Bartenders reveal why they look down on anyone who orders shots of top-shelf liquor

Bartender Matt from Sake restaurant and bar prepares a cocktail. Photo: Simon Thomsen
  • Several bartenders Business Insider interviewed said they look down on people who order shots, especially top-shelf ones.
  • They say, for one thing, it’s a waste of money.
  • Here’s what ordering expensive shots says about you, according to these bartenders.

Bartenders can discern a lot about a person from what they order. And shots are an especially telling request.

“When you go for shots, I think ‘trouble,'” a bartender in New York with eight years of experience told Business Insider.

Or, as another bartender in the US Virgin Islands put it, “Shots equal jacka– juice.”

Expensive shots in particular illicit a gut reaction from bartenders.

“Some people will buy loads of expensive shots when out in groups,” a bartender from Ireland with 12 years of experience told Business Insider. “They’re trying to look flash.”

But for all your attempts to look cool, bartenders say you just wind up looking the fool.

“You look stupid when you order expensive shots,” a former bartender from New York with 10 years of experience told Business Insider. “The whole point is to get it down quickly — you’re not enjoying the quality.”

This bartender said that when someone walked into his bar and ordered a shot of a top-shelf liquor, he immediately thought they were trying to impress people by wasting their money.

“Shots are not designed for savouring,” he said. “They’re made to get drunk from.”

“If you want to pay double for something that does nothing more than add to the cash register, go for it,” he said. But you’re not doing anyone any favours.

So, if you must order shots, how do you walk the line between looking like an idiot and insulting your friends and the bartender?

“I would recommend knowing a few brands of the liquor you like to shoot and their price levels,” the bartender suggested. “Look for something mid-level as your go-to.”

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