Cocktail Etiquette: The One Rule You Should Never Break

Cocktail Etiquette: The One Rule You Should Never Break

The internet responded appropriately when a New York Times article blasted the Aperol Spritz, claiming that it “drinks like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day. Not in a good way.” Not only is that a terribly inaccurate description, the entire premise of the article was so misplaced that you can’t help but wonder if the author had ever even tasted an Aperol Spritz, which just happens to be the best thing to happen to brunch since… ever.

Aligning with that #hottake clickbait, USA Today published a shit-piece with a headline reading “Your favorite cocktails are trash.” In it, the authors not only doubled-down on Aperol Spritz nonsense (sure, sub in Campari for Aperol but maybe call it a Campari Spritz, because that’s what is and it’s actually quite inferior to the Aperol Spritz), they also scolded readers for salting the rim of margaritas. Imagine wasting your time thinking that people shouldn’t put salt on their margaritas.

In full transparency, I’ve done my share of finger-waving regarding how certain cocktails should be made. But my intentions come from the heart of pure cocktail enthusiasm. Stay-at-home mixologists should at least educate themselves a bit and follow some cocktail etiquette, especially since most of the technical details are quite simple.

With that disclaimer aside, here’s the only cocktail rule you should never break:

Drink whatever cocktails you like, however you want to drink them.

That’s it. If you want to mix your $70 bottle of whiskey with Coke and ice? Go for it. It’s your whiskey and your choice. Don’t mind using cheap Prosecco in your Sunday brunch Aperol Spritz? Shrug, most people don’t. Want a Moscow Mule but only have ginger ale sitting around? It’s just vodka!

Of course, establishments that charge double-digits for cocktails owe it to us to serve them properly. And perhaps we owe that same decency to our house guests when creating home libations. But that’s where cocktail etiquette ends. You can’t spell “drink” without “I”, so make your cocktails however the hell you want and ignore all the preachy articles that tell you otherwise.


Published by Justin Bonnema

My name is Justin. I write for a living and sometimes for free. I enjoy cats, sports, cocktails, food, TV, movies, and technology. Most agree that I'm a margarita expert.