Avoid This Mistake When Asking A Bartender To Remake Your Cocktail

You decide to try out a new bar where you order your staple cocktail, which tastes nothing like what you're used to. Or you spend several minutes agonizing over the cocktail menu before deciding, only to end up with a beverage that makes you cringe every time you take a sip. Do you send it back, or suffer through the drink? No one benefits if you do the latter. Considering people go to bars for a good time, the last thing bartenders and bar owners want is for a patron to struggle through a drink. If you decide to send that cocktail back, there are a few pointers to keep in mind to ensure you and the bartender both have a pleasant experience.

The most important thing to remember when returning a cocktail is to do so quickly. You'll only need a sip or two to determine if you have a problem with the drink, so bring it to the bartender or server's attention as soon as possible to rectify it. Also, try to clarify what you'd like fixed in the drink. It could be minor flavor adjustments or, more significantly, the wrong type of liquor. Also, remember that your drink will generally be replaced free of charge if there's something wrong with it, but if it's a matter of personal preference, you may still have to pay for it.

Don't wait until it's too late

On the first sip, you'll know whether you like the cocktail. What you like or dislike about it should be evident by the second or third sip. If you're considering returning your drink, this is the time to do it. Returning a half-finished cocktail saying it's not for you may (understandably) get you a few looks from your server because it can come across as trying to get a freebie. Also, the faster you act, the better the chance the bartender can salvage the drink; this person balances flavors for a living, so adjusting a drink to your preference is well within their expertise. Your responsibility is to give them the chance to remedy it. What often irritates bartenders is negative feedback in the form of a paltry or absent tip, since there's not much they can do about it then.

When sending back your cocktail, be clear about what you don't like about it. Something as simple as conveying that it's too bitter or not sweet enough can help the bartender adjust it to your taste and ensure that the next round is just how you like it. Avoid saying you can't taste the alcohol in a cocktail unless, of course, it feels like the bartender has completely forgotten to add a major alcoholic component. If there's too much you dislike, change your order instead of sending a cocktail back twice.

Be polite, clear, and have an open mind

A drink could taste less than perfect for several reasons. Sometimes, it's due to an incorrectly made cocktail; other times, it may be a matter of personal preference. In either case, remember that no one is trying to pull a fast one on you, as there are situations when entire bottles of wine are sent back. To ensure you get the drink you like, try to be as specific as possible while ordering. If you're partial to a particular brand of liquor or flavor profile, communicate it to the bartender. You can also get their professional advice when ordering. And, most importantly, decide whether you're in a "tried-and-tested" or adventurous mood.

When being adventurous, be open to a beverage you may not love. It's worth taking risks like this from time to time so you can potentially discover new favorites, but for the other times, it's perfectly fine to ask the bartender to tweak the drink so it goes down easier. Avoid asking them to make obscure or complicated drinks, like the snowglobe cocktail, especially if the bar is busy. Instead, leave the experimentation for a light night when the bartender is relatively free, or try some simple bartending tricks like throwing your cocktails at home, and you'll be surprised by how good the results look and taste! It'll also help you understand the cocktail-making process to be better prepared to order (and request tweaks to) future cocktails.