Finding an underrated bottle of booze is one of the great joys of drinking. These underutilized, underused, and downright unappreciated spirits don’t get the shine they deserve and discovering them carries a certain thrill. But there’s a flipside to those semi-hidden gems — the bottles that get far more hype than they ought to. In a saturated marketplace, there are dozens of bottles of whiskey, tequila, vodka, and other spirits that get purchased more often than their flavor and craftsmanship dictate. Sometimes this is because of good marketing, other times it’s a matter of consumer loyalty.
No matter which way you spin it, bartenders don’t like overhyped bottles. They cost too much and the cocktails they make don’t stand out. So they were all too happy to tell us some of the most overrated spirits on the market. Check out all of their answers below.
Pappy Van Winkle
Nathanael Mehrens, beverage director at Stay Golden Restaurant & Roastery in Nashville
“It might be a little obvious to say Pappy, but the fact that people drop so much cash on it has me struggling to name anything else. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely delicious, but it’s not $2,000 delicious. I have too much debt for that.”
Colin Berger, lead bartender at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant in San Diego
“In my opinion, Carpano Antica is highly overrated. It’s the “cool” mixologist’s first choice for cocktails requiring sweet vermouth, but I find it far too light for most applications of sweet vermouth. I prefer more bite and astringency from a vermouth being used in cocktails.”