(Bar)keeping It Real

Eyeroll, ennui, or excitement: What are bartenders' reactions when faced with an order for bartender's choice?

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Male bartender with mustache and wearing a hat pushing a disgusting looking green cocktail across the bar.
Despite the potential of being served a drink that looks like ditchwater, nearly 75 of you would still let a tattooed dude in a newsboy cap make up your drink on the spot. / Volodymyr Melnyk © 123RF.com

We asked, Instagram answered. When faced with the most important question you can answer about your drink order (other than, “Hey, hot stuff, can I buy you a drink?”) nearly three-quarters of you opted to live dangerously, to throw caution to the wind, to flirt with disaster, to play Russian roulette.

That’s right, intrepid readers: 73 percent of you were willing to relinquish control of your cocktail, ditch the drink list, and and let the pros mix a little something something up for you with no restrictions. We applaud your adventurous spirit when it comes to letting someone else pick your poison for the evening.

Pie chart labeled, "Would you give your bartender ultimate control of your drink order?" 27 percent say no, 73 percent say yes.

How do bartenders react when faced with the order? We sampled a few Denver drink makers for their opinions.

“I love it. Frankly, if you’ve made the decision to come into our establishment and spend your time and money, I’m delighted to make you whatever you’d like, even if you defer [to us]. Our staff is great about follow-up questions to provide a framework (spirit-driven, shaken/refreshing, spirit preference, favorite cocktails, etc.) and from there it’s fun to connect the dots.” —Austin Carson, Restaurant Olivia, Denver

“Love it, with a few questions. Spirit-forward and boozy or laid back and easy-going (citrusy)? Any spirits you dislike?” —Chad Michael George, Piney Wine & Spirits, Evergreen

“How can you not love them? It gives you free rein to make up stuff and be creative. You can learn very quickly what goes well together and what doesn’t. And if you are super busy, you should have a nice rolodex of cocktials in your mind that would fit the profile that the guests are looking for. They only help you grow. So many people ask me to make variations of a Ramos gin fizz from flavors mimicking Thin Mints and peanut butter and jelly to chocolate covered cherries. You just have to think on your feet and have fun.” —Colin Overett, Union Lodge No. 1, Denver

There you have it: You have our permission to leave the decision to your bartender if you just aren’t in the mood for anything on the menu. And as always, be nice and tip well, lest you end up with a Malört cocktail.

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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