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7 Ways a Bartender Can Tell You’re a Rookie Drinker

by Melissa Allen Jul 23, 2019

We all have to start somewhere — for some that means Malibu and pineapple juice, and for others, it’s shots of Fireball. From mispronouncing common wine varietals to being unable to answer simple follow-up questions, here are seven ways bartenders can tell you’re a rookie drinker.

1. Ordering a Long Island Iced Tea

Nothing says “show me the quickest route to drunk” quite like a Long Island. They’re easy to make and usually pricier than a simple mixed drink, so bartenders never mind the drink order. However, we may shake our heads just a little as we pour your drink. Mostly, though, we’re just reliving memories of our own youthful mistakes after one too many.

2. And ordering chilled shots

The chilled shot order indicates that you’re not a total rookie, but you’re definitely still in the minor leagues. Chilled Goose shots, for example, is how that frat bro impresses you at a party after midterms. It’s a drink order that may have seemed classy when you were 20, but once you hit legal drinking age, you realize the chilled shot is more Jersey Shore than Real Housewives.

3. Mispronouncing common wine varietals

Côtes du Rhône or Coats duh Rooney? There are certain spirits or wines that even bartenders struggle to pronounce (Laphroaig, for example). But your common wines, your Sancerres and Pinot Noirs, should be familiar to all but the total novice. Don’t fret if you mispronounce a drink though — we might correct you, but there’s no malice behind it.

4. Splitting one round on four credit cards

Pro drinkers know that you take turns buying rounds. If you’re racking up a large bar tab, by all means, split on multiple cards. But if you’re bar hopping for the night, take turns picking up the tab. It will all even out in the end, and it makes everyone’s life easier — including the bartender’s.

5. Being unable to answer a follow-up question

If you’re going to order a Martini, don’t look confused when a bartender asks if you want gin or vodka. If you’re not much of a drinker, just pick one option and test it out. Trial and error is the only way to develop your palate.

6. Asking for the sweetest cocktail

If you don’t want it to taste like alcohol, we know you haven’t developed a taste for alcohol yet. It’s up to you whether or not you want to train your tongue to appreciate the taste of beer, wine, and straight spirits. If you do, ask the bartender for a recommendation.

7. Not knowing your limits

Sometimes even professional drinkers get caught off guard, but the freefall from sober to sloppy drunk is usually the stuff of rookies. If you’re getting cut off or kicked out from a bar, it’s for a reason.

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