What Not to Order at a Bar: Avoiding Awkward Moments (2023)

Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Have you experienced approaching a bartender, ready to order a drink, and suddenly you realized the importance of knowing what not to order at a bar or restaurant? We feel you!

Avoiding certain beverages can save you from embarrassment, preserve your taste buds, and keep your wallet from feeling too light.

So, in this guide, we’ll share with you the top drinks you should never order at bars to ensure your next night out is smooth sailing.

Top 10 Bar Drinks You Must Never Order

1. Flaming Shots

Flaming Shots

While a flaming shot seems enticing, it’s a risky choice. The high alcohol content and the potential for fiery mishaps make it a dangerous serve.

“Choose your glass orders wisely; not every cocktail, like Mojito, is a winner.” – Liquor Laboratory

If you’re thinking of ordering Flaming Lemon Drops, think twice! Better go for a Mojito than a disaster.

2. Curdled Shots

Jellyfish Shots

Trust us; curdled shots are a stomach-churning experience. Shot glasses are typically filled with cream or dairy-based liquor with acidic or citrusy ingredients.

The result? A curdled mess that tastes unpleasant.

3. “Whatever’s Cheapest”

This seems a good idea, but ordering “whatever’s cheapest” might save you a few bucks, but it won’t do your palate any favors.

These budget-friendly drinks are often made with subpar ingredients and lack the finesse of more thoughtfully crafted beverages.

4. “Whatever’s Strongest”

Seeking out the most potent drink on the menu or at a bachelorette party might seem bold, but it’s often a recipe for pain and disaster.

Overly strong cocktails (with more alcohol) can quickly lead to overindulgence. Opt for a moderate alcohol content to enjoy your evening without regrets.

Tip: If you like to get wasted, have the bourbon neat with a beer chaser. (But not draft beers, please!)

5. A “Surprise”

Ordering this one cocktail is like playing Russian roulette with your taste buds, usually with peach schnapps and soda water.

Bartenders concoct it from leftover ingredients, making each “Surprise” often an unpalatable experience. So, spare yourself the uncertainty and opt for a well-defined cocktail instead.

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6. New York Sour

Man Holding Glas of New York Sour

New York Sour sounds sophisticated, but it’s a disappointment in disguise. It’s essentially a Whiskey Sour with a red wine float and lime juice, disrupting the harmony of flavors.

We suggest sticking to classic cocktails [1] like Mojitos with fresh mint and ice.

7. Ramos Gin Fizz

Bartender Making Ramos Gin Fizz

The Ramos Gin Fizz is notorious for its labor-intensive preparation (close to a Mojito).

As you know, this booze involves vigorous shaking for longer, testing the patience of the bartender, and leaving you waiting for your drink far longer than you’d like.

8. Frozen Drink

Frozen drinks sound refreshing, but they often taste like sweetness overload with a side of brain freeze.

Frozen drinks are sweet, slushy concoctions typically packed with artificial flavors and excessive sugar content. If you want to cool down, try something lighter and refreshing, like a Pina Colada.

9. Appletini Drink

2 Glasses of Appletini Drink

Appletini may have had its moment in the sun, thanks to TV shows like “Scrubs,” but its appeal has waned.

It’s a sugar bomb disguised as an adult beverage, so it’s often dismissed by seasoned bartenders. So, save your drink orders for something more tasteful, like a Strawberry Daiquiri.

10. Bloody Mary

Glass of Bloody Mary Drink

You might be surprised, but Bloody Mary isn’t a bar must-have. While Bloody Marys are a classic brunch choice, ordering it during evening hours is generally a no-no.

Like Long Island Iced Tea, it’s one of the complicated drinks, and its thick texture might not be everyone’s cup of tea—or rather, a bottle or cup of vodka. Opt for a simpler cocktail that suits the mood.

“No amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well made cocktail.” — David Sedaris, American Humorist & Comedian

Besides, its complex mix of spirits – vodka, gin, white rum, tequila, and triple sec, sometimes with a splash of cola and sour mix, might not suit everyone’s preference.

Disclaimer: This ranking is subjective and based on common perceptions of drinks often discouraged at bars, based on our research and interviews. Personal preferences vary, so what one person dislikes, another may enjoy. This list is not an absolute rule.


What are the things not to do in a bar?

The things you should do at bars include shouting at the bartender, discussing sensitive topics loudly, and drinking too much (like Long Island Iced Tea or beer).

What not to ask a bartender?

You shouldn’t ask a bartender for a free glass of drink or food, their secret menu, and complex or time-consuming cocktails, like Mojitos (with a muddling of mint needed), especially when the bar is busy.

What are the most annoying drinks to order in a bar?

The most annoying drinks that customers order are complicated cocktails, like drinks (even food) with excessive substitutions and overly sugary/fruity cocktails that take extra time to prepare.

This is especially true when the bar is crowded and if you’re in dive bars [2].

In Conclusion

Stop being lousy mind-readers. Navigating a bar menu can be a daunting task, but knowing what not to order is just as important as knowing what you should.

By avoiding the drinks above, you’ll save yourself from culinary and social misadventures.

Remember to be considerate to bartenders and steer clear of annoying liquor orders. With these tips, your next night out will be a delightful and enjoyable experience.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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