You’re old enough to know the importance of first impressions if you’re also old enough to order a drink at a bar. First dates are a perfect opportunity to show off that hard-won knowledge.
Beyond the super obvious dating don’ts (being late, talking about your job) and general bar-going don’ts, there is also a list of dos when it comes time to order.
There are seven drinks we think are solidly reliable to order on a first date. If you like them, maybe we could go out again some time?
Ah, the Manhattan. A masterpiece of the pre-Prohibition era, this drink is a perfect order for a first date. It is an understated mark of taste without the requisite eye-roll that accompanies a Martini order.
The Manhattan has the additional virtue of practicality: it’s easy to make and relatively quick (2 ingredients, plus bitters), so you should feel comfortable ordering one at all types of bars.
If the guy or gal you’re stepping out with can’t appreciate a cold tall can and a shot, you should close out your tab right away. We know, we know: this isn’t a “cocktail.” That’s the point. It’s a fun, unserious drink and that’s exactly what a first date should be.
Thanks to Mad Men, the Old Fashioned has either come back in style or become a trendy annoyance. We are firmly in the first camp. Come on! This is the cocktail that started them all. A proper Old Fashioned is a thing of beauty, so order it somewhere you know makes it right: big ice cubes, no soda water, not too sweet, and definitely no copious amounts of muddled fruit.
If your date orders one of these and knows exactly which whiskey she or he wants, you should start planning what color you’ll paint the kid’s room.
The Negroni has made a huge resurgence in recent years. Maybe that’s because it is an elegant, beautiful drink that’s easy to make and the perfect start to a long night.
Gary Regan already said it best:
"Want to impress your date? Order a Negroni.
Want to impress your boss? Order a Negroni.
Want to impress the bartender? Order a Negroni."
Be warned, there are some stipulations to ordering this cocktail on a first date:
1. Only in a “cocktail bar” (whipping out your phone to find the recipe for a bartender trying to rush out 10 Whiskey Gingers isn’t cool, it’s desperate).
2. Only if you have time on your hands (gulping down this New Orleans classic makes about as much sense as rushing through The Big Easy itself)
3. You have to know how pronounce it (“voe-car-ehhh”)
Now that that’s out of the way, you should definitely, absolutely order this complex classic next time you are meeting a stranger in a bar with well-oiled dark wood, leather-clad booths and low lighting.
It’s a classic for a reason. It’s light, refreshing and (nearly) impossible to mess up. It’s also a great budget drink, because as much as we love artisanal tonic and top shelf gin together, a simple shot from the soda gun and 2 ounces of well gin work plenty fine.
The secret reason, though, is that the G&T will always be the perfect order when the bar is packed and you don’t want a complicated drink request to derail your conversation.
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.