This drink is hated for numerous reasons. The biggest complaint is that the modern-day Mojito (rum, lime juice, sugar, mint, soda water) is a time-consuming drink to make. First of all, you have to make sure your bar is actually supplied with fresh mint to make a Mojito. Mint is usually a rare commodity at a bar because bartenders are always utilizing mint sprigs as garnishes for other drinks, with the remaining mint going to the Mojito. Also, mint tends to go bad quickly compared to other fresh products.
So now that we have the mint, we have to muddle it in a mixing tin, which can take another 10-15 seconds (remember now, time is money). We apply the right amount of lime juice (usually freshly squeezed, so another 5-8 seconds), and next comes the sugar. The amount is about a teaspoon or two, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but if the bartender is making two to three Mojitos at a time, they are bound to get the sugar sticking to their hands, skin, and clothing.
Ultimately the Mojito is dreaded because it takes too much time to make, it is a very sticky drink, and the payoff (i.e., tip) is never worth the amount of work it takes to make it. Please avoid ordering a Mojito at the bar unless you feel it is absolutely necessary to do so.
2. Lemon Drops
Like the mojito, the Lemon Drop (served in a martini glass or as a shot) is a sugar-based cocktail. The ingredients include vodka, triple sec, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and/or sugar. If served in a martini glass the likelihood of this becoming a messy drink is exponentially higher. Lemon Drops will tend to have a coated sugar rim on the serving glass, so in a fast-paced bar the bartender will expect to make this cocktail as fast as humanly possible, thus spilling sugar. Don’t make bartenders spill sugar all over themselves. Have a heart and order a different cocktail or shot that is less messy. May I suggest either a Rum Runner or a whiskey on the rocks?
3. Blended Drinks
You ever hear your bartender say that the blender is broken? Ten times out of ten the blender isn’t actually broken. It’s just the bartender simply does not want to make your Banana Daiquiri or your Margarita. Again, these drinks take time, and time is money. More than anything else, making blended drinks will average out to costing much more than the average cocktail, so are you prepared to pay a premium price and still willing to leave a sizable tip afterwards? Think about it first. Skip the blended drink and stick to the Specialty Cocktail of the Day.
4. The “I dunno, surprise me!”
If you ask the bartender to surprise you with a drink you are likely to get a standard beer with a shot of whiskey. Bartenders do not like making drinks that you will inevitably hate at the end of your tab. The truth of the matter is we do not like what your preferences are when it comes to alcohol. We may ask what base spirit you enjoy (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey), or do you like citrus notes (lemon, lime, grapefruit) vs. tropical notes (pineapple, melon, sweet orange).
If you cannot answer any of these basic questions, then expect nothing else from us besides a basic drink. Don’t ask your bartender to surprise you, because we’ve heard it before and we will consider you an amateur at ordering drinks. Have some courage and order something that is simple in effort to make yet has quality in price level and the amount of spirits used.