Cocktail historian David Wondrich, author of recent books on punch and on the legendary bartender Jerry Thomas, had a nice little essay on Gourmet.com listing what various drink orders might say about you. Here’s a couple of my favorites:
Location: Anywhere and everywhere
Order: A Bud Light
Verdict: There’s nothing wrong with the occasional Bud Light, particularly if your choice has to be light beer or no beer at all, but if that’s all you ever drink you’d likely wear jeans and sneakers to your daughter’s wedding, and “neat” sweatpants if you could get away with them.
Location: Anywhere at all
Order: Grey Goose and soda
Verdict: The dissonance here between puritanical simplicity and conspicuous consumption—once you mix vodka with ice and soda water, any difference between brands is instantly erased, so you might as well be drinking Georgi—places you as a member of the striving classes. There is an added possibility that you will be unpleasant to the help.
Location: Dive bar
Order: A Pickleback (that’s a shot of Jameson with a shot of pickle brine as a chaser)
Verdict: You spend too much time on social media.
Wondrich softens the sting of his judgment in the first example — there’s nothing wrong with the occasional order of anything. His ire is reserved for those who order the same thing every time, and the wrong thing in a given circumstance (like a glass of pinot grigio in a dive bar, or the jerk who tries to stump a regular bartender with an exotic cocktail he knows the bar won’t be able to furnish).
Me? I’ll always order something on the menu if I’m at a creative cocktail bar. At a dive, it’s most rewarding to go with a tap beer or straight whiskey. At a regular bar with no particular reputation for great cocktails, I’ll almost always order a Rusty Nail: two or three parts scotch, one part Drambuie. It’s really hard to mess it up. What does that say about me? That I’ve thought about this an awful lot.
Read the rest of Wondrich’s essay here.