Master1305/Shutterstock

Entertaining
9 Cocktails You Should Never Order at a Dive Bar

By

Dive bars serve a very specific purpose: to provide cheap and easy drinks for you to enjoy in a barely sanitary atmosphere. The dive bar is there for you after a hard day’s work, during the days before your paycheck arrives and between midnight and 2 a.m., when you refuse to call it quits on a night out. The dive bar is a near perfect entity with just one caveat: There are some drinks you can order and some drinks you can’t.

A dive bar bartender is not a free-pouring, drink-tossing, cocktail bar bartender who flames your citrus peel. A dive bar-tender gets as many drinks into as many thirsty hands as quickly as possible. Your job as the patron? To help the bartender do exactly that by doing your part: ordering a simple cocktail.

And it’s not just the bartender you have to worry about, there’s also the gritty crowd a dive bar attracts. Your drink order plays a pivotal role in whether or not this crowd accepts you or punches you in the face. So play it cool by fighting every urge you have to order these very anti-dive bar drinks.

Matthew Kelly/Supercall
The Negroni is a cocktail your dive bar bartender knows he should know how to make, but doesn’t. It’s familiar, but still too obscure—and it oversteps the general two-ingredient dive bar drink rule. Remember, this bartender did not apprentice under a well-known cocktailian, he’s the owner’s son or the owner’s son’s friend or the owner himself, who decided to buy a bar because it cut out the middleman between him and the booze. He didn’t get into this business for the fancy drinks, he got into it because it looked fun on Cheers. Stick to two-ingredient drinks with the ingredients right there in the name, like your Rum and Cokes or Gin and Tonics.

The Essentials

Gin
Campari
Sweet Vermouth
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
Did you ever see Carrie or Samantha walk into a dive bar and order a Cosmo? No. Let’s take it one step further: Did you ever see Carrie or Samantha walk into a dive bar, period? It might be a good rule of thumb not to order any drink featured on that show in a dive bar. We’re looking at you, Absolut Hunk.

The Essentials

Citrus Vodka
Cointreau
Cranberry Juice
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
You aren’t lounging on a beach in the Caribbean, and your bartender has no idea what orgeat is. Unless your local dive is hosting a tiki night, the only rum cocktail you should be ordering is a “Rum and _____.” A great dive bar rule of thumb: Don’t order a drink that calls for a paper umbrella garnish.

The Essentials

Jamaican Rum
lime juice
Orgeat
Picture this: You’re craving ice cream and stroll into a dive bar. You think, “Hey, I can satisfy my ice cream craving with an ice cream cocktail!” You ask the bartender for a “Pink Panties” (shudder). Assuming you survive that ordeal, you sit down and are now lounging, enjoying your frosty, creamy Pink Panties among Screwdrivers, Boilermakers and other tough, cool-sounding cocktails. Please don’t put yourself or your friends through this embarrassment.

The Essentials

Gin
Frozen Pink Lemonade
Frozen Strawberries
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
A dive bar maybe has three of the twelve ingredients needed to make a Scorpion Bowl. On top of that, Scorpion Bowls are served in elaborate vessels AND lit on fire. Good advice: Do not mix fire and dive bars. The air is essentially pure ethanol and could ignite at any moment.

If you’re lucky, your dive bar has some sort of special that involves throwing a ton of alcohol into a fishbowl with four or five straws sticking out of it. Stick to that.

The Essentials

Gin
Dark Rum
Orgeat
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
No one in a dive bar cares that you studied abroad in France for a semester and learned how to correctly pronounce “Vieux Carre.”  The dive bar folk aren’t going to be impressed with your worldliness. Go with an Old Fashioned. Or better yet, stick to just a glass of whiskey.

The Essentials

Rye
Cognac
Sweet Vermouth
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
Ever see James Bond sip a Martini in a dive bar? That’s because MI6’s top agent knows better. When he does go into a dive bar, he switches to tequila, and you should, too. Sure, with just two ingredients, the drink is easy enough to make, but the “statement” that accompanies a Martini isn’t befitting of a dive bar. It says, “Oh my, however did I find myself drinking with this motley crew outside of my tax bracket?” Stick to the well drinks, or you’ll be writing checks you can’t afford to cash, if you catch our drift.

The Essentials

Gin
Dry Vermouth
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
Statistics show that asking your bartender for a “Sloe Comfortable Screw” has a 99% chance of getting you punched in the face—or an actual slow, comfortable screw. You’ve been warned.

The Essentials

Vodka
Sloe Gin
Southern Comfort
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
This frothy gin cocktail with egg whites and cream needs to be shaken for so long, only those impressionable few who bought shake weights back in the day are physically equipped to handle the preparation. It’s probably best not to put your bartender through 12 minutes of shaking per drink. That long line of restless patrons waiting for their Boilermakers will thank you for it.

The Essentials

London Dry Gin
Cream
Egg white

Published on

More From Around The Web