The Assumptions Bartenders Make About You Based Off Your Drink Order

bartender drink order

For the last seven years, I’ve supplemented my income as a bartender. Despite having a full-time job in publishing, I don’t see myself tossing in the towel anytime soon. The cash is too easy, I get to wear hoop earrings, and it’s the safest way to judge drunk people. I’ll continue until I’m too old and ugly to work in the service industry, which gives me about another five years.

When you order a drink, I judge you. Here is a list of common personality traits and characteristics I’ve observed based off of drink orders:

Stella: You are foreign.. or are trying to appear to be.

Heineken: You are black.. or are trying to appear to be.

Malibu & Coke: You vomit easily.

Vodka Cran: You don’t know what you want in life, or at this bar. [tagbox tag="cocktail"]

Patron: Danger. I am adding gratuity to your check.

Margarita: Anyone who drinks sour mix from a spray gun is an amateur, or underage.

Gin & Tonic: $$$

Vodka & Tonic: We could be friends.

Long Island Ice Tea: You just broke up with your boyfriend and have chosen tonight as the night you will “move on”.

Foreign Beer: You are on a 2nd or 3rd date, trying to impress the girl with your cultured taste for Turkish pilsner.

Cosmo: For the love of God, hurry up and finish the 6th season of Sex & The City.

Red Bull & Vodka: You are an asshole.

Pinot Grigio: You are approaching menopause faster than you think.

Pinot Noir: You don’t really go to bars.

Moscato: You listen to too much rap.

Gran Marnier: What are you doing here?

Scotch: You will probably tip me well and tell me I remind you of your daughter after you check out my bum.

Vodka Martini: You had a serious day at work, or you are a functional alcoholic.

Whiskey: You are cool. If you try to get my number I won’t act too offended.

Bud Light: You are driving.

Budweiser: You are driving drunk.


Kristen is a [Ed note: really funny] Boston-area writer. This post originally appeared on Kristen’s blog, Are You Wearing My Pants.

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    • Sanka Koffie

      Your observations are astute however, is your postulation based on the aggregate observations at multiple establishments or just a sample population of one douchey bar? Either way, Noted. I appreciate your honesty and I will forever drink single malt whiskey from now on.

      And there should be a rule against serving malibu and coke. I mean, whats the point. You are better off pretending you are a 16 year old pretending to drink.

      Thumbs Up

      • Kristen H.

        Thank you. I’ve worked at 3 bars since I’ve started bartending, all very different but great in their own way, so we can just blame my opinions on my judgmental nature.

        And agreed about the Malibu & Coke. I can smell it now.. horrible. Stick with the whiskey.

    • b3v

      oh boy did I laugh at your Vodka Cran and Pinot Noir ones…I don’t really go to bars and usually drink pinot noir, but when I’m somewhere I reaaallly can’t order it, I’ll settle on a Vodka Cran because I don’t know what else to get.

      • Fabel

        Same here, I’m a wino who defaults to vodka-cran at bars so I feel like “You don’t know what you want in life, or at this bar” is laughably accurate

    • Starofthemag

      Gin and Coke : You are an asshole with no sense of taste or smell.

      True story.

      • Somnilee

        Ugh! I hadn’t even contemplated that as a combination (clearly, I have a sense of taste and smell)

    • Ella

      So is whiskey and coke ok or does it have to be straight? Hah.

    • Will A

      haha whiskey it is! i like to pretend im a man with bourbon.

    • betty betz

      Totally disagree with most of these. Been bartending for 15 years.

      • Chris A.

        Totally agree with most of these. Been bartending for 1 year.

    • Rebekah Mae

      Wait wait. Is ordering an apple Martini or screwdriver the same as ordering a “vodka Martini” or “Vodka cran” ? lmao

    • Lady Badger

      Would a sex on the beach fall in the same category as a Malibu and coke? I feel they’re on equal levels of gross/not real alcohol.

      Rebekah Mae: screwdrivers are only for breakfast. When mimosas or bloody marys aren’t available. ;)

    • am

      I have come to similar conclusions in the UK. Some more:

      Vodka + lemonade/coke – you are a student and your no.1 goal of the night is to provide me with vomit to clean up later.

      Archers + lemonade – see Malibu + Coke.

      Jagerbomb – you are a total sucker and you think ‘bombing’ makes it so cool it’s worth paying double the price of a regular drink.

      Rosé – you are don’t like wine, but you want to look sophisticated in front of your date. Plus, it matches your dress.

      Shandy – you’re driving, and yet the idea of not drinking is so horrific that you need to fool yourself into thinking you’re drinking a whole beer into which a mischievous friend has dumped a pound sugar.

      • Kristen H.

        Love this. Maybe The Gloss should run a global edition of this post.

      • Lainey


    • Heather

      hey – I was a bartender/server for years and can still get quite comfortable in a bar stool. That said…I drink pinot noir. A lot of it, lol. I can’t drink Merlot anymore, it gives me a headache. Cabs can be too dry. I used to drink Chardonnay, but at one point went on “the Mediterranean diet” where they stressed RED wine…hence pinot noir.

      I think the local bartenders would disagree that I don’t go to bars a lot ;)

    • Steve E. King

      Most whiskey drinkers know their way around a bar, ever notice wine drinkers say”I’ll have a glass of wine” thanks gang, please narrow that down to one or two of the fifteen available-or go to a bar more.

    • Roxanne

      So what’s it mean when I order a gin martini straight-up w/ a twist or a single malt Scotch, neat? :-D

    • Romany

      How do you feel about a vodka & pomegranate juice with a splash of club soda? Rare to find pomegranate juice in a bar. Bartenders usually suggest cranberry, pineapple or orange juice as a substitute. Sometimes they have grapefruit juice. Not a fan of cranberry, so sometimes I’d get a mixture with a lime. That was awhile back. Now I go for the vodka tonic.

    • Romany

      Surprised you didn’t mention rum and coke with lime, or Corona. Geographic location obviously plays a role in all of this. Hmmm, how about your feelings toward someone who orders a Cider drink (Woodchuck, Ace, etc.) ?

    • gary

      I have been working in liquor business for 20 years and totally agree with moscato observation and even throw Hennessy in that mix, way too much rap.

    • daniel

      Gin Martini Cocktail 1/5 with a twist. -
      One with a sense of history who understands the meaning of the cocktail hour and was taught about sanctity of the martini by Bernard deVoto.

    • j

      Why on earth would I care about how a bartender judges me by what I order? Bartenders who think people care about what bartenders think are self-absorbed losers.

    • NotThumper

      Boston area huh? I’m Boston area too and I think that based on location your assumptions are pretty accurate. Now I wonder which bar to go to… ;)

    • xpez

      straight liquor gets you there quicker

    • sam ironrod

      i think this is a bunch of crap!!!!!

      • T-chamb

        Uh oh. Looks like someone drinks Red Bull & Vodka…

    • Penelope

      What about a Shirley Temple?

    • Brian W.

      Who you callin’ drunk yer not drunk I’M drunk!!

    • Marg

      So, tell me oh so better than everyone else bartender. What is the “right” drink to order.

      • lord snow

        it’s satire…relax

    • David Stewart

      “The Assumptions Bartenders Make About You Based Off Your Drink Order”
      It seems that suddenly in the past few years everyone under a certain age is using the phrase “based off”. I can only guess that some character on a popular TV show used this phrase a lot.
      There is actually NO such word-phrase in the English language. “Based off” is, in fact, meaningless. Something can NOT be “based” and “off” at the same time.
      I believe the meaning you kids are attempting to get across is actually the meaning conveyed by the accepted English word-phrase, “based on”.
      I am sorry if I am coming across as a “douche”, but you are writing professionally, and if you want your work to be considered as having anything worthwhile to offer it needs to meet certain standards of literacy.

      • mur

        Grammar-Nazi to the max.

    • Eliza Woof

      My mother orders margaritas whenever she goes to bars (which is normally with me and very rare), so describing her as an amateur is pretty accurate. Unless you’re at a tequila bar, ordering a margarita is generally pretty hit-or-miss. Sadly, because a good margarita can turn a terrible day into a pretty spiffy night.