Subliminal Sipping

People should never wear watches to a bar. If you hang around long enough you can usually tell what time it is by the way people act. For example, if lights are flashing and everyone around you is stumbling out of the bar like a cattle line-that means time to go. Or if your roommate is dancing on the bar it’s roughly 11:32pm and you just arrived 10 minutes ago. Then there is the time of night when boys and girls are loose enough to start being generous with their time/money-meaning-the point at which someone will offer to buy you a drink. For most maybe this happens around 12:30 or 1.

For me, this happens around closing time and the proposal is usually sloppy in an only-one-eye-is-open + drooling kind of way. This has always been worrisome for me. Not because of the boy but because of the dreaded, “What can I get you to drink?” I am pretty decisive when I say I’m not a very decisive person. If someone asks me what it is I like to drink, I usually just end up babbling “whatever you’re having”. While that seems convenient and easy going, the outcomes from saying this have been: me downing shots of Whiskey and gagging, Apple-tinis (red flag?), and every cheap beer out there. Maybe it is best to be a little more critical but surely what I choose will send a signal to the other person? That’s added pressure! If you are what you eat, then does that mean….you are what you drink?

I thought it best to start my research with a Facebook quiz on “What drink I would be if I was alcohol”. Minutes later, I was told that based on my answers I was most like a ‘beer’. I can only assume that the quiz mistook me for being dark, tall, and of Germanic descent. (Which conversely I am pale, average height, and Swedish). When Facebook failed, I decided to actually ask bar patrons what they thought on subliminal drink signals. A bouncer told me that he didn’t judge people based on what they drank, he judged them on the amount they could drink. Another fellow told me that he was sick of people buying drinks just to seem wealthy. He was fine with a girl keeping it simple with just a rum and coke (no ice). At one point, I asked my sister what she thought and she said rather bluntly, “Of course people judge you based on your drink order. If they judge you for what you’re wearing, what you’re driving, and what your career is….then what makes you think they aren’t considering your drink”? Even though my tipsy sister was petting my arm and slightly purring, I found her comment rather profound. Maybe I was right to stick to my old adage of “whatever you’re having”. At least in that way they couldn’t judge me based on their own drink order. Or does that make me seem like I can’t think for myself? What do certain drinks convey about people anyway?

Even if we are open and enlightened college kids, judging someone by their preference is bound to happen. While I could get into a long speech about character coming from within and not from what you drink, ultimately that’s a lesson you should already know. Instead here is a list of drinks that your date or friend will likely have never heard of. They can’t judge your drink if they don’t know what it is, right?

1) French 75-For those who like their drinks fruity but with a kick. It is made out of Gin, Champagne, lemon, orange and marachino cherry.

2) Singapore Sling – Its ingredients–Gin, lemon juice, pineapple juice, cherry brandy, bitters, and grenadine—It sounds exotic. Or stupid. Stupidly exotic?

3) Americano-Sweet vermouth, Campari, and club soda. Refreshing! Also it will confuse the other person because they’ll think you’re ordering coffee.

So far all of these suggestions probably sound a little girly. Or maybe too fancy for some slum pit or hole in the wall bar. If you’re feeling that way, then I suggest ordering a straight shot of something with a chaser. Why? Well you didn’t like any of my other ideas; however, according to a study at Cornell University, bartenders tend to pour more alcohol if they are pouring into a wide short glass than a tall slender one. In this case, you at least get more bang for your buck while also looking like a bad-ass.

Remember friends: don’t drink and judge; and if you feel paranoid about ordering then make up a complicated name and hope that the bartender plays along. If he/she doesn’t, then just scoff at the spotty establishment and its uneducated bartenders.

Kara goes to school at UT Austin, where she’s known for her comedic digital shorts, for saving a litter of kittens in a Mexico border-town, and for her mad cupcake baking skills.

Originally posted on Saturday, March 5th, 2011

4 Responses to “Subliminal Sipping”

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