Bartenders — they’re just like us! Whether it’s The Dude’s fave White Russian, a frozen Daiquiri covered in whipped cream from a can, or a certain vodka-cranberry cocktail associated with early aughts NYC, bartenders have been known to make some embarrassing beverage choices. Then again, haven’t we all?
We asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their guilty-pleasure cocktails, and they actually came clean. Here are the fruity, frosty, and otherwise unusual drinks beverage professionals order when nobody’s looking.
“I would drink a well-made White Russian any day of the year. I ‘cocktail’ it up a notch with frozen coffee ice cubes and salted caramel. The Dude is my spirit animal.” — Kim Spence, national beverage director, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, multiple locations
“Malibu and fresh pineapple juice … Most bartenders would cringe at the thought of it. Truth is, I’ve walked out with more money in my pocket pouring Malibu back in the day than I ever have making 14-ingredient cocktails that take 15 minutes to make. “ — Jesse Mychal Smith, bartender, Old Major, Denver, CO
“My guilty pleasure is a frozen strawberry Daiquiri with canned whipped cream. I know it is just about the worst thing to drink, with all the sugar and preservatives, but I will order one from a pool bar on a hot summer day when no one is watching. Yum!” — William Frost, head bartender, Blue Harbour, Tampa, FL
“I have a sweet tooth, so I quite like some of the sweet liqueurs, especially Chambord. A Chambord sour, although fairly ‘girly,’ is very delicious. Not my go-to drink, but something I’ll embarrassingly enjoy.” — Brice Peressini, bartender, The Victor, Vancouver, Canada
“Midori Sours. Yup. I don’t care what anyone says, they’re delicious!” — Tainah Soares, bar manager, A4cade, Boston, MA
“I have a bit of a sweet tooth. When I can get them, I love Tempus Fugit’s Creme de Cacao or Meletti’s Chocolate Liqueur. Also, a Grasshopper, when made with quality ingredients (the cheap ones taste like plastic!).” — Jenn Harvey, bar manager, Temple Bar, Cambridge, MA
“Kamikazes. I don’t know why but those guys are so easy to take down… maybe too easy.” — Jess Ostroski, bar manager, Botellón, San Francisco, CA