Jack and Coke
In all my years (both as a bartender, and as a drinker) I have NEVER understood the dichotomy of “manly drinks” vs “girly drinks.” To say it’s a false dichotomy isn’t wrong, it’s meaningless. All dichotomies are wrong to a certain extent. This goes far beyond the whole “blue is for boys/pink is for girls” argument and into the very core of flavor profiles. A place where a division based on gender shouldn’t even exist!
Some people will say it’s about the flavors themselves. “Men don’t like the sweet or fruity sides of alcohol.” Oh really? Brandy is fruity. Yet it’s considered the purview of men in their study after dinner, with a good cigar. Scotch has a decent sweetness to it. But it’s still consider a “man’s drink of choice.”
Others point to the proof as the proof (pardon the pun). “Women don’t like higher proof alcohol because of the burn.” they say. Balderdash and tommyrot, I say! A decently mixed Daiquiri will have a much HIGHER proof than an equally well mixed Old Fashioned, and not have a single hint of alcohol burn.
So what does it come down to? Appearances, dear reader, simply appearances. Men (and women) who tout this nonsense as a truth are mearely trying to reinforce ancient stereotypes (that are slowly crumbling, I’m proud to say) which at their very heart are totally meaningless.
People in general are all too damn worried about what others think of them. I’ve gone on about this at length before (and I’ll probably end up doing it again), but deep down, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. The ONLY person who’s opinion of you matters, is YOU. So why the hell not drink what you want?
What brought this up was a couple who are very dear friends of mine. The male part of this couple complained to me that he was sick and tired of drinking Martinis and Bloody Mary’s all the time. So why not try something else, I asked. “I don’t know what to try. I don’t like Scotch, and the only other thing my friends order when we’re out together is Jack and Coke.” So? There’s a whole world of other drinks out there! Why not try a Cosmopolitan, or a nice Amaretto Sour? “But those are girly drinks!” What, have the bartenders in your area started garnishing them with skirts?
What this long conversation led to was me running through the questions to build him a flavor profile. And big surprise, he ended up favoring the sweet, fruit ends of the spectrum, with a slight alcoholic burn. I offered up a few simple recipes, along with decent alcohol choices in that range, and he went merrily on his way.
A couple of days later, his lovely wife approached me, with the news that he was much happier with his drink choices, and that she’d be very grateful if I would be so kind as to point her in the right direction as well. Up to that point, her drink of choice was the classic Fuzzy Navel. “But I really don’t like peach,” she confessed, “I just order it because all my friends order it or a Cosmo at the bar.” Again, so? Flavor profiles are as unique to a person as a fingerprint. Just because all your friends are jumping off a bridge, does that mean you should as well?
Her flavor profile swings more towards the savory area, with a slightly strong burn. Had she ever tried one of her husband’s Bloody Mary’s? Yes, and she really liked it, but it seemed a bit lacking. So I suggested she try a Bloody Caesar. Or possibly a Pim’s #1 Cup. She happily reported back that the new drink choices were “heavenly,” and even a couple of her friends were happily sampling her choices as well.
See friends, it all comes down to a fake perception of “this is how it’s always been, and always will be.” Which is dead wrong. There’s no such thing as a “manly” drink or a “girly” drink.
Alcohol has no gender. Alcohol simply is. As you should be. And anyone who tells you different is just saying so because they don’t like what they’re drinking, out of fear that they might like something different.
So always dear reader, drink what you love, and love what you drink.