The Sneaky Way Bartenders Could Skip Topping Off A Drink

Alcohol is expensive and nobody wants to feel like they're getting ripped off. When you're out for a drink with some friends, the last thing you want is for that $15 cocktail to come up light. But if you think that's the case, what happens if you ask the bartender to make the drink stronger? Turns out, you bartender may in fact find sneaky ways to make you think you're getting more alcohol without actually adding another shot to your drink. 

There are a few reasons for this. For one, bartenders are trained to be able to read when a customer is getting too intoxicated and for good reason. If they over-serve someone who gets in their car and hurts someone on the drive home in an accident, the bartender can be held liable for giving them too much to drink, usually resulting in a heavy fine.

On top of that, nearly every bar is going to be keeping track of how much alcohol is being poured, too. If the bar sells 10 drinks but they are missing 12 drinks' worth of alcohol, the bartenders are going to be held responsible. You shouldn't be asking for stronger drinks, but if you do, bartenders may resort to tricking you into thinking their drink is stronger. Some bartenders admittedly do this by pouring a small amount of alcohol into the straw to make the drink appear stronger than it is. The strength of the drink hasn't changed but you likely won't realize it.

Do bartenders really do this?

On a Quora thread asking, "What are some dirty little secrets of bartending?," user Michael Glasser admits to pouring alcohol into customers' straws if they are complaining about the strength of the drink too much. In his words, "Voila, another 'could you make my drink stronger bro!' customer happy."

You may think that the practice is dishonest and should stop. From that perspective, if a bartender is telling you that they are making your drink stronger, that's what they should be doing. For the most part, bartenders will be honest. They'll tell you they can't do it unless you pay for a double. But if you're persistent, they may resort to tricking you to get you off their back in the midst of a busy shift.

You might think some bartenders are watering drinks down maliciously and lying about it, but it's more likely they are trying to avoid over-serving patrons. There are many different types of people at bars but nobody goes to their favorite happy hour spot to get lectured. Bartenders want you to have a good time and sometimes that means pulling one over on you.