Let’s face it – it can be hard to read a room sometimes, especially when it comes to ordering drinks. Being in a “professional” or “fancy” setting just makes it worse, especially with your nerves already at a peak. Do you order something sensible? Do you get what the boss is getting? So many thoughts going into what should be one simple decision. You are absolutely craving a Jäger Bomb to ease your nerves, but you know that’s probably not appropriate. You decide to order something practical, and go for the Jackson Triggs white wine. Well, let’s state this lesson early – you should NOT go for either! In my opinion, ordering drinks in formal settings is all about balance, and although mine may not be the best advice, at least it is some sort of advice (I mean, I did work one shift as a bartender). Nonetheless, here are some of my best drink ordering recommendations in order to not embarrass yourself in front of your coworkers and/or boss!
Wine is an easy go-to for any dinner occasion, but beware, your wine choice may say something about you, so choose carefully! Choosing an expensive red wine may come off as bold, and show that you are a bit stuck-up (again, this is just my opinion). Ordering a lighter, white wine comes off as more casual, and easy going (even if you are a serious wine fanatic). ALSO, it won’t stain your lips or teeth dark red, which is a huge plus. One more thing, try to avoid the cheapest and most expensive options – something in the middle shows that you aren’t a cheapo, but you aren’t going to grab the bill for the table.
My Go To: Even though I do love a nice glass of prosecco, I typically go for a mid-priced chardonnay. This helps me come across as easy going and sophisticated, but not too pretentious.
Beer can be a tough thing to order in a more formal setting, but it can also be an opportunity to showcase a bit more of your personality. In these situations, avoid at all costs any brand with a ‘cheap’ or a ‘college’ affiliation. You want to show that your palate is more developed than simply whatever will get you buzzed the fastest (even if that is your goal). Opt for beers that stray away from the big name brands and have flavours that pair well with the food you have ordered.
My Go To: I leave it up to the server! I like to ask if they have any local craft beers on tap and if they would recommend anything. Not only does this allow you to make a personal connection with the server, but it shows the other people that you care about getting something local, that will pair well with your meal. Overall it makes it seem like you know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t!
WE ARE TREADING INTO ROUGH WATERS HERE. Ordering a cocktail can make you look either sophisticated or trashy based on what you order. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any cocktail that has any type of sugary substances in it. Save those drinks for the club. Instead, any simple drink with a basic hard alcohol should be good to go. Martinis and lightly mixed drinks are definitely a crowd pleaser.
My Go To: A simple gin and tonic. It shows class, simplicity and that you are not too serious. It may even show that you have a more refined taste, which will impress the people around you. Literally, you cannot go wrong with a nice G&T.
Not in the mood to drink
It’s completely fine to not order an alcoholic beverage if you are not in the mood! Plus, you will save a few dollars in the process! BUT, whatever you do- do NOT go for a sugary soda. You are not 10 years old. Instead, opt for some sparkling water, and ask for a lemon wedge. That way, it gives off the sophistication of having a cocktail- but really, it’s just Perrier. What a revelation!
Well, there you have it, all my advice for how to impress people on your next dinner date or at drinks with work. Goodbye Jäger Bomb, and hello Chardonnay.
Aidan & the Zillennials