Look, it happens to all of us. No matter how much you love exploring different kinds of cocktails, or how eccentric your palate is, you will never like every drink that’s served to you.
First, get over that feeling of disappointment. It’s totally unnecessary.
When you find yourself with a drink you don’t like, you’re faced with two major problems. First off, you probably just spent upwards of $8 on a drink you don’t want. And second, are you going to offend the bartender by pushing it away, or, dare I say it, sending it back? Fear not. A good bartender won’t leave you to drink something you don’t like, and definitely won’t be mad when you ask for something else. The key is all in the execution of doing that.
Let’s start with the don’ts.
Don’t spit out your drink. Don’t fling it in the bartender’s face. Don’t grimace. And definitely don’t go, “blech!”
Seems obvious enough, right? Now, the approach.
Amanda Schuster, editor-in-chief of Alcohol Professor, suggests putting your drink aside, and catching the eye of the bartender. An excellent bartender is an excellent people person, and in edition to checking in on you regularly will probably notice you’re not enjoying your drink.
Now, how to confirm to the bartender that you’re, in fact, not digging what you ordered.
Don’t say, “I don’t like this. Do I have to pay for it?”
Or even, “I don’t love this. Can I order something else?”
Because a cocktail you don’t like isn’t like a glass of wine that’s turned. Just because you don’t personally enjoy it doesn’t mean it’s objectively bad. It just means that flavor profile isn’t for you. So the best way to approach it is, “Thanks for making this. It’s totally what I ordered, but I’d actually like something (sweeter, less strong, more strong, etc.).”
But will you get a new drink? Definitely. And there’s a really good shot you won’t have to cough up for the cocktail that didn’t suit you.
Chaim Dauermann, head bartender at NYC’s The Up & Up, offers his insight, saying, “I don’t think anyone should be expected to suffer through a drink that’s not their cup of tea. I try my best to understand a person’s tastes before an order is put through, but you can’t always get it right. As long as someone politely grabs my attention, lets me know that it just isn’t their thing, and hasn’t consumed very much of their drink, I make a new one, bring it, and take away the old one.”
In other words, (like most things in life) don’t be a jerk, and you’ll be good to go.
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