10 Drinking Faux Pas to Avoid at All Costs

There are a lot of rules to learn (and relearn) when you’re in for a night of drinking, from mastering the art of buying someone a cocktail to learning the dos and don’ts of an open bar to knowing which glasses to use when. But there are a few bad behaviors that stand out in particular. To help you look like a pro the next time you hit the town, we culled together 10 common drinking faux pas to avoid. How many have you committed?

Putting Ice Cubes in Wine

Wine isn’t meant to be diluted like liquor, so adding ice cubes to your glass of Chardonnay is a big no-no in mixed company. It will deliver a less-than-excellent drinking experience and make you look like a neophyte oenophile in the process. If your wine isn’t properly chilled and you don’t feel like waiting, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes instead of diluting it to death. That said, if that’s just how you like your wine, go ahead and plunk away. It’s your watery funeral.

Arriving to a Party Empty-Handed

If you’re invited to a party, bring something to drink. It doesn’t need to be overly expensive or fancy, but it should be something you enjoy—because you’ll probably end up drinking it unless the gathering is a formal dinner party. Whatever you do, don’t show up empty-handed, period. It’s just plain bad manners.

Helping Yourself to the Garnish Tray

No matter how much you love olives, the garnish tray at a bar is no place for your grimy, grabby fingers. You wouldn’t waltz into a restaurant kitchen and start snacking from dishes on the pass, so apply that same logic to the bartender’s garnish stash. If you’re really in need of a snack, politely ask for a couple extra olives in your Martini or dash around the corner for a slice.

Snapping Your Fingers at the Bartender (or Anyone for That Matter)

Snapping your fingers to get someone’s attention isn’t simply insulting; it’ll probably get you ignored for the rest of the night. If you’re standing at a crowded bar waiting to be served, have your money visibly in your hand, don’t stare at your phone, and make eye contact with the bartender when he or she looks in your direction. Even if your order isn’t taken immediately, bartenders recognize when you’ve been waiting patiently and will be more responsive in the end.

Cutting Beer Foam With Your Fingers

Back at it again with those rude fingers. Sometimes you get a beer with too much head, and that’s truly a shame. But it doesn’t mean you should attempt to bring it down by swiping some oil from your face and sticking your finger in the foam. It might not be gross for you, but everyone around you will undoubtedly be horrified at your unsanitary methods.

Avoiding Eye Contact During a Toast

While some cultures consider not making eye contact during a toast to be bad luck, we simply think it’s bad manners. If you’re about to share a drink with a person or group, your sole focus should be on them, not on that thing happening over in the distance. Seriously, it’s five seconds of your time.

Forcing Shots on Others

Just because you love taking shots doesn’t mean everyone else wants to throw them back with you. If you buy a round, don’t make folks who choose not to partake feel bad or accuse them of “wasting alcohol.” Just politely toast their glass of Pinot with your shot of rye and enjoy your evening.

Using Mixers With Super Premium Spirits

There’s no shame in ordering a Rum and Coke, but it’s a travesty to make such a concoction with a shot of super premium rum meant only for sipping. Dumping a sugary mixer onto any high-end, complex spirit covers up the liquor’s own delightful taste. It’s also just a blatant waste of your money. Skip the Pappy and Ginger, and stick to mixing with well and midrange spirits instead.

Getting Overly Emotional in a Public Bar

There’s nothing wrong with having a good cry. But if you’re out in public and start to feel emotional about something, it’s time to finish that drink (or simply put it down), say your goodbyes and go. You’ll avoid awkward concern from inebriated friends and strangers, and stop yourself from spilling the beans about something personal. If you’re still feeling sad the next day, call a friend and talk about it sober.

Running Out of Ice

If there’s one thing to remember when you’re throwing a party, it’s that you can never have too much ice. It’s cheap, easy to procure and will last long after the final guest leaves, so it’s not like it’ll go to waste if you don’t finish it all in one night. Go ahead, get another bag. You’ll need it.