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Bartenders Tell Us What They Think Are The Most Overrated Bottles Of Booze In 2019


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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

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Pappy New Year y’all! 🥃🎉🎆

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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.”

Carpano Antica

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.”

Grey Goose

Miguel de Leon, general manager and Sommelier at Pinch Chinese in New York City

“What is the most overrated bottle of booze and why? It’s vodka (it’s always vodka), it rhymes with Grey Goose, and is Grey Goose.”

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Dawn Kurtz, bartender at South Branch in Chicago

“Jameson. Now don’t get me wrong I spent a large portion of my 20’s enjoy this specific brand of Irish Whiskey, but I have grown, and in that time, I have learned that there are more options that actually taste smoother, Bushmills, Tullamore Dew. Much smoother Irish whiskey options. Don’t follow the trend.”

Bulleit Bourbon

Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

“Ah, I have to say it…Bulleit. It’s good whiskey, but it is not ‘small batch’, especially at that volume, unless you get into technicalities of the word. It’s great marketing, I will give you that. But, people, there are a number of great whiskeys. Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, Old Forester, Wild Turkey, Russell’s… Bulleit is not the ‘only’ whiskey out there.”

St Germain

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Try adding this in your G&T. 😋

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Ashley Bretthauer, bartender at The Diplomat in Milwaukee

“What is the most overrated bottle of booze? St Germain. Although lovely, it can be way overused to cover up a bad cocktail.”

Don Julio 1942

Mallory Kilsdonk, bartender at Bootlegger in San Diego

“1942. It’s an excellent tequila, but it’s far from the only and most superior añejo. There are so many other fabulous añejos out there I’d like to see people try more of instead of assuming 1942 is alone at the top.”

Tito’s Vodka

Andrew Meltzer, beverage director at Noosh in San Francisco

“I don’t like to be a hater, but the most overrated spirit is Tito’s Vodka. Have you ever actually tasted it neat in a comparison with similarly-priced vodkas? It doesn’t taste very good at all. It sells well because they have an amazing marketing department. Hand-crafted? I don’t think so. Gluten-free? All distilled spirits are gluten-free. I can’t believe that bars often charge as much for Tito’s as they do for brands that actually have good flavor, texture and depth, like Ketel One, Grey Goose or Belvedere.”

Casamigos Tequila

John Neumueller, beverage director at Spoonfed in Los Angeles

“I don’t really like this question. I just hope people drink whatever makes them happy. If that’s an overrated brand, so be it. But, if I had to pick, I’d say Casamigos. It’s a brilliantly marketed bottle of booze and the content just isn’t in line with the popularity.”

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