The 10 Liquor Bottles Bartenders Hate the Most
Why your favorite spirit might give your barkeeper a headache
Matthew Rangel knows how to get a TikTok comment section riled up. Admittedly, it’s not too challenging to make users on TikTok irate over trivial matters, but Rangel hits many viewers where it hurts the most: their favorite bottle of alcohol.
Rangel, an actor and Wisconsin bartender, has a series on his TikTok account @therealmattyr where he reveals the liquor bottles that piss him off as a bartender. The videos have gone super viral (two of which have racked up 3.6 and 6.3 million views respectively) and naturally, prompt a lively discourse in the comment sections.
If you spend time on TikTok, you know content about the service industry is popular on the video-sharing app. When the pandemic hit, bartenders, whose industry was at a standstill, turned to TikTok to shake and share virtual cocktails. Beyond passing along recipes, bartenders, waiters and other service industry workers on TikTok have posted short comedy sketches about the line of work, retold shocking stories about asshole-y customers and even disclosed some industry secrets.
Like other creators on the platform, Rangel’s experience as a bartender gave him the idea for his now-viral series.
“The bottle thing just came out of me using bottles for six or seven years as a bartender,” he tells InsideHook, adding that one beloved bottle of vodka, and its annoying paper collar, in particular, was his gateway in.
“The biggest one for me was the Tito’s bottle and the wrapper around it because everybody hates that thing. Every single person hates it,” he says. While Rangel certainly receives lots of supportive comments agreeing with his bottle opinions, he notes his anti-Tito’s take helped boost engagement. (The video now has 6.3 million views, 436K likes and almost 8,000 comments.)
“There are a lot of Tito’s fans or Rumple Minze fans that will jump in the comments and be like, ‘Hey, don’t talk crap about my favorite liquor.’ You know? Wisconsin has a famous beer, Spotted Cow. I talk crap about Spotted Cow all the time, not because it’s like a terrible beer, but because it’s kind of controversial to say as a Wisconsinite. So anything to stir the pot, I guess. I knew I could stir the pot with opinions, either positive or somewhat negative, with the bottles. And it flowed from there.”
But Rangel isn’t merely spouting off outlandish opinions to garner views. Bartenders have been complaining about the same liquor bottles on social media platforms for at least five years by proof of this Reddit thread in r/bartenders that discusses Tito’s loathed paper ring (and likely for decades IRL).
So we asked Rangel to share the top ten liquor bottles he despises most as a bartender, along with what exactly makes them so bothersome (in no particular order):
“I would say a lot of people have issues with Patrón. The wrapper, the cork, the packaging on it. And you have to have a special pour spout that fits into that bottle particularly. I think they sell them for seven to ten dollars a pop from their distributor, which I think is crazy.
Yeah, I get it. You want to have a special bottle, but then you have to have a special pour spout on top of that. Most bottles honestly are universal with pour spouts. So that kind of irks me.”
“So with the paper collar, I think Titos give a percentage to dog shelters and whatnot. So they’re using it as a collar thing. But I mean, it wastes so much paper. I just think you can slap a sticker on the side of the bottle if you wanted to keep it that way. I think the collar is unnecessary.”
“The Maker’s Mark’s wax is super annoying. It’s not super problematic, but when you have the wax there and then you take off the cap, it’s a tiny cap. Then you have a thick amount of wax on there and it’s never consistent. Also, the long neck and the fat square bottle of the Maker’s Mark make it really weird and awkward to hold and pour.”
“Goldschläger is kind of the same thing as Maker’s with the long neck, but it’s a round bottle. You can’t fit that in your speedwell, and nobody’s going to put that on a back bar. You put it inside of a cooler to chill it out, and it takes up three spaces worth of your cooler space.”
Bailey’s, RumChata, Hendrick’s — and all non-transparent bottles
“Any bottle that isn’t transparent, like Bailey’s, RumChata, Hendrick’s, it’s just a pain in the ass to try and figure out how much you have left in that bottle. Especially those ones, they weigh a decent amount. So you can’t really feel it out. You would have to get a scale to weigh it out, and some bars actually do that with scales for non-transparent bottles.”
“It’s not necessarily the bottle, but the wrapper on top of it. It’s so hard to untwist and unscrew the whole thing. Sometimes all of it comes off. Sometimes you can’t cut it off at all. Sometimes you need a knife to get in there, a chainsaw, to cut off the wrapper, just to open up the Jack Daniel’s.
A lot of people agreed and disagreed with me about the Jack wrapper. People were saying, ‘You have to grip it, really a certain way and really use the small, tiny top cap and twist it off.’ And it’ll snap because it’s perforated. But I don’t think it’s perforated enough or I’m just weak.”
“Kind of the same thing as Patrón. Crown Royal’s shape is terrible. The packaging it comes in — there’s so much stuff. You have the really weird plastic, crown-shaped cap on top of it, and then it’s a tiny, tiny hole to pour out of. So pour spots get stuck in there often, and it’s awkward to hold and handle. Also, if you want to really display it, it takes up two spaces on your shelf.”
“The 1800 bottle. Its shape is just … It’s like a triangle. It’s like a tall pyramid, really weird and awkward to hold and handle. I don’t want to hold a bottle with two hands and try and pour it. And the cap, I know in the past, the cap used to have a cool feature where you could pour a shot inside of the cap, flip it back over and then take the cap off, and that would be an ounce. Now, it’s just a really, really, really, really fat bottle top for no reason.
I think there are some people who are going around saying it has a lip on it, and it’s just big enough to put a shot glass on. So you can put salt on top of the cap and rim it for shots. But that sounds terribly unhygienic and not fun at all to clean up. So I call BS on that one.”
“The Galliano bottle is simply insane. It’s basically a baseball bat up there. Nobody uses it. They only use it for Harvey Wallbangers. Most of my bars don’t even carry it anymore. They’re like, ‘No, we don’t want that.’ It’s going to sit on the shelf for five years. There’s just nowhere to put it. You have to put it on the way tippy top. I would simply rather not make Harvey Wallbangers with the Galliano bottle.”
And last but not least…
“The final bottle that pisses me off is an empty bottle during a rush — something I have to go and replace.”
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