7 Old-Fashioned Drinks That Should Never Make a Comeback, According to a Bartender
Bars have been around for centuries, but it wasn't until 1806 when the first recorded cocktail recipe—which consisted of a spirit, sugar, water, and bitters—appeared in a local New York newspaper, and mixologists have concocted countless variations of cocktails ever since. While some of those recipes have risen to become time-tested classics, like the Negroni, which was created over 100 years ago, some cocktails just never find an audience and fall into obscurity.
There are also certain vintage cocktails that once graced bars across the country but have since taken a back seat to trendier drinks like the espresso martini. Perhaps it's that they just can't keep up with modern tastes, or maybe they simply overstay their welcome. Whether these old-fashioned creations have lost a number of fans over the years or because the current recipe is derivative of the original and no longer of the same quality, according to bartenders, they need to get phased off of bar rotation.
Next time you hit up your local bar, avoid ordering these retro drink orders. If you need a cocktail that tastes great and won't throw off your diet, look no further than the 9 Healthiest Cocktails You Can Make at Home for a drink that should please anyone and even gives you a chance to show off your own bartending skills.
Many folks have tried a Lemon Drop before, but few ever get the chance to experience the real thing. This drink came about in the 1970s and takes its name from the classic candy. The drink combines vodka citron, triple sec, and lemon juice together to form a sweet and sour cocktail that immediately won bargoers over thanks to its novelty.
"It's just always made terribly, generally made with a [poor] lemon vodka and sour mix rather than vodka and fresh lemon juice," J. Taylor Arnold, bartender and author at Don't Forget The Garnish says. "It's basically just a vodka sour."
Unless you know your bartender's skills are up to snuff, make sure you pass up this old-fashioned concoction next time you hit the bar. You can't go wrong with having real lemon in your drink. This fruit's so versatile, you can even find 15 Ways to Lose Weight with Lemons.
Daquiri with Lime Juice Concentrate
Nothing brightens up a spring or summer day quite like a daiquiri. This iconic drink has found its way to bar menus for over 100 years thanks to its classic combination of rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. While this drink's truly greater than the sum of its parts, you need to avoid any version that uses lime juice concentrate or artificial juice substitutes.
"Let's give up cocktails that are made with anything other than fresh fruit juice—it's not the '80s anymore," Arnold says. "So let's all just be better and start there. No more cocktails with… lime juice from squeeze bottles."
Vodka Martini, Extra Dry
"I would love to never make this again," Arnold continued. "Just order vodka. It's the same thing."
The quintessential Martini has found its place on best-of lists for generations, but not every version of this drink tastes the same. Typically, a vodka Martini consists of vodka, vermouth, ice, and some lemon zest or olive as garnish. Take away the vermouth and you have an extra dry vodka Martini.
"Embrace vermouth," Arnold says. "A well-made martini with some excellent vermouth is life-changing. I'll respect you more if you just say you want whatever vodka chilled and served up with a twist. But a no-vermouth martini is literally just chilled vodka. It's not good people."
If you crave a vodka cocktail and want to go beyond the standard Martini, look no further than 7 Quick & Easy Vodka Cocktails.
Non-Craft Mai Tai
"I remember the first time I had a Mai Tai," Arnold says. "It was terrible. I thought all of them tasted like that for a long time until I learned how they were really made."
While many bars may claim to make an old-fashioned Mai Tai, a good handful fail to follow the classic recipe of shaking together aged rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and dark rum.
"They are actually very easy [to make]!" Arnold says. "But lots of bars don't have orgeat (an almond-based syrup), so they'll just throw a bunch of juice in with rum. It's very common and you deserve better. Everyone deserves better than that."
Dirty Vodka Martini
"This is just a terrible cocktail," Arnold explained. "The olive juice just overpowers everything, it's almost impossible to balance well, and is notoriously over-diluted."
This generation-old mixed drink hit the scene when bartenders started adding olive brine to the classic vodka Martini formula.
"Number one, vodka is made to be tasteless," Arnold explained. "A vodka Martini is all about the vermouth and the garnish. It's subtle. Throw olive juice in there and it's just a way to drink without tasting booze, but has a fancy name so people like to order it. Cocktails should highlight the liquor in it, not hide it."
If you love the idea of grabbing a Martini but want to avoid this drink, try making your own espresso Martini at home, and don't forget The #1 Secret for the Best Espresso Martini.
Many old-school bar-goers swear by the Aviation, a cocktail that blends gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de Violette, lemon juice, and a brandied cherry garnish. Many versions also include lavender in the form of an infused simple syrup or with lavender buds sprinkled in the glass. The drink made its debut in 1916, but its ingredient list leaves something to be desired.
"This is gonna be controversial, and I'll own that," Arnold says. "But I personally don't think this cocktail is good. I don't love the lavender and I don't like the way it works with creme de Violette. I've tried so many variations, but every time I just end up going—meh. There are so many better cocktails out there."
The classic gin Martini broke ground over a century ago. The combo of gin, vermouth, and ice shaken together won over bar aficionados everywhere, and eventually, other versions of the same cocktail popped up. One now-popular version replaced gin with vodka, and the vodka Martini sprung into existence. Some folks love this drink, but others have rallied against this concoction.
"I don't even think these should be allowed to be called Martinis," Arnold says. "They can have their own name, but not Martini—it's too sacred. It's just such a disservice to the quality and joy that comes from gin martinis. Vodka Martinis don't deserve the same name. In a world where no one can agree on anything, let's all agree that Gin martinis are better. Embrace 2023 with a bottle of gin."
Gin can do way more than simply elevating a Martini. If you ever wonder What 6 Diet Experts Order at the Bar, take heart knowing that gin ranks as one of the top liquor choices when choosing a healthier alcohol.