For anyone who regularly bellies up to the bar, there are a number of interactions you might have with a bartender. At baseline, you’re going to order a drink. This can be something standard, like a Gin & Tonic or a Manhattan, or something from a menu. If the bar isn’t too busy, you might have a casual conversation. And if you go there often, it might be even friendlier than that. But is it rude to ask for their recipe for a specific cocktail? I’d say it depends on a few things. First being what the drink is. Are you asking for their house spec on a Martini? Or a detailed recipe for a proprietary signature cocktail? For someone who spends time creating drinks for a bar program, I might understand some reluctance in sharing precise specs with any patron who walks in. Second, what do you want it for? Are you an avid amateur bartender and would like to recreate it at home? Or are you a TikTok influencer who wants to share it with your audience of 300,000 followers? Not every bartender necessarily wants their work of art to become a social media sensation. Last, how friendly are you with the bartender? Have you been going to the bar for a few years? A few months? First time in? I think a certain level of familiarity might make a bartender more receptive to such a request, especially if it’s correctly taken as flattery. (I’ll assume you want the recipe for personal use and not because you want to highlight it as the signature cocktail at the new bar you’re planning to open.) So make sure you communicate this and let them know your intentions are good. And if you do get the recipe and make the drink at home, let them know how it went next time you’re in.
*Image retrieved from Jacob Lund via stock.adobe.com