The Seven Deadly Sins of “Insta-tenders” by @howdoidrinkthis

Note from us: sadly, as this story goes to press, the hit Instagram page has been taken down. One too many irate instatenders could not take a joke. The duo behind the page have also revealed their identities so we’d like to officially thanks Jess Arnott and Lewis Canavan for their efforts. We are eagerly awaiting news of a new handle or a new platform to share with you so stay tuned. 

We are two disgruntled hospitality workers, who found ourselves ranting to each other about the painfully shitty trends we see on Instagram bartending pages. So we started a snarky account, featuring the more ridiculous drinks we’ve seen, and it’s become apparent that we are not alone in our disdain.

There is definitely an alarming surge of ‘Instatenders’ or ‘Home Mixologists’, who are skipping over cocktail making 101. We highlight their flawed creations and provide a little insight into what we think along the way.

So the next time you go to post a drink to Instagram, here are some fundamental do’s and don’ts that will hopefully prevent you from being featured on the page.


Before we get started we have a quick caveat. There’s always an exception to every rule and in this case, it’s Tiki. Tiki gets away with so much dumb shit, because it gives no fucks and that’s kind of the magic of it right? Anyway, half of these rules should just be followed by “unless it’s Tiki”.

1. Cubes in coupes
This is it. This is the OG. The reason we started the whole page to begin with. Let us start by saying, FUCK CUBES IN COUPES. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed this trend popping up in mostly slick Euro-style bars. A beautiful, fine crystal coupe, with a clear ice cube in it so big that it could take down the goddamn Titanic.

Usually placed in there with a silly little pair of silver tongs.

Firstly, I’m a big fan of my front teeth. They aren’t perfect, but I feel like they kind of complete my look y’know? I see these big old rocks, slooshing around in there as I get to the end of the drink, wincing at the thought of it taking an Olympic ski jumping out the side of the glass to clonk through my front teeth, or the side of that fine crystal glass.

Also, a coupe is the perfect size for a full cocktail, roughly 150ml of delicious diluted booze should sit perfectly in there with a nice little finger width washline at the top. That’s the whole point of the design – pretty neat huh? Science tells us that the ice cube displaces a whole lot of liquid and honestly, it doesn’t matter how delicious that 60ml of cocktail is, I don’t want to fork out $20 for it.

This is the quintessential example of something that “looks cool” but makes no fucking sense when you really unpack it. Please, just stop.

Cubes in coupes and invisible washlines right here. Pic by us so no one can get mad!

2. Invisible washlines
Oh man, washlines. So often we see a beautiful recipe, in gorgeous glassware, with a thoughtful garnish, then filled to the absolute brim, meniscus jiggling aggressively above the rim. Why?! Someone’s gonna spill it just by looking at it, then your bartop/tables/expensive velveteen sofas are going to be sticky at best and water-damaged if you’re unlucky.

You are forcing the customer to do the most elegant of all maneuvers – the ol’ hands-free schlorp like a pig at a trough, just so they can get it from the bar to their table.

Your specs or the glassware need to change, otherwise we can safely assume you hate money, or your interior designer. Or both.

3. Annoying garnishes
Look, we ain’t the fun police. If the drink really demands it, then go ahead, chuck on a little tropical rainforest, complete with baby sloth.

But your giant clouds of sticky fairy floss, entire goddamn vegetables and movie scenes replicated by tiny lego men can be turfed into a raging dumpster fire where they belong.
Basically, if it’s not edible, it better serve a purpose other than blocking direct access to my delicious booze. And stop dusting shit on the outside of the glass. It’s messy and dumb.

4. Novelty glassware
The Simpsons always say it best don’t they? ‘A single plum, floating in brandy, served in a man’s hat.’ Dumb serving vessels are a gimmick and the longevity of their cool factor is non existent. How much did your bespoke furry cow hoof vessel cost? The answer is undoubtedly – too much.

If you are one of the glut of people making drinks in those stupid glass birds where you suck the drink out of its butt, shame on you. I feel for the poor bar back that has to get into the beak with a pipe cleaner each and every time someone orders a ‘Paper Crane’ or whatever you’ve called your super original twist on a classic. Plus where are you keeping all this shit? What bar has the space?

While we’re at it, down with Copa glasses too. Marketing departments of big brands love trying to push that shit on us, so start saying no. You cannot make a good G&T in them. Fact. If we were in Spain where the bartenders pour gin shots big enough to drown Yao Ming, then sure. But even 60mls of spirit turns into a tonic-heavy watery mess in these bathtubs. Thumbs down.

5. Citrus overload
Ok so this isn’t a “trend” per se, but we’ve seen it a lot and it’s a pet peeve of ours. If it were up to us, drinks would have 25ml citrus max, on pain of death. However, we can understand some insecure bar managers don’t trust you to pour anything other than full jigger decrements, so 30ml is acceptable… just. But if you have 40ml of lime juice, 30ml grapefruit and 60ml pineapple all in one drink I can only assume you are sponsored by Gaviscon.

I love a Tommy’s or twelve as much as the next guy, and I don’t want to wake up feeling like I’ve deepthroated a switch-blade every time I burp. Balance your drinks properly and you’ll never need more than a single shot. Plus, the owners will love you, ‘cause lime juice ain’t cheap these days!

6. Drinks for the ‘Gram, not for service
You shouldn’t be putting a drink up if you can’t make it in a bar. We have had ‘grammars claiming they make ‘art’, not servable drinks… lol. It’s a cocktail guys, not a fucking Basquiat masterpiece.

This is the cardinal sin of Instagram ‘home bartenders’ who haven’t spent enough time behind the stick. If you can’t make it in a bar, then you probably can’t make it at home, which is what you claim the point of your shitty page is in the first place.

Spending an hour making something pretty for social media isn’t enough, it has to be smashable! Which brings us to our next point…

7. Remember the yum
Let’s all just remember why we are here in the first place shall we – to facilitate a good time.

If your bar requires your guests to sit still in front of a moss filled terrarium while a waiter blathers the 17 ingredients in the petrichor foam at you then I have some bad news for you… your bar is not fun.

I’m not saying drinks can’t be complex and interesting, far from it. But they do have to be yummy. Not negotiable. Be honest with me – how many people have reordered that mushroom and bone broth Manhattan riff?

If it’s not delicious, then what is the actual point? Take a step back, look at the weird shit you’re putting in your drink and decide if it’s there for flavour or to stroke your own ego.
We pour liquid from one glass into another one, so try not to take yourself too seriously because trust me honey, nobody else does.