In Defense Of Girly Drinks


You walk up to the bar and survey the options. What awe-inspiring, cocktail of cool will you have tonight? Perhaps a scotch on the rocks–simple and elegant, but with a sharp kick letting you know it’s done its job? Or maybe a classic martini? The drink of super spies, aristocrats, and alcoholic grandpas everywhere. Or you could always go with a clever little microbrew, sure they’re bitter and hoppy, but they have fantastic names that sound like college improv groups. Like Magic Underpants. Or My Dog Ate My Face Off. Uh oh, the bartender’s approaching, and you haven’t made up your mind. There are so many amazing choices, how do you know what bad-ass, soul-defining beverage you’d like to enjoy?! Gin, vodka, tequila, how about bourbon? Bourbon is sexy, RIGHT?! Suddenly, in a moment of a clarity, you realize what you’ve wanted all along. “Hello, my friend. Tonight I will be having a piña Colada. With extra umbrellas!” The bartender looks at you like a crazy person. “Yeah, that’s right. A piña motherfucking Colada. All the other stuff tastes like crap. And you know what? Keep ‘em coming! My girlfriend‘s out of town.” And then you stand with the smile of a real man, a man who enjoys his girly drinks.

Look, I love a glass of bourbon as much as the next guy. In fact, probably a lot more than the next guy, as I do my shopping at Costco, so consequently have a rowboat-sized bottle of Jack Daniels in the cupboard. But here’s the thing: bourbon, and all other straight alcohols, kindaaaaa taste like gross. I mean, they’re…fine. Bourbon’s nice. It’s got bite. It’s smoky. Has some sweetness, but plenty of earthiness as well. But if it didn’t have alcohol in it, I’d take one sip then pour the rest out in the bushes. We accept booze flavor for the enchanting boozy drunkenness that comes along to the party. Without that, we might as well all just be drinking lemonade. Girly drinks, however, change the equation. They bring the yummy yummy AND the drunky drunky. A strawberry daiquiri tastes like heaven. Bourbon, on the other hand, is like purgatory–best case scenario. And gin tastes like licking an old sailor. So why do we drink these things so boldly? Why can’t we just order a daiquiri in a bar? Because dignity seems to forbid it, I guess. But I say it’s time we tell dignity to take a hike! Who’s with me?! (As proof of my commitment, I have just given The Bachelorette top 10 priority in my DVR lineup. Undignified, unite!)

If you remain unconvinced, allow me to present the case of the mudslide. Mudslides taste so good that we are willing to drink them even though they’re named after a MUDSLIDE. You know, that thing where tons and tons of wet earth pours down a mountain and sometimes kills people? I mean, they might as well as call the thing a Dirty Murderer, but it doesn’t matter. It tastes so good that people order it anyway. “As long as it still has chocolate, vodka, and ice cream in it, I’m in. What’s that? It also sort of looks like diarrhea? That’s cool. I’ll take two.” So why aren’t we drinking these things all the time?! Up until now, mudslides have been far too humiliating to order in a real bar. They’re strictly TGI Friday’s territory, maybe an Applebee’s. I don’t know why girly drinks feel safe there, probably because your entree is guaranteed to be even more ridiculous. (Tabasco Flame-Grilled Sweet ‘N Sour Shrimp Sliders anyone?!) But my local bar has a blender, so why can’t they make me a mudslide too. Or you. Or everyone? If it’s a question of having ice cream in stock, don’t worry about it. I carry it with me at all times.
But that’s not all. Girly drinks are also great because they’re weak as hell. This weekend I had three Jack and cokes and was drunk in about 45 minutes. Replace those with Midori sours, I would’ve stayed sober longer, partied all night, and probably met some delightful Japanese businessmen along the way. Girly drinks get you where you need to go eventually, but make it almost impossible to go overboard. I mean, when’s the last time you heard a recovering alcoholic blame their troubles on a Brandy Alexander? “When things got real bad, I found myself drinking 11, 12 banana daiquiris a day. I was spending half my day in the produce aisle, trying to find bananas that were the perfect level of ripe. It was dark times man, dark times.”

I think it’s time for a change, America. A lot of people watch Mad Men and think “How do I get a full scotch bar in my office?”, but I think it’s time we start asking a different question. Like, “How would I keep my pineapple wedges chilled for garnish?” Or, “Does anyone know where I can buy bendy straws in bulk?” Because countless alcohols have mystique, but what’s mystique worth when it tastes like sucking on a spicy quarter? I want a drink with flavor. Next time you’re considering a Jamison, have an Amaretto Sour instead. Rather than a dry white wine, try a double White Russian. Or a Sweet Tea Vodka anything. Because who cares if you look like a girl when you’re drinking like a champion.

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image – Kathleen Franklin