I never know what to get at a bar. I know. I’m a quarter-grown woman, and I still panic when I finally get the bartender’s attention. Usually, this results in me saying the immediate last thing I heard someone order or I panic and get the cheapest beer on tap, but there’s a part of me that just wants to go into a bar and have the confidence (and taste buds) for something like an Old Fashioned or a Sazarac.
Yes, I tried both and no I do not have the taste buds for either.
I hate piggybacking off friends’ orders. They have a point that I look like a drinking noob when I do it, and I guess it is sort of rude when I order the same thing, take a sip, then push it away and look at them in amazed-horror. “That?” I’ll ask. “That’s what you’re drinking?”
When they look amused, I play it off and do my best to finish it, until my friend will take pity on me and say that I don’t have to finish it.
Well, I have to, drinking buddy, because it’s a drink. It costs the same amount as a McDonald’s Big Mac Meal, which I would’ve preferred to have. And as a poor writer, I can’t just let booze go to waste.
Even if you’re full as a turkey, the rule is to drink the booze and eat the meat.
So I might still be trying to get the right drink for me, but as any logical person would, I turned to literature to see what possible cocktails I could try (and hopefully get a taste for?).
Vesper Martini — James Bond, Casino Royale
Gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet make this drink, which was apparently one Bond invented in Casino Royale. I never had a taste for martinis, but you got to appreciate a man enjoying one — inventing one! — when men in my age group stick to IPAs and whiskeys.
Mint Julep — Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby
Verandas during the summer come to mind with this drink. That and heated arguments between Gatsby and Tom. But I always really wanted to try a mint julep. I just figured I’d need a Plaza suite or a Southern porch swing for the full effect.
Amontillado — Fortunato, The Cask of Amontillado
Technically, Fortunato never did get that wine, but might as well have Amontillado in my mental hard drive for when the occasion allows. I mean, what kind of wine is that good to go through the catacombs of Venice for?
Hot Toddy — Brick Pollitt, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
I love hot toddies. I love them so much, I want to marry them, but unfortunately, you shouldn’t. You also shouldn’t order them during the summer, which accounts for why this cannot be a go-to drink.
Ent Draught — Merry & Pippin, The Lord of the Rings
So it’s not real and if I go to a bar and ask for Ent Draught, the bartender will cut me with their eyes. No one has time for my obnoxious requests! Literary and fun as they may be!
But a drink that could possibly make you taller? Hell yeah, I would want a pint. Two if possible.
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster — Zaphod Beeblebrox, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Not real again, though I’m sure there are versions floating around somewhere. I’m sure Pinterest could help.
Bonus points to the bartender who could make one up on the fly, if I ever get the gumption to get it. And if I do and it is delicious, just know that I’ll be at the bar like Norm from Cheers.
Singapore Sling — Raoul Duke/ Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Actually a drink that I love. It’s just something not many bartenders know on the fly, therefore makes me feel foolish for requesting.
Currant Wine — Diana Barry, Anne of Green Gables
We’ve all been there, Diana Barry. Once we’ve had a drink we like, of course we’re going to keep going until the bottle’s empty. Because of course we’d mistake sweet cordial for alcohol. That’s just what happens in life.
Absinthe — Robert Jordan, For Whom the Bell Tolls
I don’t think I can ever make that jump to go after absinthe just because local liquor isn’t strong enough, Robert Jordan, but kudos to you for your descriptions of it. You almost won me over.
Crème de menthe — Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s series
It’s green, like really green and it’s used in fun cocktails like The Grasshopper. While Hercule enjoyed it so much (and could still solve mysteries), I have a distrust of bright liquors. Gorgeous as they may look on the shelf, I don’t think that that should be consumed (and this is coming from someone who still appreciates frozen corn dogs).
Butterbeer — Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter series
Now this is between the not-real and real categories. Starbucks apparently makes their own version (if you give them directions) and Pinterest again has many suggested recipes. I’ve tried tons, but my expectation from reading about it to actually having it have never matched. I think I want it to be more of butter, like a stick of butter with the effects of beer.
And I just described my ideal drink to you.
“my pin” — Humber Humbert, Lolita
Apparently just pineapple juice and gin make this drink, but that’s really what I call my lazy-go-to when I’m at someone’s party. I can make this, therefore I do not want to order it.
Gin Rickey — Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby
White Angel — Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I suppose I can categorize this as my go-to fancy call girl drink, when I feel like my dress is classy (or tight?) enough for people to question my day job. Gin, vodka, and no vermouth make this cocktail, meaning that it’s sort of like all versions of martinis if you can’t decide.
Tom Collins — Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye
I tried a Tom Collins. I felt super fancy and all-about-town when I ordered it — maybe I had some mystery and maybe a troubled soul! — but I really hated drinking it.
Side Car — Arthur Rushkin, The Bonfire of the Vanities
I feel like the Side Car is just not in my demographic. Maybe because it’s one of those classic cocktails. This also makes me wonder if once I’m older and Space Bars start serving Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, if getting a Red Headed Slut or a Sex on the Beach will be considered a vintage cocktail.
Red Rum — Jack Torrance, The Shining
Does this count?