The Shot Bartenders See As A Big Red Flag

Some drinks, like fine wines and single malt scotch, are made for sipping so that one can fully appreciate the flavors. Other drinks are more valued for their potency, owing to their high alcohol content (and ability to get you tipsy). These drinks, such as shooters that combine high-proof liquors with little regard for the harmony of flavors, tend to be dreaded by bartenders.

Why is this? It's mainly because bartenders can be held legally responsible for over-serving their patrons. Thus, it's in their best interests, and that of the establishments that employ them, to always be on the lookout for patrons who order high-proof drinks, and might quickly get drunk and become a liability. 

For decades, the Long Island iced tea (LIT is an apt acronym) has been the king of high-proof cocktails, and is likely to get you monitored by your bartender. It famously contains four different liquors – vodka, rum, tequila, and gin — with minimal mixers to dilute the alcohol content. It doesn't have much to offer in terms of trendiness or flavor, so most bar patrons order a LIT for its pure boozy alcohol content. However, even more potent is the Five Star General, a shot with a powerful mix of 151-proof rum, Jaegermeister, Rumple Minze, Goldschlager, and tequila. As you might image, this drink is also a big red flag for bartenders.

The Five Star General got its name for a reason

People go to bars to have a good time, and alcohol does play a part in fostering a convivial atmosphere. But bartenders are understandingly judgmental of those who seem intent not only on having a good time, but getting drunk on the cheap. 

"Nobody orders a Long Island Iced Tea because it tastes good," notes Medium writer and former bar employee Rocco Pendola. "They order it with the sole purpose of getting drunk and the perception that it's the best value on the path to that goal." This is why a bartender may keep an eye on a customer who starts off their night with a Long Island Iced Tea or Five Star General, and even more so if they order another.

As legendarily strong as the Long Island iced tea is, the Five Star General is inarguably stronger. A LIT at least includes orange-flavored triple sec liqueur, lemon juice, and cola to somewhat dilute the alcohol. The Five Star General, by contrast, contains five liquors with no mixers, hence the moniker equating it to the highest-ranking member of the U.S. Army. Needless to say, if you plan to try this drink out at a bar sometime soon, you might want to sip slowly and limit yourself to just one shot.

The super-strong ingredients in a Five Star General

The strongest of the Five Star General's ingredients is 151-proof rum. Bacardi 151 is often called for in recipes for this shot, but the company stopped making this product in 2016. The reason? "We care for our customers' health and wellbeing," per Bacardi. The company cites the rum's highly flammable qualities as the reason for discontinuation, but its extremely high ABV (alcohol by volume) of 75.5 % likely didn't make it the safest choice to drink, either.

The Five Star General also uses Rumple Minz and gold-flaked Goldschlager, which are both schnapps, a type of German-style brandy that often showcases fruits or spices. The former is peppermint-flavored and made in Germany, and the latter is cinnamon-flavored and is native to Switzerland. Both are stronger than most other schnapps, which average about 40 proof. Rumple Minz is a whopping 100 proof, while Goldschlager is even stronger at 107 proof. 

Tequila and Jagermeister (a German digestif that's comparatively more modest 70 proof) finish the drink. The ingredients can be poured into a shot glass in layers, or shaken with ice and strained. If you order this drink at the bar, be prepared for the bartender to give you the side-eye the entire night. And if you find that it's too strong for you at first sip, try sending the drink back politely, rather grinning and bearing it.