The "Girlie Drink" Myth: Why You Should Stop Gendering Cocktails
Depending on where you live and how you live your life, there’s a good chance you’re going to be heading back to the bar soon. I don’t mean that you were at the bar today and you’re going back for another round after a costume change (although, if you are doing that, good for you. Live your life). I mean that bars are re-opening and there’s a stool out there begging to have your butt on it.
Depending also on how you spent your quarantine, you’re either a total lightweight now, or you got too used to drinking bathtub spirits with no ice or mix because you didn’t have a martini shaker or couldn’t be assed to prepare a cocktail. Again, good for you, whichever one of these you are.
So what are both of you types going to order when you get approached by your local, somehow-saltier-than-before-the-pandemic bartender? Well, I don’t like saying it, because it’s problematic and regressive, but (deep breath, big sigh) “girlie” drinks.
Spoil yourself like you did with all those Amazon Tenga products you bought over the last year and a half, but do it with lime cordial, coupes, and a splash of cran. Have yourself a girli–
You know what? No. We’re not calling them that anymore. I hate it. The women in your life likely hate it. Your bartender definitely hates it. It’s antiquated and it’s time you embrace a life you never knew you could have. It’s 2021 and we are not gendering cocktails anymore. Get on the bus. We’re going to a fancy place of splendid flavors that dance on your tongue and give you warm feelings all the way down to the roost inside you where the best liquor potions will reside.
The Sky(y Vodka) is the Limit
I don’t care if you need to start this journey by referring to a vodka-cran as a “Cape Cod”, or politely request no straw in your Collins glass full of ice and tasty delights. It’s just time to put the craft beer menu back where it belongs: at your gastro-brewery-pub or wherever you used to enjoy your full meal of pepperoni sticks before the pandemic. We have collectively decided through this international crisis that we are coming out of it as our truest selves. We are gonna be thicker, more thoughtful, dress how we want, and not waste any more time. Strip down and jump in the pool known as the Cosmopolitan.
A Cosmic Spectrum of Options
In the same way I truly believe Lewis Grizzard’s bit that “naked” means “nude” and “nekkid” means “nude and up to something”, there is a difference between a Cosmopolitan and a “Cosmo”. A Cosmo is an angry sister to the Cosmopolitan. She has no taste and hangs out in the worst places. The Cosmo comes in a martini glass that was collecting dust from your auntie’s last “girl’s night” before that cow Linda ran off with your uncle. It comes with a dry wheel of lime hanging off the side like a male Anglerfish, doing nothing but leeching off the terrifying existence of what lurks below. The splash of cran is actually cranberry cocktail, straight out of a plastic jug. The cran has more sugar in it than juice, and you’re obligated to call it “cran” because legally it can’t be considered related to the fruit it advertises on the label.
The Cosmopolitan, on the other hand, lives in a fine crystal coupe that came from your grandparents’ collection they have kept spotless since their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary where they got it as a gift from the local leader of the Kiwanis Club. Pure, bitter cranberry juice is added with precision, only after the ingredients are finely tuned, with a vodka that isn’t just the type you find on the top shelf because the bottle is too tall to rest on the lower ones (cough Grey Goose cough). It doesn’t glow pink, and it isn’t bottomless at your local brunch spot.
Leave the Cocktail Gendering back in the 80s
That said, drink the damn neon pink Carrie Bradshaw funky juice if you want. Live it up. Order a pitcher for the table. Guess what? These drinks have way more booze in them than whatever you drink at your local Wing Wednesday fart dungeon. So take your toxic idea of gendering drinks and leave them where they belong: in a bad eighties frat movie. Believing that drinks have a gender as an adult is akin to still believing your local bully who told you that his cousin died from an earwig crawling into his head and eating his brain. You were five years old, and you sound that young when you are binary about a damn cocktail. Also, as much as martini glasses and champagne flutes should be gathered up and collectively fired into the sun, don’t be a dick about glassware.
Get a Grip (on Your Stemware)
Years ago, my local bartender said that every single shift, some dude (usually in a group of dudes, which I believe the collective noun for is “a podcast of dudes”) would order a drink, but quickly add in that he didn’t want said drink in a “girlie glass”. Man, what? Do you think that if your lips touch a tulip-shaped Glencairn scotch glass that your penis will pack its bags and run off into the woods? Will you get kicked out of your fantasy football league the minute alcohol hits the bowl of any stemware?
Get a grip, and by that I mean grip your hands around your mouth and stop yourself from saying anything for the next several days. In the meantime, here’s a shot of Malibu. Pretty good, eh? I won’t tell your finance bro pickleball posse that you had one, (but they might be able to tell since you now smell like sunscreen.)
Remember when “metrosexuality” was a thing? I sure hope not. If you do, well this isn’t that. Don’t think I’m encouraging you to go to your local horse track, dressed head to toe in Brooks Brothers, cosplaying some concept of fancy you saw on a Facebook targeted ad for underwear that cradles your scrotum. This isn’t a phase, this is the new normal. We’re going full throttle into slinging back Singapore Slings, tying on Mai Tais, and never looking back. We now know that gender is a spectrum, and with that, the alcohol binary system is gone forever. Get in, Chad. We’re going to booze heaven. The renegade rum rapture is here, and you don’t wanna get left behind.
A Whole New World (of Cocktail Possibilities)
Oh you think that vodka is for “chicks”? First off, don’t say “chicks” in my bar unless you’re doing a mocking impression of Nikki Six or something. Know who drinks vodka? Russians. Know who could kick the crap out of you and your crew of Hollister Christmas party attendees? You guessed it, comrade. All those glamor muscles will not help you once you are face to face with Alexei Klindakatov after you challenge his masculinity about his taste of “wodka” drinks. Also, don’t fight in my bar either, Alexei. Dealing with anger through fighting is a cornerstone of toxic masculinity. We talked about this. Good man. I respect you. Let us drink some vodka.
Do you know that some places (read: most of Europe) consider a Mojito to be feminine? The absolute nerve of it all. A glass packed full of rum and mint that’s been spanked to get the oils out of it? A delicious summer drink for all genders to enjoy like the first dewey kiss of the morning, (if you wake up in the mornings, depending on how many Mojitos you’ve had). Imagine yourself, a young man of the former Yugoslavia, emotionally pinned down since youth by overbearing ex-communist bureaucrats and your local basketball league of mean boys, and now as an adult, you have never tasted the splendor of Cuba’s national drink. Come to the bar, young man. I know a place that has the freshest mint, and the straws are extra bendy. It’s time to go through Mojito puberty. Your voice may crack after the first sip. It’s never too late to evolve past your peer pressures.
Get to your local cocktail bar, wherever that may be. Read the cocktail list. Try them all. Order a round for the table. Taste the damn rainbow. Invent a cocktail and name it something like “The Purple Pussycat”. Trademark it and build a brand off it. Be the tentpole you were meant to be. Be on the right side of history. We’re all stepping out from our caves soon, so t’s time to make that splash we always were afraid to… and that splash is cran.