? Hire a teacher. Aspirations of being an artist? Take classes.

Tired of looking clueless every time you belly up to the bar? Befriend a bartender. You’ll get a ton of insight along with some insane stories.

If you don’t have a barkeep in your inner circle, scout one out and get the basics of drink ordering.

Business Insider spoke to bartender Emma Witman about the 16 things you should think twice about ordering at a bar.

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 a few of my favorite suggestions that people should take incredibly seriously.

1. Stop ordering a filthy martini with a top-shelf spirit

Witman explains:

“If I gave you a blind tasting of two filthy martinis, one with Grey Goose, one with the well vodka, I highly doubt you would be able to tell which was which. At least not in a meaningful way.”

The barkeep continues “The same principle applies with any mixed drink. Even if it’s a more refined cocktail, like an Old Fashioned.”

Why waste more money and perfectly good booze that can stand on its own?

2. Asking for a “shaken” martini 

Keep the double agent antics at home.

“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.”

3. Forgetting where you’re drinking

This is a combination of two tips from Witman into one broader suggestion.

Don’t order something fancy in a dive bar and never order a trashy drink in a classy establishment.

“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.”

I’m going to take that advice a step further and say “never, ever order a slippery nipple.” Ever.

4. Telling the bartender to “make whatever you want”

This pisses me off, and I’m not even a bartender (anymore), and it happened numerous times while working part-time in a bakery.

Telling any service industry person “bring me whatever” makes our job harder. People would come into the bakery and order a dozen assorted pastries, leaving the choices to me.

Here’s the problem – there are countless options and I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT YOU OR THE OTHER PEOPLE EATING THE FOOD.

The same goes for your friendly bartender. He or she doesn’t know vodka makes you vomit or that tequila makes your clothes fall off.

“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. Here’s a trade secret from me to you: We have a favorite drink to make. It’s called a neat pour of anything.”

If you’re not sure what to drink, pick something you know you’ll like no matter.

5. Ordering ice in your wine

What? Go home. Seriously. Go home.

Witman’s suggestions include never ordering a Diet Coke with rum, never substituting vodka for an already created drink on the menu, refraining from requesting some obscure garnish, ignoring a bartender’s suggestion on drink ideas, randomly adding eggs to drinks that don’t call for eggs and ordering in fingers.

Order in fingers and you’ll likely get only one finger back when you’re not looking.

[via Business Insider]


Chris Illuminati is a 5-time published author and recovering a**hole who writes about success, fitness, parenting and occasionally pro wrestling. Reach out to him on Instagram & Twitter or email

Chris Illuminati avatar
Chris Illuminati is a 5-time published author and recovering a**hole who writes about running, parenting, and professional wrestling.