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Here's Why Bartenders Hate Vodka

Believe it or not, there’s more than one reason

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, vodka accounts for 32 percent of spirit consumption in the U.S. In addition, 65.2 million 9-liter cases of vodka were sold in the U.S 2012. After reading statistics like these, you’d probably guess that bartenders and mixologists appreciate vodka, and enjoy creating vodka cocktails, but as it turns out, they actually feel the exact opposite. Apparently, they don’t like it at all.

Keep in mind; this is all a matter of opinion. Despite the negative sentiments toward vodka from behind the bar, Grey Goose, Absolut, and Smirnoff continue to be some of the top-selling liquor brands in the country.  But just because the public likes it, doesn’t mean the people serving it have to.

If you take a moment to browse online, there are numerous articles posts, blogs, and social media discussions surrounding vodka and why it’s overrated. After some quick research, here are the main reasons we found that bartenders and mixologists don’t care for vodka.

It Has ‘No’ Taste

We put the word “no” in quotations for a reason. Obviously, if you drink vodka straight, it has a distinct taste. However, some of the best-selling brands — that are considered by many as quality vodka — actually resemble the taste of water. This may be due to the fact that low-quality brands have a harsh, rubbing-alcohol taste, leaving people to believe that the “good” vodka shouldn’t have a taste at all. For people who know their booze, though, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

It’s Too Safe

Think fast: What would you like to drink? If you’re at a crowded dive bar, when it’s your turn to order a drink, the pressure is on. Chances are, in this situation, your go-to is something along the lines of a vodka tonic, a vodka soda, or a vodka cranberry. If not, congratulations — you know your booze better than you thought. (Unless you ordered a rum and coke.) If you chose a vodka drink, that’s probably because it’s a safe choice. You may be pleased with your choice, but many mixologists believe it’s killing the cocktail industry.

It Steals the Spotlight

In a recent article surrounding vodka and its reputation on the restaurant and liquor businesses, Brooke Arthur of the Range in San Francisco expressed her concern on vodka cocktails and their popularity on the cocktail menu. While popular cocktails are never a bad thing, Arthur claims that the restaurant has experienced trouble replacing them. The restaurants best-selling cocktail, the Vin de Pamplemousse, is the only vodka drink on the menu. “No matter how much time I or my bartenders spend coming up with new drink made with other spirits, that’s the only one that ever gets mention on Yelp, and it’s still our best seller.”

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