Friday, June 24, 2011

Bartenders Sick of All Bartending Trends

In its recent summer cocktail issue, Time Out New York took it upon itself to interview 52 of New York's most distinguished bartenders. Each subject was given a variance on five to eight boilerplate questions. Among them were "What cocktail trends would you like to see die?" and "Soapbox Time: What pisses you off?" The answers—which made for fun reading—included what seemed like every cocktail trend and bar behavior in the current mixed-drink universe. Reading all 52 interviews and tallying the grievances, the best bartenders in town collectively hate these things (and asterisk indicates that more than one bartender weighed in against this offense):

Bars that don't allow standing at the bar
Small batch bitters 
Back-seat bartenders 
Cocktail-Food pairings 
Anti-vodka bias
House-made anything
Diet spirits/"skinny drinks"*
Energy liquors
Customer who request non-sweet drinks 
Mayor Bloomberg 
Bartenders who do not properly practice hospitality*
Eggs in cocktails 
The term Mixologist*
Reservation-only bars 
The Speakeasy aesthetic
Homemade bitters 
Patrons who behave like "assholes" 
The facial-hair-and-suspenders look among bartenders
Over-complicated drinks* 
Bartender elitism 
Foreigners who don't tip 
Americans who don't tip 
The Pickleback 
Hello Kitty credit cards 
Over-the-top bartender showmanship 
Bartender competitions
Molecular mixology 
Cocktail bloggers (guess I'm violating that one right now)
Cocktail nerds (Whoops, did it again)
People who get drunk 
People who don't order from the cocktail list 
High-priced cocktail 
Poor service 
Pop-up bars 
Guest bartenders 
Bartenders bereft of technique 
Bartenders who don't say "Hello" to patrons
Big ice 
"Solid" cocktails 
People who order a Ramos Gin Fizz 
People who order obscure drinks 
People who wave their hands and their money 
People who touch the garnishes 
People who don't have their money ready 
"Emotional" cocktails
It should be noted that some of the bartenders indicated a few of these very same things as trends that they liked


frederic said...

The ones who hate bloggers are also probably the ones who wonder why no one writes about them.

I don't understand some of that list except that it shows a trend away from craft and more to high volume bartending. Also, "housemade anything" like syrups add a lot and are cheap to make so the profit margin is higher on those drinks. Perhaps syrups like orgeat should be bought, but something as simple as floral tea syrup can take only a few minutes to make.

Robert Simonson, "Our Man in the Liquor-Soaked Trenches"-New York Times. said...

No, I wouldn't say that, Frederic. The bartenders interviewed are all very much part of the craft movement and serious about their work. I think they were just letting off some steam. There are so many trends and dogmas in the cocktail world right now, sometimes you just want to say "Enough."

Sonny said...

Sorry, this list sounds like the typical "I hate these things because I love them, but now so does everyone else." No different than hating bands that are popular, clothing choices that would otherwise be classic, but now is becoming "trendy," and whatever else. And I hate to throw the 'hipster' word around, I really do, but the only time I use the word is when someone runs away from things that are good or classic because they've become popular. Yeah, a lot of these bar trends have become popular. Thank fuck for that. If I gave a shit about small batch bitters being too trendy, I'd go sit at an Applebees and enjoy my piss-poor shaken martini.