“Not too sweet.”
For many bartenders, these three words are like daggers to their hearts, or a way to instantly get put on their “jackass” lists.
“I would say it is the most common guest instruction or request,” says Allen Lancaster, master cocktail craftsman at The Bar at The Spectator Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. “It happens every evening without fail and generally more than once.”
If you’re guilty of making this request, rather than feeling bad (or committing the sin again), first consider why you may fear a drink that’s sweet.
“I’d say the foremost reason would be exposure to ‘corporate’ cocktail menus,” Lancaster says. You know them — the chain restaurants with their lists of fruity, sugar-laden libations that are cloyingly sweet. If you have had that bad experience in the past, it’s natural to see certain ingredients on a menu and worry. Lancaster also says the low-carb and low-sugar crazes may be to blame, plus a third culprit. “I’d venture to guess that the male audience views these drinks as somehow less manly,” he adds.