Sir, a drink please....
They speak of my drinking but never of my thirst
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I don’t know about the rest of you mofos, but I’m getting kinda lonely for going out and being around people these days and one of the things I really miss is bar life.
I was a bartender for many years and before that I was a bar patron. As such, I’ve got a lot of opinions about your drink order. So coming at you now is a blazing hot sack of takes on what your drink says about you (I did a version of this on the old blog, but it’s due for an update):
Okay, back in the before times, I had a hard and fast rule on this one, which is that if you order this after 4pm you’d better visibly have just woken up. As in, you had better have sleep lines on your face and be in a bathrobe. Otherwise, go get fucked, since I am NOT interested in dealing with your whimsical Bloody Mary choice at all.
At 4, the construction workers are in the bar, the retirees are in there, Jeopardy just ended so everyone is drinking up and the idea of you ordering a 20 ingredient drink that’s specifically designed for the morning is some total bullshit that sucks your bartender’s time while simultaneously broadcasting that you don’t know shit about booze culture. In short, it’s either the move of a wanton dumbass or a pig.
HOWEVER! Now all bets are off. The world has ended! You want to take a nap at 9PM, who am I to fuck with you? You transmutated your source of income from being in a quasi-successful band to writing a newsletter? fine. You want to drink a bloody at 7pm, I get it. The entire notion of crowds and time is out the window right now. I look forward to getting back to a place where I can snootily fuck with your temporal Bloody Mary choice in the late afternoon, but to be honest, a good bloody (and I make the best bloodies in the world) sounds pretty great right now, and as of my writing of this it’s after 4, so whatever. Sow your wild oats (oh….no. we are in a pandemic. Don’t do that) and just be you. Just party. Also, and this is significant, I don’t bartend anymore so truly who cares?
There’s a lot to unpack here. I did a whole write up on just beer which actually was the first issue of this here newsletter ever. You can read it here. But that’s a little specific for what I’m talking about today. I’m just going for the most basic salient truth:
If you order a draft beer of any sort I assume you’re either an IPA style dingdong or you never have worked in a bar (the surface area of exposed beer in a pint glass makes it get hot and gross fast and the tap lines are probably not that clean unless you’re at a really nice place. I’ve never been more hungover than I have from just the most basic domestic tap beer from a place with dirty lines). Of course if you’re 23 and you order the PBR draft bc it’s 3 bucks, I understand that. can’t hate on poor youth.
Now, on the other hand, if you order a fancy craft beer in a bottle, I don’t think you know what you’re doing. I don’t think that’s how that shit is supposed to be consumed. I’m no big city brewmaster, but I think it has to be aerated or whatever, so order a pint glass with that shit and pour it down the middle of the glass like a gentleman, or risk being seen as a snooty dildo who ALSO does it wrong. As much as I just bagged on the pint glass up there, your can of Galactic Ska Warrior beer from Jeremy and Kate’s Elven Stronghold brewery in Vermont is probably supposed to have more nuance than just being chugged from said can but what the fuck do I know? I’d rather die than order that shit or even be associated with it. With no offense to you personally, it’s for dorks. Don’t trifle with all that. Get a bottle of Budweiser and be saved.
Gin n tonic
In my experience, this is a beverage ordered by old grizzled drunks and younger, sexier people of either gender (or those beyond gender) who fuck very wantonly (common parlance: sluts) so right there, if you order a gin and tonic, I like you.
Nothing about this drink says cutting edge or dignity. It says either “this is what I’m into and fuck you if you have a problem with it” or “I’m being subversive” and again, I ain’t mad at you for that if the end result is a gin and tonic. It’s the kind of drink you and the guy that kills you for being a hooker both drink before the curtain falls.
I can drink about one of these a year.
Speaking of gin, one time I was doing a day shift at this restaurant bar that I used to work at and this customer, an older gent, came in and ordered a Bloody Mary made with gin, with (get this) no ice.
Now I know that’s a CRAZY sounding order. To me it sounds fucking revolting. But there’s something so so so so cool about just knowing what you want and then going after it that it becomes so endearing and almost immediately, this dude was cool as shit in my eyes. Before I’d even popped the gin.
I think men tend to not understand the way women like men. Generally, cis heterosexual men are basic as shit in terms of their needs. It’s essentially porn. It’s almost playing cards with disambiguated body parts on them. A typical dude could be talked into anything by the synecdoche of a perfect ass or smile, but women like men (again, I’m talking cis het here) for completely different reasons.
But interestingly, lots of men don’t understand that at all. It makes for a weird thing.
This divide is why dudes with six pack abs become incels. They can’t comprehend how that isn't enough to at least get laid a few times. If a woman has cool boobs, people like her. That should work for my dumb looking stomach too. But that ain’t it.
What women like about men is confidence. That’s it. You think she likes your abs? no. She likes the confidence that those abs give you. You think she likes your money? Well, maybe, but do you know how confident being rich has made you? Do you think she likes your band? It’s possible. It’s more possible that being in a situation in which people love you has made you confident and therefore you’re now finally fuckable, despite that stupid fucking haircut.
This is what I like about someone who orders a Bloody Mary with gin and no ice. I love the vibe. Good for you. I don’t care that the vessel is gross. It’s irrelevant to me. Your attitude and confidence are on point and you’re getting one for free for sure.
This goes for any weird ass drink, btw. As long as it’s legit. Vodka milk? Gross as shit but you’ve got a friend in me. Vodka redbull no ice? Eh, gross. Speaking of…
You’re a pervert or a small woman who’s looking for a night filled with loud WOOOHOOOS or both. There is no wiggle room here. This is what kind of person drinks Voka red bull (as it’s often ordered). Listen, I’ve fucked with this shit here and there but as my friend Mike has said “I call that shit loudmouth soup.” He ain’t wrong and as a result I fuck with it no more.
This is the kinda thing that you drink and then wake up in jail or covered in glass. I don’t think I’m statistically inaccurate in saying that literally zero good things have come from someone drinking vodka red bull. I mean that sincerely. Oh, did you black out and get some cocaine and fuck your brother’s best friend against the dunkin donuts dumpster? Thank your friends at vodka red bull. it’s made by demons, and I like the sound of that on paper I guess, but in the world of shit that exists it’s not doing anyone any favors except for law enforcement agents who have quotas to meet.
Fun story: when I was a bartender a dude I went to high school with came in and asked for a very strong vodka red bull, no ice in a pint glass. I hadn’t seen him in 15 years which cut the small talk down about to the point where it was bearable for both of us.
It was 10AM which, hey man, if bars are open at 10AM it’s because people are drinking at 10AM. I have NO judgement when it comes to that kinda thing. Totally fine with me. Great even.
He then had another. Then another. They ARE good hangover cures but I personally would be a raging maniac after those 3 drinks (although the no ice thing would fuck with me for sure) and I’m literally very good at drinking. Getting back to zero is a hell of a thing and I’ve been there, but this motherfucker had clearly trained at altitude, as they say.
It was such a wild thing to watch, but not because it was gross or anything. It was wild because that’s what happens, man. You drink 12 vodka red bulls on Thursday night? You need at least 3 on Friday morning. the whole thing was instructive. Now I know. Now y’all know.
In conclusion, I don’t think this drink is a thing I’m ever fucking with again. No shame…as I said, it fucking murders your hangover (the one you have today….it’s not so kind to the one you have tomorrow), it’s just not for me. I also feel like this drink involves lots of loud ass squealing from weird chicks and bad stomach problems which is a terrible combo. no?
So, I used to do vodka sodas forever. In the words of Mitch Hedberg, I still do but I used to too. These are a drink that younger women tend to drink because in theory it’s got no calories. Which, yeah. I get it. I like it bc it’s a clear drink and if it’s warm or daytime I don’t want whiskey and sugar is almost never my thing. But that’s neither here nor there.
The thing is, when I stopped drinking entirely for like 4 months a few years ago without doing anything at all otherwise I ended up with six pack abs…again, doing nothing else. I’m being serious. I KNOW it sounds ludicrous and I know some y’all don’t believe me but it was true.
Here’s the thing: I don’t need those abs, but I will say from experience that vodka sodas don’t keep ya toned. In fact, quite the opposite. So this is a diet illusion. I guess if you drink one a month it’s probably not a big deal, but truly if you drink one chocolate milkshake packed with weight gainer powder once a month that’s not gonna affect your body either. However if you down a few of either every time someone comes over, very different story. It’s not, as they say on the internet, a life hack. It’s just another cocktail.
Final call, the drink of shrill women. Will not make you slim. Still poison. Unless you’re like me and just like the poisonous taste of alcohol and don’t want anything else fucking with it, this drink is as much of a lie as Bryeelee promising he’s gonna date you for real if you just go back to his house after you finish that next vodka soda.
Vodka and something with fruit juice
This is an old drunk’s actual morning drink. Bloody Marys are too rich. You can’t drink that on a bile stomach. you have to do vodka cranberry or a greyhound. These are constantly and consistently some of the most dignified drinks you can order from a bartender. Also, the cranberry will help you fight off that UTI that you got from that dirty dicked boy after you chugged all those vodka Red Bulls last week. so everyone wins. My faaaavorite people are greyhound people, and shout out to them specifically. The mornings can be hard.
This is an order for…okay. I’m being very anecdotal here, but in my bartending experience this is an order for gigantic wealthy black guys who have shaved polished heads and tiny asian girlfriends. I know this sounds wildly specific. Believe me, if I hadn’t seen it over and over and over again I wouldn’t bring it up at all.
There is a thing, and it’s this: when I see a huge beautiful (always bald) black dude and his tiny (also beautiful) asian girlfriend walk into a bar, I’ve always known that they would, and I’ve NEVER been inaccurate on this, order two reposado tequilas neat.
There’s other thing about this very specific kind of dude: very nice shirts, almost always button up blousy situations with no collars and pleated pants (???).
And here’s where I get into speculating but tell me I’m wrong: they all strike me as the kinds of couples who have like a 23rd floor luxury apartment with floor to ceiling windows just packed with Japanese screens. The dinner plates are all shiny onyx black and the flatware is all gold. That’s what these two have in their house, right? Also huge flatscreen TVs in wild places and a double head shower and a true Japanese bidet. And a couple of Tequila Ocho bottles on a marble drink cart beside an ice caddy and some super fancy crystal cocktail glasses.
I dunno. Maybe I’m out of my mind but honestly I can’t imagine anything I just said isn’t exactly what’s up. Anyway, go ahead and order tequila neat. Just know you’ll look ugly as shit doing it because the other people who do it are very attractive.
Tequila cocktail: not margarita
Oh. You’d like a Tequila Sunrise? Can I see some ID please? This isn’t an actual cocktail that anyone between 17 and 71 would drink literally ever. It’s a thing high school seniors tell high school freshmen about. It’s the slightly elevated in age and sophistication Slenderman of cocktails.
A few years ago my wife’s cousin took me aside at a Christmas party and said “Brendan, you know what’s the best when you’re boating? A little blanco and some soda water and a squeeze of lime. Trust me. you’ll love it.”
“Oh? When I’m boating? I’m not often boating, actually, but I’ll keep it in mind,” I said. This is mostly because I don’t have a boat but you get the idea. This is the thing with tequila cocktails. None of them are real at all.
As a general rule, tequila cocktails like this are the stomping grounds of perverts (my wife’s cousin excepted bc he’s actually really cool and chill and truly doesn’t seem like a pervert at all) But anyway, generally it’s some real Mar A Lago shit. Moving on.
Who doesn’t love a margarita? Even a shitty margarita (HEYO!) is better than the best bottle of Yoohoo. This drink and it’s widespread dissemination are responsible in no small way for lots of pregnancies (including at least one I’ve been part of) and also fun. I make the best margarita on earth as well. It’s not as game changing as my bloody, but you’d like it if you like tequila and sugar. Interestingly, I don’t like either of those things but I love margaritas.
Pretty margarita. Why won’t you let Behemoth come closer to you and so forth?
Such a good drink that I can’t fuck with at all. If you order it with gin, good for you. If you order it with vodka, no less impressed. Do you want the glass just washed with vermouth? If the answer is yes then you really know what you’re doing. Do you want it so dirty it looks like piss filtered through Saddam’s underground bunker? If so, I love you. If you want blue cheese olives on the same skewer as. your jalapeño olives then we are soulmates.
The secret truth of the martini is that ordering it up is for dorks. Order that shit on the rocks and have your goddamn drink without having to balance it on a pancake. I’m sure there are people who think they look more sophisticated drinking martini glass drinks, but they’re wrong. Almost spilling your drink at all times isn’t sophisticated by any metric I’ve ever been hipped to. You are vastly more sophisticated knowing what you don’t have to do and doing what works for you. this is the lesson of the day, apparently.
A complete pain in the ass to make and in my experience as a bartender these are usually ordered by a girls’ night that, as a crew, doesn’t tip well. Oh hi, pair of high maintenance bishes. what do you need? Oh chocolate martinis? thanks for the fifty cents. You’re not as hot as you think you are and I wouldn’t like you any more if you were.
One time, I got a pair of very pretty ladies doing chocolate martinis (think 2/3 of TLC if you need a rough visual) and they were great tippers, loved my jokes and were SO fun. I remember them because the whole time they were in my bar my only thought was “I’ve never experienced any chocolate martini orders that were even tolerable, much less totally great.” So ladies, if you’re out there, thank you. But for real, this shit’s for jokers and cheap fucks as a rule.
Whiskey and coke
This is a standard dork order and also a coward’s order and also the order of a guy who’s not like “fat” but who’s not exactly taking off his shirt at the volleyball game either. This is the drink of someone who doesn’t know what’s going on. Underagers, dorks, (again) cowards, and people who never grow up. I suppose there’s also a huge contingency of people who love cola and hate the taste of alcohol but yo, there are also people who put electric pen looking things in their dickholes for the purposes of shocking the insides of their dicks and I have a lot more in common with the whiskey coke crowd so let’s just say this: whiskey coke is a really good try, ya fucking nerd.
My friend Tim came to the states from London and ordered a vodka coke and I laughed my ass off in what was almost certainly a mean mockery. They don’t do cocktails over there as much (they do more now but this was 20 years ago) and um…this ain’t a real drink folks.
Whiskey soda (club soda….unflavored)
This was my drink back when I drank in bars. This is, to me, the most unimpeachable drink you can order (alongside Budweiser). I order Canadian Club and if they don’t have it I order Seagrams 7 (my granny’s whiskey of choice) or VO (Sean Nader’s choice), all of which are in the same family of 49th parallel adjacent blended whiskeys. They’re not too sweet and with soda, they just taste purely like the poison that you want to taste if you have a soul and want to exercise it.
In short, this is my order. I won’t call it the best order you can possibly do in a bar, but search your feelings Luke. You know it to be true.
Rum and coke
On my 30th birthday my wife threw me a surprise party. The next day was the most hungover I’ve ever been and my lovely wife brought me in a rum and coke with a bendy straw so I wouldn’t have to even sit up. That was almost 15 years ago.
Rum and coke is bad most of the time but if you’re brutally hungover, like, too hungover for even brushing your teeth the only cure is Malibu and coke. I know. You don’t believe me. You think Malibu is gross and tastes like tanning lotion. Try it while you’re dying before you totally naysay. I have friends who have insisted i’m out of my mind who now SWEAR this is the only true hangover cure. Are they right or are they just hopelessly brainwashed? Only Captain Ron knows for sure.
Any other kinda rum drink
How’s the beach? Oh, you’re not on the beach? Weird, because that’s the only acceptable place to drink one of these kinda drinks. What, are you wearing flip flops too? Sheesh. I’m calling the police on anyone in Chicago drinking a daiquiri if they’re not literally on the sand.
Kay. there you go. When humanity reconnects, keep this in mind. I love you all.
Thank you for writing. Love it always.
vodka redbull made me pass out in the bathroom of the house of blues like, 10 years ago. i was 25. i was an idiot.
i mean, still an idiot in some ways, only now i drink gin n tonic. also love a margarita of pretty much any variety.