10 Bartenders Tell Us The Drinks They Hate To Make

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by Christopher Osburn

Photo: Halbergman [Getty Images]

Bartending is a fun and exciting job. You get to meet and interact with new people daily. Also, for those who enjoy people watching, there are few better jobs than bartending. Every single day you’re sure to view a veritable cornucopia of characters sidling up to the bar. But, it’s not all people watching. Bartending is a very creative, artistic profession.

Bartenders get to mix up classic cocktails, create their own recipes, and make people’s day with their liquid creations. But, not everything about being a bartender is fun and exciting. They work long hours, stay up way later than many of us would prefer to be awake, and sometimes interact with unruly, rude, and drunk bar patrons. On top of all of that, there are many cocktails they just don’t really enjoy making. What are they? To get that answer, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their least favorite cocktails to make.

“There are some drinks that I cringe to make because I believe the guest is missing out on 99% of better drinks out there. Maybe they tried it once and never moved on? The main drink I do not like is the Long Island. It’s an easy pour, so that’s not the issue. I just feel that mixing five liquors together with Coke, lemon, and sugar makes little sense. It’s hard on your stomach, and I can’t really find a reason to ever mix five different categories of booze.” – Tara Shadzi, bartender at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood, California.

“Least favorite cocktail to make is that one cocktail you had at that one place one time that doesn’t exist anywhere else but that bar,” – Jeff Donahue, partner at Leisure Activities in Chicago

“Cocktails with cream are our least favorite, simply because they need extra attention and cleaning time… and while they can be delicious, they can really disrupt the flow on a busy night,” – Christy Pope, co-owner of Midnight Rambler in Dallas

“The vodka soda isn’t as fun to make because it’s rather uninspired, but with that said, my goal is to always give the guests what they want! There’s also those cocktails that are totally delicious but take a long time to produce. Those are usually the ‘beasts’ we create and fall in love with, but then get a little backed up because of it — regardless, they are perfectly prepared and always worth it,” – David Bouchard, beverage director at THE REGIONAL Kitchen & Public House in Downtown West Palm Beach

“The cocktail I find to be less favorable is the classic Old Fashioned. Since sugar is added to the whiskey, it’s not the best option for a whiskey lover as it modifies and removes properties of the distillate,” – Samyra Alves Azevedo, mixologist at Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

My least favorite cocktails to make would have to be anything blended, for example a Pina Colada or Strawberry Daiquiri.  Unless your bar is equipped with a high quality, professional blender, I think anyone might agree.  It can be very time consuming to have to run back to a kitchen anytime someone orders one and once you make one, you’ll be making them all night long.” – James Urycki, mixologist at Travelle Kitchen + Bar in Chicago

“I’ve never liked it when customers have asked to make cocktails from another bar. Often times I don’t have the proper ingredients and I’d rather be given the opportunity to make one of our own creations.” – Will Benedetto Cocktail Curator at In Good Company Hospitality in New York City

 

“I feel that as bartenders it’s our job to make whatever we can to enhance your evening’s experience, including cocktails we may not fully get behind. But, that being said, I don’t recommend going to a cocktail bar and ordering something like a “Dirty Shirley” (which has happened to me). Lines need to be drawn somewhere, and that was a request I just could not in good conscience agree to fulfill. It just would have been embarrassing for both parties involved.” – Nick Digiovanni, beverage director at Público in St. Louis

“There’s really nothing that I can’t stand making. What does get under my skin however, is when a group orders the same cocktail but asks for it slightly different each time. ‘This one looks good, can I just get it with tequila?’, ‘Ooh! Me too, but with gin instead?’, ‘I like the tequila, but can I get mine without mint?’ Naturally, the answer is yes. Yes to everyone, but I just need a second to think this through. Being so similar with a slight difference gets a little complicated if you’re making a bunch at the same time.” – Mikey Diehl Beverage Director at Drexler’s in New York City

“A classic stirred cocktail with a request of ‘shaken’. Example: ‘I’ll take a manhattan, shaken.’Cocktails with salt/sugar rims. Logistically it is annoying. Something fruity, but not too sweet… and not too boozy…and not too bitter. – So you want a sprite?” – Tim Wiggins, beverage director at Yellowbelly in St. Louis

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