Bartenders say drink orders offer hints of personality
Bartender Jackie Brown mixes up something for every personality at Fuse Bistro.
By The Howl Street Team
Dating would be so much easier if we could walk into a bar and singles were all wearing signs.
You could zero in on the cute career gal who can still kick butt in beer pong. Or bee-line for the guy who understands manscaping is necessary (yes, it’s OK to shave your back), doesn’t still live with his mom and knows how to mix the perfect vodka martini — shaken, not stirred please.
It’s never that easy. But ask any bartender, and they’ll tell you that what a person orders at the bar says a little something about the drinker.
And knowing what to look for “can mean the difference between walking away with a phone number, or at the least, a respectable rejection,” says Ward Eight bartender Rich Healy.
With the help of some of our favorite Lowell mixologists, Howl has come up with a guide to help you better navigate the dating field this weekend.
Let’s start with the easiest: The Extrovert, recognizable as the girl or guy drinking tequila. Outgoing, talkative and easy to be around — tequila drinkers are usually the fun ones — smiling, laughing and flirting with strangers.
“Tequila is a party drink,” says Fuse Bistro bartender Jackie Brown. “Usually when people come in ordering shots of it, they’re celebrating something. So that means a good mood all around. Tequila drinkers are generally laid back and easy going.”
Market research reports and survey data collected by Mindset Media and the Ros Taylor Group, both of which study consumer habits and psychology, also show tequila drinkers weren’t as hung up on status.
When asked to name a car that best fitted their personality, they opted for an averaged-priced model such as a Volkswagen Jetta, rather than an upmarket Mercedes. Note to the shy girl, or guy who suffers from low self-confidence: Tequila drinkers might be the best people to break the ice with because at the very least, they probably won’t shoot you down for working up the courage to approach them in the first place. Tequila is a drink for living in the moment and often means the drinker is “a free spirit” or at least feeling free at the time they’re drinking it says Finbarr Sheehan, co-owner of the Old Court. But if a guy orders a tequila sunrise it might mean — “I need to card him again,” he laughs.
The Open-Minded Type
Outgoing and intellectually curious, the guy or girl sipping on craft or imported beer is more likely to be interested in new experiences.
“For people seeking out craft beers, quality is important,” Healy says. “But they still appreciate simple things, like a nice cold beer after a long work day.”
Sheehan agrees that premium beer, like Guinness, says the drinker is both chill and classy, sophisticated without being uptight. Feel free to open the conversation with the obvious — beer, of course.
The Experimental Type
Guys and girls drinking rum tend to be experimental and creative, said Ward Eight’s Rich Healy.
“Think slightly eccentric,” Healy said. “But in a good way. Artists and musicians like rum drinks.”
But not always Bacardi and Captain Morgan. Respectable rum drinkers are particular, ordering brands like Mount Gay, Myers’s or Goslings.
You’ll find rum drinkers most at home in a neighborhood bar where there’s live music on tap. You may need to push them a bit to bring out a wild side. But you could end up writing a song, talking until sunrise or, at the very least, making some memorable napkin art over the course of the night.
Ward Eight bartender Rich Healy says craft beer drinkers are risk-takers.
The Stable Type
Loyal relationships, novels with happy endings and saving whales. Don’t come on in a hurry with the gin drinker. This is a guy or girl who’s loyal, discerning, isn’t afraid to commit to a cause and has a focus on family and home life.
“Not everybody orders gin,” says Old Court’s Sheehan. “This is usually a sophisticated person’s drink.”
It’s also the drink of a person who knows what she or he wants. That’s why, adds Fuse’s Jackie Brown, it tends to be the drink of someone a little older “who has tried other drinks but found the one that fits and they stick to it.”
“It’s comfort and security.”
Unlike tequila drinkers who might be more forgiving if you say the wrong thing, choose your words more wisely with the gin drinker.
Whiskey drinkers project an image of masculinity and authority. Picture Hemingway drinking a whiskey neat before going off to fight a bull or hunt big game in Africa.
“They know what they want and how to make it happen,” Healy says. “If they order it on the rocks or neat then they’re telling me they genuinely enjoy the liquor because of its taste.”
Women drinking whiskey are most likely in power positions and probably adaptable under pressure. Also, whiskey is a slow-sipping drink. A woman who savors her drink can also be an elegant woman, Healy says. But cross her and she’ll cut you with a smile.
The Entrepreneurial Type
Fashionable, aspirational and with good taste, guys and girls drinking vodka enjoy being in charge.
“Vodka is everybody’s friend,” Sheehan says. “You can mix it with just about anything. But people who prefer vodka as their drink of choice generally seem to be happy and outgoing.”
Both successful men and women tend to order vodka-based drinks. When approaching the vodka drinker, it helps to be well groomed and have something interesting to say. Try opening conversation with a classy compliment about their appearance, or ask a thoughtful question on a relevant topic of the day.
“Speak your mind and be open with your emotions and opinions,” Healy says. “Entrepreneurial types always like a good challenge.”
The Old At Heart Type
People who prefer wine at the bar are likely to be more mature, or, if they’re young, then they’re old at heart.
“Cautious but dependable,” says Brown. “Wine drinkers will most likely be professional and comfortable in their own skin.”
Be confident and friendly, but keep it real. Wine usually always means sophistication, a drinker who paces him or herself and who has a low tolerance for bullshit. Chances are good this type of drinker has a college degree and likes to soak up everything he or she sees and hears. Don’t expect the wine drinker to be a sky-diving, mountain-climbing adventurous type. Do expect them to have some interesting things to say. Conversations about music, books, movies and the meaning of life are all game. If you want to talk about pro wrestling or cow tipping, move on to the person drinking tequila.
The Old Court’s Finbarr Sheehan has an affinity for Guinness and White Russians.
The short list:
Domestic beer (Bud, Miller, Coors, etc.): Generally easy to get along with, the cheap beer drinker is easy to please and doesn’t feel the need to impress people with labels.
Cosmopolitan: A bit high maintenance. Maybe too young to have watched Sex and the City while it was on, but now watches the re-runs on cable.
Long island iced tea: No matter how old they are, at some level, they’re afraid their parents are going to catch them drinking. That or they want to get as hammered as possible off one drink.
Vodka and cranberry juice: They don’t know what they want in life or at this bar.
Cheap vodka: If you’re in Lowell, chances are they grew up in the Acre (the scrappy section of the city) and you don’t want to make them angry. You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.
Jagerbomb: High school was the best six years of their life.
Red bull and vodka: Asshole alert.
Fuzzy navel: They’re comfortable with who they are but they’re the only one.
Clearly, this isn’t a scientific approach to personality profiling. Of course, the best way to get to know someone is to simply strike up the conversation. But have some fun with our drink guide. Next time you’re out with friends at the bar, watch what kind of person each drink attracts.