What that drink says about you

On Saturday, I went out to a sort-of-upscale Irish sports bar in the Lower Haight to watch the Michigan State football game with some other alumni. Besides the fact that there would be other green-and-white-clad people there, the bar’s attraction was their bottomless mimosas. For $8, you could have as many of those little darlings as you wanted. Because the game started at 12:30 Pacific time, I figured it was much more appropriate to get tipsy from some champagne and orange juice than from a couple of long islands. I planned to be the classiest drunk Michigan State fan in San Francisco.

When we got to the bar and found the tables of green and white, I caught a glimpse of the mimosas. What I liked was the large pitcher on the table. What alarmed me were the tiny champagne glasses. Girls in lots of makeup with perfectly tousled hair wearing football jerseys sipped from the delicate-stemmed glasses like they were at a fucking Sunday afternoon tea party with their grandmothers. Despite how much I love champagne, I decided this would not do. It would not do at all.

Instead, I ordered a Blue Moon. For the longest time, I thought beer was disgusting and that it smelled like vomit. I couldn’t understand why anyone drank it. I only drank it when I played drinking games in college and even then, I drank it like a shot — to get it over with as quickly as possible. I’ve since learned to tolerate some beers, but it’s not really the beer that I like — it’s the message it sends. In this case, I was trying to meet new people, thus I wanted to look approachable and not as weird as I actually am. Drinking a Blue Moon while watching the Spartans says hey, I’m not just drinking beer to get crunk. I like a good beer. Otherwise I’d be having a PBR. I’m not uptight, but I’m not pretentious either. You can talk to me about this game and I’ll probably know what you’re talking about. Let’s be friends.

The girl sitting across from me came back from the bar with a tall glass of something clearish and bubbly with a lime, and I asked her what she was drinking. “Ginger ale,” she said, and I thought WHAT A SQUARE. Even as someone who originally wanted to be a nondrinker, I used her drink to make a complete judgment on her personality. (Even though she went to school at Michigan State, she thought Canada Dry ginger ale was better than Vernors ginger ale, when Vernors is the OBVIOUSLY SUPERIOR CHOICE, so it may partly have been that that skewed my judgment).

When I ask someone “What are you drinking?” I’m not asking because I really care. (Do you ever ask someone what they had for dinner and really want to know the answer? Unless you have children, I’m guessing the answer is no.) I’m asking because I’m going to go ahead and base your personality on your answer. Here are some common drinks and what I think about you when you drink them at a bar (or what I think about myself when I drink them):

Water: You’re the designated driver. Or you’re trying to sober up. You’re responsible, probably more so than I am. Will you bring me a water later, when I’m too drunk to realize I need one?

Rum and coke: You just turned 21 and don’t know what else to order.

Long island: You are outgoing and entertaining. You’d probably be that way even if you weren’t drinking four different types of alcohol.

Gin and tonic: You’re a classy motherfucker, because I don’t think these taste very good. Since you like something that isn’t very tasty, then you’re a unique little snowflake.

PBR: The obvious judgment is that you’re a hipster, but really it’s probably that you are a college student or an unsuccessful young professional, or very nearly unemployed, or a writer, and this was the cheapest thing on the menu.

Whiskey straight: You probably read poetry for fun and buy music only on vinyl. You probably actually have a working record player. You might have father issues and are perpetually sad. I’m too intimidated and immature to speak to you.

Tequila straight: You are an efficient drinker. I’d like you to manage my investment portfolio.

Wine: You are European. Or, if you’re American, you would rather be anywhere but here. You’re hoping this wine gives you a headache so you can feign distress and go home to your bed. Unless you’re at a wine bar, in which case, carry on. And order me a bottle.

Shots: It’s your birthday. Or you are a bachelorette.

Pitcher of beer: You are in a fraternity, or you really like to use the word “bro.” You like to laugh and spill things. You have a loud voice but you don’t mind because it makes people look at you. I’ll mock you until I go home, secretly upset that your tab was so much smaller than mine.

Soda: You are pregnant.

What do you think? Would you have judged me for having that mimosa? What drinks would you add?

Note: Context is important. Drinking wine with dinner is much different than drinking wine at a bar, just like drinking a Bud Light at a tailgate is different than ordering it on tap. No offense was intended. If you were offended, I apologize, but you should probably go have a drink.

Jill Kolongowski is a freelance writer and editor living in San Francisco. When she’s not cooking, running, or reading, she blogs at jillkolongowski.com. Follow her on Twitter at @jillkolongowski.

17 Responses to “What that drink says about you”
  1. Lindsey says:

    I went to a bar this weekend to watch the U of M game with Husband and some friends.
    Husband ordered beer, because he’s alumni at an alumni bar watching his team win.
    Our other male alumni companion ordered soda. No, he’s not pregnant, he’s a doctor and he was on call. He mostly indulged in partaking of the nachos I ordered.
    His wife and I ordered Bloody Marys. I can’t speak to her motivations for ordering that drink, but she suggested it and I followed suit because I really enjoy savory tomato flavored spicy things and olives. Bloody Marys are like little tangy, satisfying alcoholic appetizers when you feel like ordering food isn’t too far off.
    If I had seen you drinking a mimosa, Jill, I probably would have thought:
    Man, I want one!
    It’s probably her birthday.

    It was actually my birthday, but that’s where the whole nachos thing comes in.

    • Jill Kolongowski says:

      Context is important, as are nachos. I fully approve of all comments. (I actually love mimosas, I just felt silly drinking one at an Irish pub :) I don’t like Bloody Marys, but everyone says that’s because I haven’t had a good one.

  2. BrainRants says:

    This is funny. Gave me a great idea for a blog post of my own.

  3. effraeti says:

    lol I love the Disclaimer at the bottom! Great post. :)


  4. Chris Carpenter says:

    My drink of choice is straight scotch whiskey. I have a book of Emily Dickinson by my bed and a record player with a brand new needle in my living room. As far as I know, I do not have father issues and I generally have a cheerful disposition. So, at 50% your system is still more accurate than astrology.

    As a bonus, I have a good friend who likes gin and tonics who is in fact a very unique snowflake.

    Ginger ale (without whiskey in it) makes me think the person doesn’t want to drink, but wants to appear as though they are. And for the record, Schweppes Ginger Ale kicks the crap out of Vernors. Although every product without the word “Canadian” in its name is better than any product with it.

    • Jill Kolongowski says:

      50% makes me as good as a coin toss. I’ll take it. But I should say that my system is completely biased, exaggerated, and subjective. I sometimes drink whiskey straight, too, partly because it’s delicious and partly to up my cool factor.

      Even if we don’t agree about ginger ale, I do agree about “Canadian.”

  5. anniecardi says:

    Once I ordered a vodka soda (for me) and a dark and stormy (for Walt), and two people at the bar commented on how cool it was to order a dark and stormy. I didn’t tell them it wasn’t my drink.

    • Jill Kolongowski says:

      Oh goodness, Dark and Stormys are delicious, but you’re definitely cool without them. I’d definitely put vodka sodas in the same category as G&T’s.

  6. Jeff says:

    I want there to be a drink that tastes like a Mcgriddle, because that shit is awesome. Pancakes for bread? Yes please.

  7. Pam Murray says:

    What does it say about you if you order Mojitos, even if you are pretty sure the bar doesn’t have all the ingredients? That you are eternally optimistic, or you just like to eff with the bartenders by asking for stuff they don’t know how to make?

    • Jill Kolongowski says:

      Optimistic, definitely. I had excellent mojitos in Spain, but I’ve yet to have one here that wasn’t just munching away on wilted mint leaves like a sad little salad.

  8. Ben says:

    I like Rum and Cokes. Sadness.

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