Why A Lukewarm Cocktail Might Be A Red Flag

When ordering a cocktail during happy hour, the last thing you'd expect is your Cosmopolitan or dirty martini to be served warm. Unless a hot toddy or Irish coffee is your beverage choice, typically bar drinks are best enjoyed cold. So what does it mean if you're served a warm gin and tonic? Is it a red flag that you may want to close your tab and head out to a different bar? 

An Insider article, written by a North Carolina bartender, explains that if you're served a warm drink that should be cold, chances are it wasn't made quite right. The bartender goes on to explain that if you are ordering a "shaken cocktail," it should be icy cold when poured from the tin. Additionally, she shares that any drink with a citrus base, such as orange juice, should always be shaken, as the result is a much faster and colder "chill" compared to if the bartender were to stir it.

It may be a matter of opinion

If your shaken cocktail doesn't register at the optimal 23 degrees Fahrenheit that Insider notes it should be, it may mean the bartender gave it a weak effort or didn't shake the mixture long enough. Either way, you aren't getting the cocktail you deserve.

According to the New York Times, not all cocktail experts agree on what's considered an appropriate temperature. Some bartenders believe that ice disrupts the taste of your favorite alcohol, and it shouldn't be used at all. In fact, Sother Teague, the beverage director at Amor y Amargo in NYC, told the Times that ice added to alcohol "mutes their aromatic qualities, which is 90% of flavor." 

But the general population that has enjoyed their favorite adult cocktail, either shaken or stirred, is a little hard to convince of a switch to a "no ice" drink. Seasoned Philadelphia bartender Colin Shearn shared his thoughts with the Times, and in regards to lukewarm drinks, which he admits can be a difficult sell, states, "It's a brave drink for a brave drinker." And there's your answer. Ice, please.