You can’t expect a great cocktail to magically fall into your hand with zero effort. It’s like a mathematical equation: The quality of your drink directly correlates to the effort you put into making it. While your laziness may make you horrible at math, don’t let it make you bad at cocktails. You’re better than these lazy drinking habits.
Who knows where those fingers have been? You do—and you probably don’t want all of those places inside your cocktail. No matter how clean you keep your mitts, you shouldn’t stick them in your drink (or your guests’ drinks). Literally any object in your kitchen would be better suited for the task.
Ordering the Same Drink at Every Bar
Unless you’re conducting a survey of how every bar in the city makes the exact same drink, you have little excuse for only ordering the same cocktail everywhere you go. If you truly love one drink that much, learn how to make it at home and perfect your recipe. It’ll be your signature drink, which you can serve to guests or whip up blindfolded after a long day. But when you’re out and about, try something new. The bar likely put in a lot of work developing their own drinks, and while they’ll happily serve you your fave, maybe reserve that go-to until after you’ve experimented on round one.
Using Bad Ice
Bad ice can kill a cocktail as quickly as spoiled vermouth or store-bought sour mix. While you don’t have to develop an in-house ice program out of a walk-in freezer to make a good drink, you do have to take a little more care with your choice of frozen water. The quality of your ice matters just as much as any other ingredient. Invest the time to make good ice and learn how to use it right too.
Using Grocery Store Juice
Fresh juice brightens up any cocktail. Carton juice from the back corner of a grocery store, on the other hand, doesn’t do you any favors, muddying up your drink with its artificial flavors. Try them side by side and we bet you’ll never reach for that carton or plastic lime ever again.
Using the Same Ingredients Over and Over
While you should keep your most used bottles within easy reach—that’s just thoughtful ergonomic design—don’t let those bottles become a crutch. Chances are you have a dark corner of rarely touched bottles (at least metaphorically). Bring those ignored bottles to the front of your bartending station so that you actually use them. If a bottle looks dusty, it’s time to give it some love.
Never Venturing Beyond Your Local Hang
If the air outside your door feels cold enough to freeze liquor, you’re justified in only walking to the nearest place with a liquor license for a drink. Any moderate climate, on the other hand, is enough reason to travel outside of your zip code. There’s a world of bars out there.
Stirring Because You’re Too Lazy to Shake
There’s a proper way to mix every drink. Recipes call for shaking or stirring based on the ingredients. If there’s citrus, eggs or cream involved, you need to muscle up for a quick arm workout and shake that cocktail. If you get lazy and stir a cocktail that’s meant to be shaken, you’ll receive a mouth full of unmixed, flat or otherwise texturally underwhelming liquid.
Not Shaking or Stirring Long Enough
Good things come to those who wait. Skimping on shaking leaves a cocktail off-balance, room temp and just sort of sad. Shake a few seconds longer, and that same cocktail could be a work of art. A tiny bit of effort goes a long, long way.
Drinking Straight from the Bottle
There are moments that call for pulling straight from a handle of booze, but the vast majority of drinking instances require you pour that spirit into a glass. You’re not John Belushi in Animal House. You’re Steve. Calm down, Steve, and drink like a civilized person.