Valentine’s Day Bartender Wisdom

Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, the truth is that many celebrate the holiday with old-fashioned courting and seduction. That usually entails drinks at a favorite watering hole.

While no two people are, of course, the same, there are some generalizations that can be deduced from one’s choice of tipple. So, if you wish to read into your date’s personality by what he or she orders, here are a few observations that I have gleaned from working behind a bar for decades. Use them at your own risk.

He orders straight liquor, neat or on the rocks: Experienced drinker, knows what he wants. Set in his habits.

He orders stirred, boozy, (classic) cocktails: Hipster or just past hipsterhood, but still in touch somewhat, likes mezcal and rye whiskey, and no doubt has his own bitters recipe. Judges people by what they drink.

He orders Champagne: Careful! Either a player or serious foodie with dough. Can be extremely enjoyable if you know how to dance with him, which he will love you for.

He orders fruit cocktails (and you’re not at the beach): Unless he is Ernest Hemingway or French, he is definitely not interested in drink trends. Might be a person with more flexibility and desire to grow.

He orders beer: Not much to say here. Everybody drinks beer. Maybe he is driving?

He orders what you’re having: Possible first-class lover? Interested in listening, learning and serving. Comes with a double edge though—he might be doing it all for his own selfish reasons.

She orders the Valentine’s Day special: Clearly, the day is very important to her. She’ll expect you to call her mom and wish her a happy Valentine’s Day as well down the road.

She orders white wine: Possibly a light drinker. Probably watches her calorie intake. Might be a person who needs constant emotional support. Are you man enough for that?

She orders Old Fashioneds: Follows the trends and wants to be in the know: If it was 1999, she’d be ordering a Cosmo with fresh lime juice. Probably a very strong intellect.

She orders Champagne: Lady or a gastronomical junkie. Either way, she is likely to have high standards and expectations. Beautiful women cost money, my dad used to say.

She drinks beer: Possibly more of a buddy than a date. She might play foosball and all the other pub sports better then you. Take her out to a dive bar, but don’t forget to pay for the shots.

She drinks whiskey, a lot of it, neat or on the rocks: Ten years ago, she was just starting with vodka and soda or cranberry. Today she drinks too much…

(Are you staying in? Make my Mata Hari, pictured above, for a female Valentine, or my Malena for a male Valentine.)

Valentine Gifts for Him
From elegant whiskey tumblers to comfy socks, pick up these presents for the special man in your life.

Dushan Zaric is the co-owner of popular New York City bars Employees Only and Macao Trading Co., and the co-author of Speakeasy. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.

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Comments

  1. I was on-board until some of the female personality descriptions. If a man orders whiskey neat, he’s an “experienced drinker, knows what he wants.” If a woman does, she’s a drunk? Forgive me while I call bullshit on the sexist overtones of this one.

    • Thank you for your candor. The last thing we want to promote are double standards for enjoying great drinks. Dushan Zaric’s remarks may be generalizations but they are based on his years behind the bar.

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