Though debate over Martinis often centers around whether the better base spirit is gin or vodka, or if the drink should be garnished with an olive or a twist, or even if the drink should be shaken or stirred, there’s a new argument surrounding the tried-and-true classic: namely, whether or not it’s a scam.
If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid the trend’s grip on your algorithm, here’s the gist: TikTok users are rabid over the discovery that you can fit two Martinis into one Martini glass, claiming that they’ve been “cocktail catfished” whenever they’ve ordered the drink in the past.
“If you get a Martini that’s not filled to the brim, send it back,” says one of the most popular videos, with more than half a million likes. Another shows a man with two Cosmo-looking cocktails—or, just one, depending on whose side you’re on—asserting that “this is how Martini glasses were designed to take your money.” A third video shows a similar result, declaring, “It [bartending?] is all a scam.”
@magicmoments_tvBars Are Scamming You! 😱🍸♬ original sound - Magic Moments
While I agree that some cocktails may look more aesthetically pleasing when filled to the top—a Whiskey Sour for example, or even a Pornstar Martini, which has also come under scrutiny—I’m with Natalie Migliarini, author of Beautiful Booze, on this one. “You certainly get what you pay for,” says Migliarini, “and for me, I’d like to pay for quality, instead of quantity.”
The whole premise of this trend is akin to going into a restaurant and complaining that they didn’t fill your soup bowl to the very top. “You can’t go into a bar and expect to get two drinks for the price of one just because of the way it looks in a glass,” says Migliarini. “This is their product, and the price is right there on the menu.”
After all, the cost of a cocktail isn’t just determined by the amount of liquid in the glass, or the amount of liquid that could be put in the glass, but instead a whole host of factors: the quality and price of the spirits, the other ingredients that go into it, the labor and more.
Besides, does anyone really want a Martini, or any cocktail for that matter, filled to the rim of a Martini glass?
“If you’ve ever worked in service, you know that serving in a Martini glass is already hard enough, let alone drinking from one,” says Migliarini. The V-shaped glass doesn’t lend itself well to movement, even when it’s filled with a single Martini, as fierce defenders of the coupe glass will tell you. It’s one reason that the Martini glass fell out of favor, before its recent resurgence.
@sona_visavadia Guess how much it cost😭 #fyp #fakebody⚠️ #londonbars ♬ Funny - Gold-Tiger
Beyond the infamous V-shaped glass, it’s not just Martinis that have been deemed “scams”: The trend has since seeped its way into cocktails served over ice, with people complaining that the volume of a drink, when ice is removed, is disappointing. Archimedes’ principle is as close to trending as it’s ever going to get.
According to bartenders, though, the practice of serving something over a large rock is actually the opposite of a grift; it’s a way to give the drinker more control. “The main reason we use large-format ice is because it melts more slowly,” says Joaquín Simó, of the recently shuttered Pouring Ribbons in New York. “This means that in drinks like an Old-Fashioned, which is just barely adulterated booze, the guest can play an active role in how they enjoy their drink.” While it is up to the bartender to serve a balanced drink with the right ratio of flavors, a big cube allows a guest some freedom in how diluted they want their drink.
“But,” adds Simó, “if a guest really wants an Old-Fashioned without ice, they should just order a Sazerac instead.”