I’d seen it from afar, and I’d seen it up close. I’d seen it from early afternoon into the earliest glimmerings of the rising sun. It was violent, it was grisly. It was a murder, really. I’d seen my friend Daniel’s chances at copulation and successful romantic entanglement murdered day after day, night after night, the moment he upended, one after another, Smirnoff Ice into his oblivious maw. Like my pal, your drink of choice is not only recalled by those most important in a person’s life (close friends, relatives and bartenders), it also sets the mood for your entire evening. My advice? Let your wardrobe guide your sips. Don’t guzzle single-malt scotch in sweatpants and refrain from brown-bagging Colt 45 in a well-pressed Canali. Also, I always try to go one step from center in my choice of inebriates. It helps me stick in the minds of my bartenders and sets the stage for conversation. Like whiskey? Skip the overused brands and try a rye. It’s spicy, grainier taste is great neat and complements a wide variety of mixers. More of a beer drinker? Go west, young person, and venture from the cozy confines of domestic drudgery. A German Hefeweizen offers a crispness uncommon to most continental brands. Unsure at the level of suave necessary for the soiree at hand? Beer and wine are always acceptable choices, and complement any clothing style. And just in case you’ve spent the night sampling all the bar has to offer, a soda water allows you to rehydrate while maintaining a certain level of panache. Whatever you decide to drink, order it with confidence and drink it with gusto.
Next time people tell you something is “just fiction,” ask them to order a Martini…shaken, not stirred. Amid the acre-long eye-roll of the bartender and dismissive glances of potential partners, you’ll show them the affect just one fictional character can have. Other fictional cocktail choices, while not quite as iconic, are often indicative of the cultures that produced them. The Gin Rickey (2 oz gin, one-half lime and sparkling water to taste) was a favorite drink not only of Jay Gatsby but also of author F. Scott Fitzgerald himself. The White Angel (2 oz vodka with 2 oz gin) ensured that Holly of Breakfast At Tiffany’s fame went very lightly indeed. Enjoying a meal of fresh, locally sourced meat? Why not take a page from Dr. Lecter’s playbook and accompany it with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Gulp!