The drinks you should never order at a bar, according to bartenders

Chelsea Ritschel

While cocktail trends come and go, some classics never go out of style - but some bartenders would prefer it if they did.

If you’ve ever ordered a drink at a bar and sworn the bartender was judging you on your choice, they probably were.

We reached out to some of the top bartending experts in New York City - and it turns out there are certain drinks bartenders would prefer you never, ever order.

The number one most-hated drink? Mojitos.


So if you are fond of the traditional Cuban cocktail made with white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint, you may be better off learning how to make it yourself.

According to Rob Del Giorno, the bartending expert at bartending school 1-800-Bartend, mojitos are one of the worst drinks to order at a bar. But Del Giorno doesn’t blame the customers who enjoy the minty refreshing cocktail - he blames other bartenders.

Just say no to mojitos

When you think about mojitos, you usually picture them with muddled mint leaves smashed at the bottom of a highball glass. According to Del Giorno, this method is completely wrong, but most bartenders just don’t know any better.

'Spanking mint' is better than muddling

“As soon as you order a mojito, most bartenders take a muddler out and start stomping these mint leaves.”

Not only is this the incorrect way to release mint flavour - you’re actually supposed to “spank the mint” - muddling mint means “girls with mint stuck in their teeth for the next three hours.”

Howard, the bartending expert at American Bartenders School, echoed the no-go sentiment on mojitos, “someone ordering a mojito at a high-volume dive bar might just get killed,” but also included any drinks that require multiple steps like piña coladas, which are “a pain in the butt.”

Many bartenders hate making blended drinks

As for the second worst drink to order, the answer was quite surprising.

Comprised of just two ingredients - gin and vermouth - martinis are the simplest drink, but they are usually only ordered by very specific drinkers so they become the toughest drink to make.

This means that in order for a bartender to please a martini drinker, “you have to be able to read what people want,” he said, because despite having just two ingredients, there are multiple martini variations, “including dry, extra dry, dirty, etc. And then there are those who ask for vodka.”

Dry, extra dry, or dirty?

But the one martini variation you should not ask for? “They better not be shaken.”

Why, you may ask?

“Vermouth is a grape-based product, and shaking ends up bruising the vermouth. A true martini drinker will know that,” Howard says.

Additional drink requests that may garner you an eye-roll are “any drinks with ingredients like cream or tequila because the flavours stick to the mixing glass and have to be washed,” and “boring drinks like vodka cranberries because they are just so dull and there are so many other things you could order.”

One last word of advice is to be aware of your surroundings - and order accordingly.

Both experts agreed that the worst thing to order is something out of place.

For Del Giorno, this means “no Bud Light at a microbrewery and no egg yolks in a gin fizz if you’re just hanging out at a regular neighbourhood hangout.”

And according to Howard, “what is appropriate to order at a mixology bar - where the bartender is prepared to create an intricate cocktail - is much different than what you would order at a frat bar, where you should keep it simple.”