Here at VinePair, we love getting you the inside scoop. In a profession like bartending, your average drink slinger is undoubtedly going to be opinionated about certain matters of the craft — and we’re dying to find out what’s going on behind that smile. Welcome to our Ask a Bartender Series, which picks apart what goes on inside the brains behind the booze.
To launch our series, we asked ten bartenders: What is the most overrated drink?
“I’d have to go with the Piña Colada. Delightful when made correctly and served frozen, of course. However, at the end of the day, how many can you really have? Not a bad cocktail. Frankly not the most balanced, either.” – Ray Sakover, Slowly Shirley
“Oh, man, this is a tough one because most drinks have their time and place. I’m going to say the Ramos Gin Fizz because people only really order it because it’s a pain in the ass to make, and not because it’s some incredible drink. I’d much rather have a perfect Pink Lady cocktail.” – Tonia Guffey, Dram
“It’s a bit of a shame that this one is first as I’m afraid I may lose some of you right off the bat, but the most overrated drink in any bar anywhere is… wait for it… your favorite brand of vodka. That’s right. I said it. Unless you’re drinking it neat, you can’t tell the difference. I promise. This may disrupt some relationships that I have with purveyors and brand reps, but it’s a proven statement. Everything from ‘Ketel One gives me a headache’ to ‘why don’t you carry Double Cross anymore’ are serious eye-rollers for me. It is my belief that if you are going to add so much as ice and a lime to your vodka, they are simply interchangeable.” – Tommy Warren, Bedford & Co.
“Just because a drink is in an old cocktail book — or from the 1970s — doesn’t mean it’s good. Lots of bartenders are bringing back cocktails from decades past, but do you really need an ‘elevated’ Harvey Wallbanger?” – John McCarthy, Greydon House
“In my opinion the most overrated drink is the Mojito. It’s typically made in a very lazy fashion because it requires building the drink into a glass and no shaking or storing. A lot of bartenders just dump a bunch of mint, rum, sour mix and club soda into a Collins. When made correctly and with care, this drink can be delicious.” – Cody Goldstein, NYLO Hotel
“Fernet Branca & Coca-Cola. So pretentious. Hipsters love to order it so that they can say that they drink Fernet Branca. But you have them try Fernet on its own and they throw up in their mouths.” – Warren Bayani, Chao Chao
“I don’t think anything is overrated if someone truly loves it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that. There are things I’m not personally a fan of that some people really love… but I’m sure the reverse is true as well.” – Lana Gailani, Seamstress, Holiday Cocktail Lounge
“I can’t say I can think of any overrated drinks offhand. If a cocktail is made well, then it should be ordered as often as possible.” – Joy Richard, Bar Mash
“Dirty Martini. It’s kind of yuck!” – Gina Chersevani, Buffalo & Bergen at Union Market
“At the risk of sounding diplomatic, I don’t think there is one. Drinks come and go popularity-wise, thank goodness. What was popular in the ’90s, isn’t popular now, and so on and so forth. I think it’s easier to mark something overrated purely because it gets ordered more than anything else, like Old Fashioneds at the moment. However, made right, it always will be a cracking drink.” – Jacob Ryan, Four Pillars Brand Ambassador