In the third installment of our Ask a Bartender series, we’re talking go-to cocktails that are downright played-out. We asked 10 bartenders across the country which drinks are the most over-ordered and why. Don’t worry if yours is on the list; we’re firm believers in sticking to your guns and drinking what you love. But we’re even bigger proponents of testing new waters (liquors, in this case?) and tasting something new.
Here are the 10 drinks bartenders wish you’d stop ordering.
“A Vodka and Soda. No flavor on top of no flavor on top of frozen no flavor. Also on that list is an Old Fashioned. A fantastic cocktail when made properly. This drink has come back into fashion thanks to shows like ‘Mad Men’ and the reintroduction of the classic cocktail movement.” — Cody Goldstein, NYLO
“Moscow Mules are perfectly fine, but boring. Even if made with fresh ingredients, like homemade ginger beer or syrup, it’s still a dressed up vodka-soda-with-extra-limes. Let me make you an interesting gimlet variation instead!” — Meghan Kelleher, Distilled, NY
“Vodka soda. Don’t get me wrong, this is my all-time favorite thing to hear come out of anyone’s lips, especially when it’s busy. The thing that makes it kind of a drag fundamentally is that it is so devoid of imagination. I get it. You work out (how often is between you and the man upstairs). But just a reminder, YOU’RE DRINKING! Have what you want.” — Tommy Warren, Bedford & Co
“I’ll say a vodka soda, but only because people often order this when they’re afraid to try something new, or they’re not educated enough to make the right choice for themselves. If you really want a clean, crisp, simple vodka soda, then that’s cool, but I think the vodka soda is the most over-ordered cocktail among people who could be enjoying something else, too.” — Lana Gailani, Seamstress and Holiday Cocktail Lounge
“Vodka Tonics!! Vodka Sodas” — Gina Chersevani, Buffalo & Bergen at Union Market
“Anything with a soda; Seltzer, Coke, Sprite, Red Bull <~~~(blech!!!) You’re gonna wind up drinking the cocktail that will give you the worst hangover and feel bloated at the same time. Just order a beer.” — Warren Bayani, Chao Chao
“I get tons of people ordering ‘Vodka Water’ these days, but I wouldn’t say that this could ever be over-ordered. I’ll make those all day long if that’s what you want to drink!” — Joy Richard, Bar Mash
“Did I mention my friend the Old Fashioned before? Drink popularity comes in waves, like music, fashion, food, art etc. Back in Australia it used to be the Mojito, which is a great drink, but every dag and his dog would hack and gag through that word trying to call on their questionable ancestry or brief holiday to somewhere vaguely Latin.” — Jacob Ryan, Four Pillars Brand Ambassador
“Dirty Vodka Martini and the Moscow Mule.” — Ray Sakover, Slowly Shirley
“If a drink is getting ordered a lot, it probably is for good reason. I think ones that get the most play at my bar are the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, and the Negroni, and those are very respectable cocktails to ask for. I wouldn’t consider them over-ordered. People see things on menus that definitely you know are going to fly, for example, if you put cucumber, ginger, or mint into a drink, it’s probably going to move pretty fast. We call those panty dropper drinks. A lot of times those drinks can be made inexpensively and they help to balance out the cost of maybe a more unique or sophisticated drink on the menu. There are also certain brands that have done a really good job marketing themselves, so much so that no one ever orders any other call brands in that category. I tend not to keep those brands in the bar because I like to help introduce people to less mainstream brands, and show people products that feel special and tell a story.” — Tonia Guffey, Dram Bar