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What Your Drink Order Says About You According To A Bartender

If you order these, we (bartenders) may make some assumptions.

Georgia Contributing Writer
Maeve behind the bar. Right: Maeve drinking red wine.

Maeve behind the bar. Right: Maeve drinking red wine.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I've worked in the service industry for nearly a decade and have spent years servings, working in kitchens, and bartending.

During my tenure working in food and beverage, I’ve learned some valuable life lessons, like things you should never do while eating at a restaurant and drinks you shouldn't order while going to a bar.

You also pick up on some stereotypes that often prove themselves to be true, based on what a patron is ordering while out and about.

Here are seven common drink orders and what they say about you, according to a bartender who has worked in restaurants for nine years.

Dirty Shirley

A Dirty Shirley is an adult twist on the classic non-alcoholic cocktail popular with children. To make one, you mix grenadine with either Sprite or ginger ale, add a shot of vodka, and top it with a cherry.

Dirty Shirleys are overwhelmingly sugary. If you order this drink, I will be looking at your ID extra hard. I'll assume that you either just started drinking or you never really grew up enough to become accustomed to the taste of alcohol.

Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea beverage is notorious for having high alcohol content. It is a mix of tequila, gin, vodka, rum, and triple sec with just a splash of lemon juice and Coke, which means this drink is comprised almost entirely of liquor.

If you order this, I assume you're trying to get drunk for cheap and may not tip well at the end of the night.

Shot of Fernet Branca

Fernet Branca is an Italian brand of bitter amaro and is also sometimes known as "the bartender's handshake."

If you order a shot of Fernet, I'll assume you're a service industry veteran. Sometimes, ordering a shot of Fernet is a great way to strike up a conversation with whoever is working behind the bar, and the bartender could possibly take a shot with you.

Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is a timeless, no-fuss cocktail. It's a mix of rye or bourbon, Demerara syrup, and bitters stirred and served with cherries and an orange peel swath.

It's smooth, spirit-forward, and makes for a good slow-sipping cocktail. An old-fashioned is honestly a classy order. They're easy to make and fairly straightforward.

Spicy Margarita

Ordering a spicy margarita tells me that you're either a bachelorette on vacation or that you're an independent and adventurous type that's looking to let loose for the night.

If you order this during an office outing, you're probably the fun coworker.

Espresso Martini

Ordering an Espresso Martini says, maybe, you're a little bit needy, but you have good taste. While making these can be a tad annoying, they're objectively delicious.

The mix of bitter espresso with coffee liqueur, simple syrup, and vodka makes for a smooth, slightly sweet, and balanced pick-me-up. The frothy foam on top is a bonus to the drinking experience.

Cheap Beer

The bar I work at intentionally lists local beers, so one thing I have learned is people are very passionate about their preferred cheap beer.

When I have to explain that we don't serve Bud Light, Natural Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, or PBR, I brace myself for the backlash that usually follows.

Sometimes, people order these out of convenience, but if you're dead set on drinking your favorite brand and won't try anything else, I'll assume you're afraid to try new things and may yell at me when I tell you we don't have TVs where you can watch your favorite sports game.

    Maeve Browne
    Georgia Contributing Writer
    Maeve Browne is a Contributing Writer for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on food and Internet trends and is based in Savannah, Georgia.
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