Upping Your Status With The Right Drink

During last week’s brouhaha about the Yale SWUG article, the discussion at Dalrock’s place veered towards the poor taste in alcohol among college kids. Leap of a Beta opened it up with this:

Gotta h/t both Badger and Vox on the wine tip originally. Tried it for awhile after they pointed out beer being a drink of the peasants. I find I get more attention and don’t feel as sluggish without the carbs, which is worth a few extra dollars a drink. Depending on mood I now alternate between a red wine and johnny walker black on the rocks. I enjoy both and get comments almost every time I order.

He is referencing these posts by me (on avoiding the brotastic beer shield) and Vox Day (where he refers to beer drinkers as “peasants“), and he’s following up on an excellent point: in America at least, there’s a class distinction communicated by the alcohol you drink. Thus, you can quickly and easily raise your apparent social status by ordering better stuff.

Put simply, the social status ranking goes like this: light-colored beers < dark-colored beers < stiff cocktails < red wine.

Straw-colored beers are, as Vox says, a peasant drink, that communicate “I got the cheapest thing on the menu” or “I don’t want any flavor in my beer” or worse yet “I let corporate beer ads on network TV tell me what to drink.” (In some cases they’ve tried to turn the status-basement marker into a positive; the relatively swilly Pabst Blue Ribbon has been adopted by the hipsters of Portland and Washington DC as a symbol of retro cachet. I suppose they are retaking the word “swill” a la another recent movement.)

A few things you should just avoid: white wine has a fastidious connotation unless paired with food, flamboyant cocktails (brightly-colored or served in the conical martini-style glass) lack a certain strength and at least should be ordered in a low glass, and shots or shooters say “college douchebag” in big bright letters.

I expect to get some comments on this post along the lines of “dude this is so stupid, something as superficial as what I’m drinking at the bar isn’t going to affect whether women are attracted to me,” a criticism I pre-emptively cited in the Beer Shield post. First, if your game sucks, you need to make progress on a whole bunch of incremental factors, and drinking better (as well as holding the drink better) is a zero-behavior-cost move helps internalize a higher-value frame and stokes the confidence and aloof mastery that makes things work. Second, it belittles women to call these things “superficial.” Surely, men aren’t going to make a big deal judging each other for their drinks. But just as surely, women notice and value a host of factors that men dismiss amongst themselves. That’s in fact one of the fundamental lessons of game, that being successful with women is largely a different arena than earning the respect of other men.

(Incidentally, and this is always worth talking about, what women say they value as attractive in men is very frequently at odds with what truly turns them on, for a large number of reasons including subconsciously-programmed mating strategy protection. Thus, the men who have tried to reject the boorish advice of their mates and substitute that of women have often found themselves simply getting more emotive, not more attractive. The advice they get from most other men is simply outside the arena of what women value, while the advice they get from a woman is the output of a game of telephone from her hindbrain through the rationalization hamster and maybe through a few magazine or book editors as well. There are ways to become more interesting and emotionally in tune with women without becoming girly and unvirile in the female’s eyes; I’ve covered it before in this post.)

In addition to the class marker that is the drink in your hand, drinking the right thing provides a great opportunity for the type of storytelling that is the hallmark of the accomplished gamesman. Anything from “this is the drink that got us through prohibition” (anything with gin) to “this drink is the object of much national pride in Bermuda” (dark and stormy) to “this is a modern version of the first cocktail in history” (mojito), the opportunities to light up a woman’s mind with fascinating discussion of the drinks, their regionalities, and their histories are manifold.

So with all of that said, how does a man become better at expressing social value through his drinks? On the same Dalrock thread, longtime Manosphere commenter Anonymous Reader chimed in with some detailed commentary.

Leap, the wine/beer bifurcation is old as the hills but still works. A few minutes with Wiki, or a copy of “Wine Spectator” once in a while and you’re good to go to talk with almost anyone in a bar, and a lot of people in a restaurant. When dining with a woman don’t even let her see the wine list, it’s your property and she should not trouble her head about it. One way to provide a bit of entertainment: ponder the list with furrowed brow, and then choose the least expensive red by the glass. But for bonus points, ponder and then pick something unusual by the glass. If it’s good, then just bask in your success. If it’s crummy plonk, then dismiss the error as an experiment, a bad year, a bad bottle… For the record, the Argentinian Malbec wines have become very good in the last few years, as have the wines from Chile, most of which come from the Maipo valley. Some places sell these by the glass at cost comparable to California CabSav’s, but you get the mystery of South American wine vs. Napa valley.

The storytelling potential of the wine list should whet the appetite of any fledgling gamester.

Another dodge is “gin and ginger ale” if you are not making a statement, because after one or two you can switch to “ginger ale” but your glass looks the same as before. Nobody knows what you are drinking. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King…

I have to say I’ve never had the need to feign that I’m drinking alcohol when I’m not. I simply stop drinking and don’t apologize for it, and it’s been an important screening test to find women who can have one or two drinks without having to go any further. A surprisingly number of young people are still hung over from college and haven’t learned to drink in moderation.

Drinking stuff straight up or on the rocks can make a pretty good point, depending on what’s en vogue. Drinking something that isn’t what everyone else is slamming can be a real DHV, if played properly. Seems like everyone is hitting some flavored vodka or other nowadays, so something else is in order. A real-deal Martini can be good stuff, if good gin is used (and if you like gin…), but you have to play with the drink rather than slam it down, in a social setting. Mojito’s used to be fun to drink before they became the new frozen dacqueri. The only place I drink them now is if I”m in Arizona or south Texas or some other hot place where they make sense.

Especially with Mad Men being so popular, there’s a lot of cachet to a classic mixed cocktail. If you’re drinking hard alcohol, I recommend you avoid gin-and-tonics and something-and-cokes as they are pedestrian and “safe” and don’t really lend a man a distinctive look.

If you are used to drinking wine, then here’s another angle: cognac. First of all, it’s not that common, and it still has a bit of a cache’. Just ordering it can be a bit of a DHV. Second, you can nurse a snifter of cognac for up to an hour and most barmaids/waitresses/bartenders won’t hassle you. During that same time, everyone else has slammed down three beers or whatevers… Third, you can from time to time put on a bit of a show about having it warmed up for you, to some proper temperature or other. Bonus: if the cigar scene is still around in some cities, that’s one of the standard drinks to go with the stogie, and that helps you to fit in. Know the diff between VS and VSOP, and you are way ahead of most bar crowds.

Cognac is brandy produced in southwestern France (it has to be from that region to be labeled Cognac, pronounced CONE-yack); brandy itself is distilled wine. Cognac is a bit like whiskey but it is much smoother and softer in flavor. If you listen to Tupac Shakur, Hennessy is a type of cognac (although I personally prefer Courvoisier).

VS and VSOP are age/flavor grades of cognac; VSOP is older and higher-quality than VS, with XO (“extra old”) being the highest grade.

Also don’t forget about cognac’s French-native cousin armagnac, which tends to be more rustic and provincial in character. As AR mentions cigars, remember also that most nice restaurants will have a cognac flight in their dessert drinks menu. It can go down a lot easier than a sweetened dessert wine.

Finally, AR gets into the meat of the issue:

Really interesting mixed drinks exist, such as the sidecar, the French 75, Sazerac, and many others that can be found in older bar books, or on the web… but few bartenders know how to mix them outside of really big cities anymore. Even the plain old Manhattan cocktail is often just bourbon on the rocks with a dash of bitters and a tiny coloration of vermouth – that’s a bourbon “Mantini”, not a Manhattan. So know your bartender’s limits in mixology, unless you are personally willing to teach them how to pour and mix for you. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, you can work that into a routine if you wish, that enables you to DHV in a genteel way.

Sadly, I’ve found what he says is true: lots of bartenders are just waiters behind the bar, and don’t know how to make many (if any) standard cocktails. Many times I’ve had a bartender try to bluff me away from a drink he doesn’t know how to make with a face-saving maneuver like “we don’t have any bitters;” if I tell him that’s fine and to make the drink without it, I get a disastrous suicide cocktail without fail.

A bartender who can make at least a basic set of cocktails can be a real ally in the game; the DHV of ordering a special drink and watching it get theatrically made for you, and then being able to wax poetic on the on the contents of the drink and its history and its mood and vibe – that stuff is chick crack. If your bar guy can’t make you a Manhattan worth a damn, just order a red wine and spin a story about the region from which it came. You’ll be miles ahead of the regular bros sucking on the necks of their Bud Lights.

Happy drinking.


Filed under la dolce vita

31 responses to “Upping Your Status With The Right Drink

  1. Retrenched

    I dont much care for wine but I love a good cocktail, especially a Manhattan. So maybe I’ll go with that.

    I’ll still swill the hell out of the peasant brew when i get home though.

  2. Retrenched

    Also, good to see you posting again. You should do it more often (hint hint).

  3. Nice write up. There’s a wealth of information here for those that missed the thread

    To any game haters (or doubters on this particular subject) it isn’t chick crack by itself. I drink with a 25-35 crowd and will get comments with people I’m drinking with from the good liquor, and comments from a few people the whole night with the wine. Not much, but paired with other conversation starters they add up. It gives people a plausible deniability to start conversation with people they find interesting or gives them something to comment on if a conversation stalls.

    Plus, if she’s not drinking it or know what it tastes like, a command for her to try it is a great compliance test while also creating some intimacy. If she likes it simply order for her next time the waitress is around (done this a few times and if done right you’re not buying the drink, just ordering it in good manners and taste). This can be done in a group and most people there will allow the two of you to create your own bubble after seeing this – though bad manners and cock blocks wont let it stop them.

    There’s very few things in this world that easily and cheaply stand out, are conversation worthy, and let a man create moments of intimacy all by doing something he would do anyways – enjoy a good drink.

  4. rgoltn

    Bourbon or Whiskey on the rocks, a good “Old Fashioned” and Martini are my poison.

  5. Revo Luzione

    Good quality tequila offers a lot of storytelling opportunities, and a quality Blanco tequila is smooth even when served neat, while still remaining a strong masculine edge to it. I have broken many a girl’s straight tequila cherry, and converted at least a few into True Agave believers.

    Wine is always the fallback. Beer is for indeed for proles.

  6. bhodi1555

    Spot on about the Cognac, its a good buzz too.. Hine is a good VSOP but a lot of bars don’t carry it. I prefer Martell to either Courvoisier or Hennessy

  7. Matt

    I tend to drink single malt scotch straight up. Most bars don’t have good single malts, they have one of about three average single malts. I’ve also taken a liking to single malt irish. If you haven’t tried it, you should.

  8. Red Pill Theory

    See, when people sneer at little techniques, it’s obvious that they don’t approach and they’re operating from a mindset where game is this revelatory life changing knowledge that immediately unlocks gate to the pussy kingdom. In reality, it’s one change after another, over a period of years.

  9. If they don’t have bitters, I probably won’t order anything that takes thought or talent to make.

    I’ll stick to a craft brew IPA, Makers Mark neat or a gin & tonic. Simple stuff they can’t mess up much if at all.

  10. The One Reason

    Blended whiskies are for peasants, cognacs for bulb-swirling poseurs and don’t get me started on umbrella mix-drinks. :)

    Single malts for robustness and earthy, dung-flawored normandy ciders for light summer sips. Tongue partly in-cheek, but not much… Agree on *strong*, full red wines though.

  11. Scotch on the rocks is typically my go-to drink. I generally like hard stuff, which is often out of the ordinary in a crowd of beer drinkers. But I definitely need to raise my alcohol IQ.

    “ordering a special drink and watching it get theatrically made for you, and then being able to wax poetic on the on the contents of the drink and its history and its mood and vibe – that stuff is chick crack”

    Haha, so true.

  12. xclampa

    it’s not as much about the price as the ability to appreciate fine alcohol instead of drinking something just to get hammered. Light beer is fine after a long day, with a hot meal, but it’s very ‘casual’, between friends drink.

  13. earl

    Old fashioned or scotch straight are my favorite hard liquors.

    If I get a beer it better be stout.

  14. Spoos in August

    If you can find a bartender who makes a good Sazerac, I’d definitely recommend it.

    Islay scotch is enjoyable, but very peaty (so don’t say I didn’t warn you); Laphroaig is widely available, not too pricey, and good. With respect to blends, Johnnie Black won’t break the bank and is very drinkable on its own. Bushmills is my go-to Irish whiskey, but Jameson is decent as well.

    Cocktails, depending on the environment, can very much be a status booster. If, however, you are in a bar which is not well-stocked, it is better to drink your liquor unadulterated.

  15. Orion

    Perhaps I retain to much, but I’d probably pass on the Courvoisier simply because a number of rappers have already done a… well song is to musical so I guess it would be a rap “Pass the Courvoisier”. Unless your going for the thugish vibe which seems the inverse of this thread.

  16. Dirty martini with Plymouth gin, dry, shaken

    or a gin and tonic with hendricks gin and a slice of cucumber as in my gravatar

    Canadian club on ice if I want to drink slow

  17. Rich Cook

    99% of the bars do not stock what I like. Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon. Their Rye is great also. Also A.H. Hirsch Bourbon. Haven’t had a mixed drink in 30 years. It’s straight up, on the rocks or nothing.

  18. Dr. Eric Stratton

    Vincent Ignatius – I thought you’d vanished.

  19. BADGERRRRRRRRRR!!!! what up home skillet.

    i can def see the merit in this. however, i think it’s also a regional thing. down here, a guy ordering wine at a bar would be frowned up. mixed drinks would looked at as douchey frat boy, beta husband, or general douche. i approve of shots of whiskey, but not fruity shots. congac is ok- especially if you are wearing baggy jeans and a grill. wokka wokka.

    “A bartender who can make at least a basic set of cocktails can be a real ally in the game; the DHV of ordering a special drink and watching it get theatrically made for you, and then being able to wax poetic on the on the contents of the drink and its history and its mood and vibe – that stuff is chick crack.”

    troof. but i still prefer my miller lite and yuengling. lol.

  20. I NEVER left. I’m still out here participating, but rarely under this name.

  21. Pingback: The Manosphere Week in Review | Red Pill Theory

  22. Random Angeleno

    Martinis made with Hendrick’s Gin and Vya vermouth are the bomb.
    Hendrick’s also makes an excellent gin & tonic.

  23. Vincent,

    So glad you stopped by. I’ve always loved that gravatar image of yours.

    I do think there’s a major value boost to quality alcohol after college – I’d expect most college kids would just think you were a square if you were shaking up cocktails at uni parties. I’m curious how it went over in your college days if you were doing it back then.

  24. Look at all these guys on here bullshitting with each other about what drinks they like! This is a good healthy man discussion. Bottoms up!

  25. Badger,
    I wasn’t a drinker in undergrad; it just didn’t interest me. I got drunk once when I was around 18 and it was enjoyable but not as enjoyable as weed was back then. As for weed, I smoked A LOT of that from the ages of 15-21.
    It wasn’t until grad school that I started drinking regularly, and it took me a couple of years to develop my alcohol taste, so I was around 25 when I developed taste in good liquors.

  26. VFD

    Oban 14 year, Drambuie, or for something very different, Schnapps/grappa/sliv or ouzo sipped. Tsar Simeon, (Bulgarian rakija) is a superb tipple. I highly recommend chartreuse as well. The really strong shit is memorable and seals friendships.

    Every chick I introduced to any of the euro drinks, hated them. Literally whined that they burned and were too strong.

  27. What a bunch of wimps. I drink imported absinthe, the real stuff with the wormwood. Only a real man can handle it.

    (Cough, cough, swoon, fall over, pass out,)

  28. Anonymous Reader

    What a bunch of wimps. I drink imported absinthe, the real stuff with the wormwood. Only a real man can handle it.

    True, and better have a woman handy when imbibing.

    Because absinthe makes the heart grow fonder…

  29. Navian

    @ The One Reason said blended whiskies are for peasants.
    Try ” Middleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey” it is damn near the perfect whiskey. It will change your perspective about great blended whiskey. Pricey $125, I treat myself 2-3 times year and usually get a bottle as a strongly hinted gift idea once a year, twice if I have been real good.

    BTW where does drinking good whiskey straight rate you on the social status hierarchy.

  30. “BTW where does drinking good whiskey straight rate you on the social status hierarchy.”

    Honestly I think it’s basically irrelevant…drinking whiskey/scotch neat is sold by the media as a stereotypical “masculine thing,” but as I suggested in the post, many guys ordering the stuff don’t know a damn thing about liquor and are probably going to shoot it anyway.

    The question isn’t whether the right drink makes you more “alpha” or less “beta,” the question is does it give you a flair of uniqueness and authenticity that suggests you are strong enough to have your “own” kind of drink.

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