Our friend Joe recently ordered a Bacardi and Diet Coke and felt, after what he believed was a disapproving look from the bartender, he needed to qualify the order with, “it’s for a chick.” While this may have been true—we can vouch for this, her name was Christine and she was well worth the blow to his masculinity—why did Joey think he had to make an excuse for wanting a little calorie-free soda with his rum? We couldn’t figure it out. Which was why we were somewhat drawn to Eric Felten’s article in the Wall Street Journal“He Drinks, She Drinks.”
Felten writes, “Girly drinks limit men and women both. Women get lulled into the habit of drinking cocktails that don’t taste like, well, drinks. And for men, it’s even worse: in their haste to avoid anything that smacks of the emasculating girly-drink taint, they deny themselves the great adventure of exploring cocktails and all their variety.” He recommends that “non-girly guys with a sweet tooth” drink Daiquiris,Old-Fashioneds and Smith and Wessons, while non-girly girls drink “female-friendly” beverages like Manhattans, Campari and Soda and Gimlets.
Carney, who only swills Jameson, thought this article was clearly a challenge posed on DealBreaker, and countered, “Challenge accepted,” passing the assignment on to his minions. Thus, we descended upon Bull Run at William and Wall Street last night.
Assembled there was our team of experts, including but not limited to, the ubiquitous Pete Murphy, Adam Rodman, Pat Harper and yours truly. These were our findings:
Old Fashioned: “This was, for all intents and purposes, straight bourbon. Despite its colorful, golden appearance, there was absolutely nothing ‘sweet’ to it. Only an NFL player on ‘roids would be able to stomach this decidedly strong and vile drink.”
Manhattan: I really enjoyed this beverage, but I, in the interest of full disclosure, regularly order Seven and 7s and the like, not exactly the drink of your average lady. As long as we’re here, I’ll admit that, after a steady diet of Mike’s Hard Lemonades in high school, my first college drink was a Midori Sour, which is essentially an apple Jolly Rancher on the rocks, served to me by my first college boyfriend. Jon, who was a senior and knew all too well that the key to a freshman girl’s heart was via a sickeningly sweet alcoholic beverage, could’ve slid a glass of sewer water across the table and I would’ve pounded it, but, lucky for us both—can you imagine what my breath would’ve tasted like?—didn’t. And so it was Midori Sours and Midori Sours only for the next seven-odd months. But like all things, my relationship with Jon and, more importantly, for my palette (and self-respect), my relationship with Midori Sours, had to end. And though it’s difficult to pinpoint each one’s respective death, I’d probably go with throwing up eight to ten of the latter in the former’s lap. So, tonight, I was a big fan of the Manhattan. Let’s move on.
Smith and Wesson: The bartender registered a look of sheer bewilderment when we placed an order for this drink. We’re not sure if that’s one point for the bartender or one point for the “guy with a sweet tooth” requesting this allegedly “non-girly drink.” We referred him to the recipe offered by Felten (1 ½ oz coffee liqueur, 1 ½ oz cream, 1 oz vodka and club soda) and soon had the beige-looking drink in our possession.
“It makes me feel like The Dude, obviously the ultimate guy, but it’s so easy going down that I’m skeptically paranoid; am I drinking the drink of a woman? The bottom line is that I would totally order this again, because it tastes really good. But if I were with a bunch of girls, or one girl I—and I’m going to tone this down for your benefit, Levin—‘had my eye on,’ I’d make sure to call it a White Russian, NOT a Smith and Wesson.
“Hang on a sec, man, Smith and Wesson is a gun. Are you really saying a Caucasian is more manly than a gun? A gun can kill people, my friend!” [Disapproving glances passed down; someone knows he's not to speak for the next 10 to 15 minutes.]
Campari and Soda: I was torn about my feelings for this drink because, while it had a bizarrely bittersweet aftertaste, it didn’t burn in the least on the way down, which, in my book, is always the mark of a good cocktail. One of the boys I was with assured me that my ordering this beverage was ‘a total turn on because it’s a far cry from your typical Bacardi and Diet Coke (sorry, Joe!),’ but I suspect his laudation might have more so been a product of his desire to be quoted on this high-profile blog than anything else. Felten includes this as one of the drinks women should imbibe in order to see more eye-to-eye with men drinking Jack and Cokes, etc. What does the fact that not one of the guys I was with could stand to take more than a sip of this drink do to his theory? Carney?
Daiquiri: “Delicious. And I feel like a female-friendly man while drinking it. That’s a good thing, right? Because if it’s not I want to change my answer. But I hope it’s not, because this drink is SO GOOD! If there’s a middle ground between getting drunk and getting laid, this drink is it. Or at least I’m hoping it is, because I never want to drink anything but this Daiquiri again.”
Gimlet: “Delicious. And I feel like a male-friendly woman while drinking it. That’s a good thing, right? Because if it’s not I want to change my answer. But I hope it’s not because this drink is SO GOOD! If there’s a middle ground between getting drunk and getting laid, this drink is it. Or at least I’m hoping it is because I never want to drink anything but this Gimlet again.”
Having crossed all of Felten’s suggestions off our list, I decided to have a Jameson on the rocks, not in the least because I was hoping to score some brownie points with the higher up that is John Carney. As soon as I did, though, the three males with me, who had just requested a trio of Sea Breezes, right quickly changed their orders to match my own. [Insert own judgments here] But, on the way home, we decided to put all gender uncertainties/inequalities aside and share in something we knew would make everyone happy, physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually: Natty Light. What, we wonder, would Felten have to say about that?
(Seriously, Felten, what do you have to say about that? bess at dealbreaker dot com).