Can You Order A Replacement Drink At A Bar?

Bar etiquette is a wild, glamorous, coarse beast. Like an untamed stallion, the ins and outs of its various ways are unknowable to pretty much anyone who isn't a cowboy. For instance, you don't want a shot of "Jamo" — you want Jameson. If you order a "Jamo," your bartender might immediately write you off as a tool. Same deal with green tea shots. If you order a Ramos Gin Fizz, which requires up to a full minute of vigorous shaking, they might not be particularly thrilled about it, either. But, even in their most persnickety of moods, one thing your bartender won't mind whipping up is a replacement drink.

Anthony Bourdain famously expressed that chefs should ultimately be "in the pleasure business," and this extends to bartenders as well. They're there to help you have a fun night. Not only do bartenders survive on tips, but chances are that if a person has dedicated a chunk of their life to surfing the tides of the industry, then they have some personal appreciation for the holy institution that is Having a Good Time. Your bartender might be a tad annoyed at having to remake a drink, but at the end of the day, they almost certainly don't want to force you through a drink that really isn't doing it for you. To that effect, if you're going to ask for a replacement drink, there are two crucial aspects to keep in mind: promptness and patience.

No hesitation and no hastiness

If it's wicked busy, don't expect your bartender to drop everything and remake your drink immediately. You got in line for that pucker-inducing whiskey sour, and if you want to order something else, you're getting back in line again. Whatever you decide, make up your mind right away — as in, don't down half the drink out of guilt or perceived obligation and then try to send it back. If you're going to ask for a replacement drink, ask for it no more than a few sips in.

Also, while this one might seem like a given, anyone who's ever worked behind the stick will tell you that it definitely isn't ... be polite. Don't tell your bartender they did a bad job or that there's something wrong with the drink even if you suspect that there really is something wrong with it. Cocktails are all about balance, and on a busy night, your human bartender might forget to add that dash of bitters or a shot of simple syrup. Whoops. No biggie. Just ask for a replacement. All you have to say is, "This drink turned out to not be my thing. When you get a chance, could I replace it with something else?" That's it. No need to be overly apologetic, and no need for an explanation. Sending a drink back isn't rude unless you are.