Ah yes, we all know and love that wonderfully uncomfortable moment when you finally work up the courage and take the plunge for dinner or drinks with that potential soulmate of yours you just met (AKA swiped right on Tinder in a blaze of not-quite-drunk-but-not-hung-over-or-sober-anymore-glory) at brunch last Sunday.
There’s so much to think about within those first few anxious moments of meticulously overanalyzing each and every aspect of yourself — and your date — once it’s show time.
So why should worrying about what to drink — the sweet nectar of courage that should help lubricate the entire situation — be a part of this hot hormonal mess of chemistry, awkwardness, indigestion, etc.?
For a millennial navigating post-graduate life in the real world, knowing how to order the appropriate cocktail for a dating situation is a totally different ballgame, than versus say, executing an aggressive brunch-to-dusk marathon bender.
Although you may fancy yourself a cocktail enthusiast after years of “practice” in college guzzling jungle juice and $1.00 vodka-crans, if your go-to order at the bar is still a vodka-water (to like, stay hydrated) or a Long Island iced tea (blackout-in-a-cup), you may need to brush up your bar game before your next Tinder spree.
Note: Intoxicating conversation leads to a great date. Keep the buzz going with your impressive ability to navigate even the most sophisticated of NYC’s cocktail lists.
As such, with the Hooch app as my date (who always gets the first round!), I turn up in order to break down 5 updated iterations of classically buzz worthy drinks to order that will leave your date impressed, and your name lingering on their lips.
Original: The Moscow Mule
This crowd-pleasing and refreshingly crisp bar classic is a go-to for any date; traditionally served with vodka, fresh lime, and ginger-beer over ice in a copper mug.
Impress your date with: “The Mule Meets Mojito” at Monarch rooftop (on-the-house with the Hooch app daily) — Absolut Vodka, brown sugar syrup, muddled limes, and mint, all topped with ginger beer to elevate this zesty favorite.
Original: The Old Fashioned
New York City and its Mad Men alike prefer this revered cocktail of choice: the Old Fashioned epitomizes a respect for rye and bourbon whiskey. To impress with the classic, order your rye or whiskey of choice (Maker’s Mark or Bullet are a safe bet at most establishments), muddled with sugar, Angostura bitters, and a bit of water with a delicious twist of lemon or orange peel over the top.
Make your mark with: The “Fashion” from Troy Liquor Bar — Jack Daniels Whiskey serves as the baseline for seductively succulent Elderflower and sweetened orange bitters to show that you both know, and revere, the classics, but prefer to spice things up a bit.
Original: The Martini
NYC in a glass, a silhouette emblematic of nightlife and the sleek sexiness of 007 — pick your poison, gin or vodka, and choose it shaken or stirred; dirty or dry (olive juice/brine or dry vermouth); wet or sweet (extra vermouth vs. sweet vermouth); neat or with a twist (straight up booze, or served with citrus peel)
Sweeten the deal with: The “Citrus Sparkler” from the always-chic No. 8 — shaken with Stoli’s orange vodka, a sweet orange peel, and topped with bubbly champagne in lieu of the olive brine.
The Original: The Gin & Tonic
A truly classic libation that flows effortlessly over ice in a highball glass, garnished with fresh lime. Be prepared to state your preferred gin — your date may be impressed if you elect Hendrick’s, which in addition to juniper berry found in most gins, showcases bright notes of rose and cucumber to add sweetness that melds well with more innovative iterations.
Take it to the next level with: “The Modern G&T” on top of the world at Monarch which infuses Botanist gin with muddled grapefruit and dill weed, agave syrup, and lemon, topped with bubbly tonic water — gin lovers and cocktail novices alike will rejoice with its unexpected pop.
Honorable Mentions: Anything Spicy Or With Mezcal
While all of the aforementioned items will help flex your mixology knowledge, ordering certain cocktails can scream, “My liver and palate just know what they’re doing.”
Try the “Smoke One” from Los Feliz or the “Jolie” from Cow & Clover to wow your love interest with knowledge of tequila’s sinister, smoky cousin, mezcal. It differs in that its agave is typically aged in oak barrels after roasting over hot wood and coals. If you appreciate tequila, you will love the sweet smokiness that mezcal adds to an innovative cocktail.
And who doesn’t like to end a date by describing it as spicy!? Kick it up and try the “Old Law Margarita” from Sons of Essex, in which fresh cucumber and jalapeño collide for a boldly refreshing twist to end the night on a high note.
So, there you have it — flirt with danger and venture outside the boxed wine/glass with these refined cocktails to show your date that you’re serious about having a good time and creating the perfect evening.