Cocktail Lessons for the Modern Man

Alcohol is certainly a part of every man’s life, whether you drink or not. Social events, after work outings, and happy hours are increasingly becoming societal norms. While it may seem insignificant, ordering drinks says a lot about a man – with the infinite variety of mixers and liquors available, choosing a cocktail may seem overwhelming (probably not the best word, but trying to make a point here), so I’m here to offer some rules I follow when out with friends or acquaintances.

First off, keep the drinks simple. You don’t want to end up the guy in the corner passed out on the sofa from one too many Long Islands ß (which I will get to later). Bars usually have three main categories of liquor: well, call, and top shelf – eg, if you just order a gin and tonic, you will get the well [see CRAPPY] gin and tonic. Something better requires you to say by name, Absolut and Tonic, which is considered a call liquor. Top shelf is the best that particular establishment has to offer.

Second, some etiquette. In between drinks, try to have a glass of water. It will definitely help to keep you hydrated throughout the night, and keep your head from pounding the next morning [also get a bottle of Excedrin migraine, it works wonders]. Also, be sure to tip the bartender – a rule of thumb I use is a dollar for each drink, and if I have a tab, I usually leave anywhere from 10-15% depending on the service. Most of your drinks will come with a lemon or lime – PLEASE DO NOT BE THE GUY WHO SQUEEZES IT INTO YOUR DRINK. Use the little black straw and poke (that’s right, poke) the fruit inside your glass, and you will be able to taste it in your drink.

Picking a sensible drink is important, as (sadly) today’s society is largely based on image. As you begin to taste different liquors and brands, I’m sure you will begin to formulate your own opinion about the types of drinks and mixers you will choose. Until that time comes, I’d like to offer some cocktails below [some I’ve tried, some I have not] and the implications behind them:

“Cape Cod” a.k.a Vodka and Cranberry – for those of you who like a light drink with a bit of flavor, this may be a good drink to try. Your standard 80 proof vodka will have about 64 calories per serving (1 oz), so for all you gym-goers, this may be the drink for you. Try Stolichnaya, Ketel One, or Grey Goose. Classic drink for the cool guy on the scene.

“Gin and Tonic” a.k.a. Gin and Tonic – My personal favorite. The only drink I order when I am out, this is an exceptionally refreshing and light drink. 75 Calories per serving, which is slightly higher than vodka, still allows for a calorie conscious drink. With gin derived from juniper and also mixed with various botanicals, including spices, herbs, and fruits, you’ll definitely be walking with a little pep in your step after finishing. I will admit, it takes a bit to get used to the taste, but once you do you will never go back. Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire are popular brands. Classic cocktail. Period. Sophisticated gents with confidence and charisma.

“Greyhound” a.k.a. Vodka and Grapefruit – Another great choice, and popular among the gym-rats of the world. The grapefruit juice can be a bit tart in the mix, but nonetheless a light drink for a night out. See cape cod.

“Tom Collins” a.k.a. Gin, sour mix, and a splash of soda – Pretty good drink for those who like sweet tasting beverages. Think 7-Up with Gin. I feel like letting loose a bit.

“Madras” a.k.a. Vodka, Cranberry, and Orange Juice – Just like the pattern – for the Harvard and Yale types of the world.

“LONG ISLAND ICED TEA” A.K.A GIN, RUM, TEQUILA, VODKA, TRIPLE SEC, SOUR MIX, AND COLA. If you have ever ordered this, you get a get out of jail free card. I understand in college it’s the most sensible thing to do; you get four different liquors and you can get buzzed off of one maybe two and you’re good for the night. Keyword in that sentence was college. We are all men here. Let’s get serious – mixing liquors throughout the night with different drinks is bad enough, but in ONE cocktail?!?! These are usually ordered by either the I -think-I’m-cool-but -really-a-tool types, or just plain amateurs. Please don’t get caught at a happy hour or work event ordering one of these – you may be viewed as the town drunk, which may have been cool back in college, but not anymore. Notice how I have written more about this than any other; that means you SHOULD NEVER EVER IN YOUR LIFE ORDER THIS DRINK.

These are just a few to scratch the surface – I only touched upon the light liquors, which is what I usually drink (darker liquors aren’t my style), but hopefully you can give these a try and see what you think.


6 Responses to “Cocktail Lessons for the Modern Man”
  1. D.Ho says:

    The last time I visited your site I was looking to see if you had any articles on caring for shoes. To my surprise, the most recent post was just that. Now I came here today to look for any posts about night life and you just posted on ordering drinks! A little creepy that I’m syncing up with your blog. Keep it up yo.

  2. gpps says:

    i hate it when people order vodka cranberries as cape cods at my bar

  3. KMC says:

    i like Bacardi with Sprite. it’s doesn’t stain your teeth as bad as standard rum and coke, and also in my opinion it tastes a little better.

    or a good one if you want to take it easy is Malibu with pineapple juice.

    i’m not so sure i agree with Long Island Ice Tea drinkers = tools, but i do think it is the case for Red Bull and Vodka drinkers.

    I tried Red Bull TVR a few times…red bull tequila, AND vodka. definitely can’t be healthy for you.

  4. NSK says:

    Also a good option are the [liquor]-and-water drinks. Bourbon and water has overtaken G&Ts as my usual drink of choice.

    Also, I’d be interested to read manshion’s thoughts on the everywhere-prevalent speakeasy cocktail culture (think NYC bars like Milk & Honey, Death & Co, etc), and how the complex drinks they make there relate to other, less-fancy bars.

  5. coquette says:

    decent drinks. a lot of calorie counters usually opt for soda instead of tonic. it’s less calories and most say a little crisper. paired with the flavored stoli’s, it’s great for summer time drinks. u should come by and have a beer tasting and then you can post about that 🙂

    p.s. step up ur tip game. dollar per drink is correct but with a tab you are scamming the bartender and/or server. 15% is standard minimum tip and 20% if you get great service. if you want them to remember you and “take care of you” the next time, leave a little extra. most non-service industry people don’t know that there are ways to help out favorite customers including a discount that we can use at our discretion. but still remember to tip on what you drank, not the discounted tab or it may disappear the next time you visit.

  6. Interesting insight from coquette (I wonder who that is?).

    I tend to always agree with The Black George Clooney and The Editor – “STAY AWAY FROM long islands!” I think that happy hour, meaning any drinking social event from Mon-Fri should require a certain amount of restraint and class. Long islands defy that rationale, and by default belong in the college days anyway. I would say that scotch would be a good opportunity for those who only drink light liquor. You can learn about it, and develop your character while enjoying drinks as well. It is quite manly, and a step on the path of refinement and Renaissance.

    In terms of the drinks discussed, I tend to stray away from cocktails. My go-to’s are definitely the cran-vodka, or vodka-tonic with greygoose/belvedere/ketel one, when I have to get a mix. But I appreciate drinks and saving money, so I tend to shoot for all my liquor on the rocks; and in that regard, I tend to only drink premium. For any of you who don’t mind drinking straight vodka like a Russian (well at least a Russian from an old movie) try Stoli Elit ($65/bottle, $12-15/glass). Let the ice melt a bit, meaning sip light and enjoy casual conversation before you really start tasting it. It is smooth, and in many respects refreshing. For the tequila drinker, do the same with Patron, or Milagro. Scotch is something you’ll need to brush up on or introduce yourself to, but soon you will recognize names like The Glenlivet (and we’ll stop there, because I forgot the other two I’ve sampled).

    Great post.

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