Here are the most recommended brand name liquors overall.


I know younger generations are reportedly drinking less. They’re more concerned about their health and worried about playing the fool on social media. Frankly, I’m fine with that. Be healthy! Don’t look dumb! But it’s not just alcohol they’re missing out on; it’s also bar culture — like simple pleasure of befriending a bartender at your local watering hole, someone who knows what you like and who you trust to recommend your next drink.

For 15 years now, the consumer insights company MetrixLab has taken this idea of the knowledgeable bartender and turned it into a list of the “Most Recommended Spirit Brands” as part of its annual MetrixLab MSS US Bartender Influencer Study. To reach its conclusions, the agency asks almost 10,000 American bartenders “to rank all the major spirits brands by the frequency they recommend them to customers” (with “major” brands being an important qualifier) and then breaks the results down by category.

Topping the list this year for “Overall Spirit” is the tequila brand Patron, which also lead the pack last year after toppling the previous overall champion Fireball. Other top recommendations in major categories include Bombay Sapphire as the most recommended gin, Bacardi as the most recommended rum, Grey Goose as the most recommended vodka, and Jack Daniel’s as the most recommended whiskey. However, on that last one, it’s worth noting that the survey also breaks out Blended Scotch and Single Malt as categories, where Johnnie Walker and The Macallan topped the competition respectively. (The takeaway would seem to be that if you want Scotch, don’t ask for whiskey, ask for Scotch!)

One other category of note: What is bartenders’ most recommended shot? Since 2015, Fireball has been the go-to choice, but for 2018, we have a new shots champion: Once again, Jack Daniel’s was the most named choice for what a bartender will recommend if you’re looking to get extra loose.

Credit: David Ward/Getty Images

“The role of the influencer in today’s competitive marketing environment cannot be overstated. US bartenders are extremely knowledgeable about the spirits category and its many brands. As they are in direct contact with approximately 700 customers per week on average, they can reinforce a brand’s image, and with the right messaging and programming, they can move the consumer to that brand to facilitate a great consumption experience. There are over 800,000 Bartender Influencers in the US making brand recommendations every day, so clearly these professionals are able to make or break a brand’s success in the on-premise environment,” explained Kevin Moran, EVP Global Key Accounts at MetrixLab. “Bartenders are making recommendations to roughly 44% of their customers in the US, so winning these awards means a brand has the opportunity for a higher share of purchase.”