7 Embarrassing Cocktails Bartenders Secretly Love

Singing karaoke, watching reality TV, belting out Bon Jovi tunes in the shower, eating deep-fried Twinkies…everyone has a guilty pleasure.

That includes bartenders, too. Even with a resurgence of classic cocktails and the popularity of formerly obscure spirits, sometimes even mixologists want something familiar and easy to drink.

But now that we all have sophisticated palates, some drinks have been banished from menus. Although you might be afraid to order one of these guilty pleasures (say, a Piña Colada), many pros enjoy them while they’re off duty. Here are a few mixologist favorites that you should indulge in some time soon.

Alabama Slammer

“The Sex on the Beach, the schnapps made from peach, the Velvet Hammer, the Alabama Slammer…” Tom Cruise lists a whole slew of drinking sins in the movie Cocktail. While it’s difficult to pick just one guilty pleasure from his marvelous list, the honor goes to the Alabama Slammer, which combines sweet Southern Comfort, sloe gin, amaretto and orange juice. I can hear you cringing, but when no one is looking it’s quite tasty.


Named after the B-52 Stratofortress long-range bomber, this shot is made of equal measures of three spirits— Kahlúa, Baileys and triple sec—layered on top of each other. It tastes like dessert, looks pretty cool and can still impress the unsuspecting novice tippler.

Flaming Dr Pepper Shot

My personal guilty pleasure is a shameless shot of amaretto topped with 151-proof rum, which is then lit on fire. The flaming shot is dropped into a beer and for some inexplicable reason the result tastes just like Dr Pepper soda—genius, but wrong in so many ways.

Irish Car Bomb

This unfortunately named potent mix combines three of Ireland’s best known exports: Guinness, Baileys and Jameson. While you can’t appreciate any of the ingredients, it gets you to your destination pretty quickly. It’s also available at just about every dive bar in America. Bomb’s away!

Jäger Shot

Sidney Frank introduced the world to the unpronounceable and undrinkable Jägermeister. His genius idea was to freeze the bitter herbal liqueur and serve it in test tubes. The rest is history. Not only is it a favorite of frat boys, but bartenders enjoy clandestine shots between Sazeracs and Negronis.

Piña Colada

The mother of all guilty pleasures, the Piña Colada, has committed several crimes, including the fact that it’s usually blended and often served in a coconut shell or pineapple. Let’s not even mention the requisite miniature cocktail umbrella. But it’s undeniably a delicious frosty blend of rum, coconut and pineapple, and is the ultimate poolside drink.

White Bat

This drink combines not one but two guilty pleasures: it’s a mashup of a Rum and Coke and a Kahlúa and Milk. It’s also a favorite of master mixologist Audrey Saunders, who was introduced to the concoction by none other than the venerable Dale DeGroff. This is one guilty pleasure that will be passed down from one generation of bartenders to the next.

Simon Ford is an award-winning bartender and director of trade outreach and brand education for Pernod Ricard USA. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.

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  • stevenrbrown posted 4 months ago

    Jager is finally beginning to escape from the "frat boy" reputation as a shot and more and more bartenders are using it in cocktails and keeping the bottles on the shelf instead of in the freezer. Like Fernet, Jagermeister is a complex mix of herbs because of its' origins as a digestif (Some refer to Fernet as Jager without the sweetness.). Putting it on ice muted a lot of those flavors which made it easier for shots.

  • plainbsyahoocom667410950 posted 1 year ago

    no self respecting bartender would drink any of these

  • prufrock posted 1 year ago

    In the 80s we used to drink a LOT of B-52s, but they were (and are) made with Grand Marnier, not triple sec.

    In 1973, I had my first taste of Jagermeister from a pair of brothers whose old German grandmother in Cincinnati would send to them in Chicago to keep them in touch with their German roots. Loved it. They would dole it out very carefully, as it was impossible to get in the US at the time. When I started by first bar managing job at DB SEarle's in Minnesota in 1982, I saw it on the order sheet and ordered a couple bottles. My rep said that "no one drinks that except a few old German guys." In no time I was selling a case a week to the college kids. In 1982.

  • BirdDog posted 1 year ago

    What about Fernet??

  • HDTV posted 1 year ago

    Bartenders drink Vodka.

  • pj5555 posted 1 year ago

    I'm an old fart (81), 25 years of bartending and the only drinks I saw full time bartenders drinking was Scotch, and Vodka. When I see stuff like this makes me think you are catering to retail readers, not professionals.

  • archangel posted 1 year ago

    What bartender made this list? Let me guess, a 21 year old college kid.

  • andrismnjntkhotmailcom12228269 posted 1 year ago

    Yeah, I never made that kind of drinks. But I have one, it's called Standard Bar-back, Gin, Vodka, and Kahlua, on the rocks, in small tumbler. Cheers!

  • codrphyshnetscapenet831994382 posted 1 year ago

    Most bartenders are happy with just a beer and a shot. Nothing too complex (that means more work just after getting off work) Nothing frozen(same reason) and no instahangover. Jamo works, Rumpy works too. Some even love Jager. I can dig a B52(if it is made right!) No stinking T-sec, Use GranMa!!

  • Monkoking posted 2 years ago

    Oh bull$hit. No bartender on Earth would drink this crap. He might make it for a broad so as to get laid. But otherwise? Pure kidstuff. All that sugar combining with the low abv liquors is a recipe for a hangover. Nasty!

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