Tasting Rant - How to Taste Cocktails

Bartenders, this one is for you. Stop tasting with straws! Grab you own pimp cup taster and leave the straws alone.


Chris Milligan 11 Nov 2010
9:44 am

Bravo.  And I totally agree.  I keep a small cocktail glass nearby for that very reason.

And a tangent to the waste issue.  I feel the same about bottle water.

blair frodelius 12 Nov 2010
4:06 am

I definitely agree with pre-tasting the drinks.  There have been times I got distracted and forgot a key ingredient.  As well, sometimes juices can be more or less bitter, thus affecting the finished cocktail. 

My only question is if you are in the weeds with guests, does it make sense to have to rinse your pimp cup between tastings?  I’m just thinking that this will eat up time which could be spent serving.  Taking an extra 10 seconds to rinse your cup after every drink will add up considerably in an evening.  Maybe going to a biodegradable straw?



Chris Milligan 12 Nov 2010
6:22 am

Biodegradable or not, I would argue that this is still a “waste” of resource though a better option than plastic ones. 

As far as being weeded, I don’t take the time to taste every drink and agree that it would slow up service:  it’s just not practical.  But, I do check every few drinks especially ones that I know have delicate proportions, or are new in the bar.


Kimberly Patton-Bragg 13 Nov 2010
9:09 am

Well done! Bringing my “pimp cup” to work today! It’s amazing what you get locked into out of habit. I quit smoking, I can quit the straw.

Jamie Boudreau 29 Nov 2010
3:10 pm

I usually store my pimp cup upside down, which takes care of the cleaning issue. If there is still some residual, I usually have a beer glass rinser/chiller right next to me that we use to clean our shakers which takes a fraction of a second to use. It takes all of 1 second to taste so I don’t feel that time is an issue. If you have time to taste with a straw, you have time to taste with a cup. I rather taste drinks that may be questionable than send out inconsistent product.
Obviously, if you are in a club, you are not tasting, but then again, people aren’t expecting you to either. And you don’t have to taste every drink, just the ones that could have issues, which usually equates to 75-100 drinks in a ten hour shift.

Greg Patenaude 1 Dec 2010
4:24 pm

I’m not a bartender but this just makes sense.  What exactly is a pimp cup?  Is it just simple cup, a modified jigger, or is it something special?  Is there a history behind the pimp cup?



Nick Rose 1 Dec 2010
9:55 pm

Can I just say it is such a pleasure to see you back on the air Jamie! Small Screen, the ol’ blog roll and especially your contributions sent me on my own whirlwind through cocktail bars all over the world to try and find out everything I could about bar-tending and bars. I’ve just opened my own bar in Melbourne and had a spare moment to get back to my education and there you have it! Something new I had totally overlooked.

Consider me educated again and I have just the right pimp cup for this too. Thanks again mate!

Chip 14 Dec 2010
10:58 am

Where did you purchase your ‘pimp’ cup? I have a small shot glass that I use at home, but it really isn’t the same.  The closest thing I have been able to find is a small egg cup.

Thanks for the post,


Jamie Boudreau 14 Dec 2010
1:50 pm

It is an Underberg cup. Buy enough Underberg and you can get one too! Other options are sherry/port glasses and tulip-shaped genever glasses.

TikiGeeki 14 May 2011
6:12 pm

I love it when bartenders taste their creations, I feel like they really care about the quality.  However, I have to say I’d feel like a little too much of my cocktail is be siphoned off if I see them constantly pouring some into their own cup.  Have you had any negative responses from people?

Jamie Boudreau 14 May 2011
6:22 pm

I haven’t, and the reality is that I’m actually taking less than a straw siphons off.

Chris Milligan 15 May 2011
7:09 am

Niether have I.  Most guests feel the smae you you:  quality matters

Oliver Carpenter 13 Sep 2011
7:02 am

Where does one find a pimp cup like yours

Celestino 26 Feb 2013
12:32 am

Mr. Boudreau,

Out of curiosity, during your career, how many times have you decided to make the customer a new cocktail after first tasting it yourself and thinking “Oh wow I can’t server this, it tastes horrible!”

Jamie Boudreau 26 Feb 2013
10:10 pm

While it is rare that I have to throw out a cocktail, I quite often tweak cocktails to perfect them, especially as I make many bespoke cocktails for guests.

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