How to Pick the Occassion-Appropriate Drink

Because personal preferences have a time and a place.

By Bettina de Mesa, California State University at Fullerton

As an immigrant from the Philippines, it was difficult for me to gain mastery of the English language.

But in my thirteen years of American education, I can tell you what my two favorite words are: “bar” and “open.”

These two words can be put into two different sentence structures, both of which are equally pleasing. There might be a slight correlation with my recent 21st birthday and my increased rate of alcohol consumption, but I digress.

What amazes me about drinking is how it can strongly influence your image by the mere pour of a shaker. Like your clothing choices, the drink you hold in your hand serves as an accessory that contributes to someone’s first impression of you.

Order an appletini at a bar and wait for the bartender to roll his/her eyes and quietly mutter “I hope you get diabetes.” Choose a margarita at a corporate event and H.R. will come running down to your area. As a self-appointed mixologist, let me give you the run down on how to drink your way to the top.

Parties – Michelada

I’m not talking about the debate club ragers we all know and love. It’s all about the small kickbacks. These are the parties where you actually get to converse and retain your memory of the night.

So grab a Michelada and wait for the looks of awe. Pair it with a Hawaiian T-shirt and cargo pants and you’re all set to exude culture and worldliness.

“What, he’s been to Hawaii AND Mexico? That guy’s a jetsetter.”

Ten minutes into the party and you’ll have swarms of strangers asking you for your travel advice like you’re Anthony Bourdain.

*Sidenote: If someone offers you a show on the Travel Channel at a random party, it’s legit. Go check it out.

First Dates – Sake Bomb

Whether you swiped right or stared at them for years through a window, first dates will always be nerve wracking. A great way to forget that you met up with a total stranger is to order the always fun Sake bomb.

Be sure to yell “KANPAI!” as you and your date compete to see who will finish the fastest. Watch as the interview vibe of the date disappears and the dinner actually starts becoming livelier and more natural.

*Sidenote: “Have you watched “To Catch a Predator?” is not a good question to start off with.

Weddings – Mimosas

“Drink mimosas” is a good phrase to live by. “Drink bottomless mimosas” shows that your life has been lived. What is it about this cheaply made drink that creates the illusion that you are one of the carefree models in a Sears catalog?

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Frankly, I don’t know. It is literally just orange juice and Bevmo branded sparkling wine. Take it for what it is and use that ego-boosting drink to show off your bougie-ness to the rest of the guests. Hey, you may have student loans, but they don’t know that.

Meeting the Parents – Old-Fashioned

Let’s say your first date went well. Wooo! That sake bomb really did the trick. Now you’re on the way to meet the parents.

The anticipation and pressure is enough to create day dreams of turning your steering wheel all the way to the right. You want your first impression to ensure that you’re present next Christmas.

Prepare an old-fashioned for the parental and bask in their praise over your knowledge of classic drinks. The illusion of you as a beer-swilling college kid will be shattered and an image of sophistication comes about.

“Janet, this young lad will own a Fortune 500 company soon. Arrange a marriage quickly.” Boom, you’re engaged.

Networking Events – Martini

As young professionals, your respective universities will hold events to introduce you to other like-minded individuals. For example, Pepperdine’s Law School holds a mixer for the third year students to meet and potentially mentor the incoming first year students.

What better way to make an impression than to order the strong, but classic martini. Like your future, your drink needs to be serious. An occasional reference to James Bond will lighten the mood and gun hand gestures won’t kill you. It’s all about presenting your best self and a martini screams “hire me.”

*Sidenote: Adding an accent might make it seem like you’re trying too hard.