Since the dawn of time or the advent of advertising, gender has tacitly informed how men and women drink. Brown and boozy is for the boys; bubbly and daintily garnished is for the ladies.
This, of course, is a load of crap. Plenty of women love whiskey and any man who doesn't squeal giddily when the bartender fastens a tiny pink umbrella to the edge of his glass probably murders puppies. Why shouldn't the tattooed biker sip his highball through a straw (a skinny one, and we hate when they give us two), or the hairstylist enjoy an after-work Boilermaker?
The world is (slowly) realizing that women are every bit as knowledgeable about beer and whiskey as their face-shaving counterparts, and insulting “Is that for your boyfriend?” queries are becoming a thing of the past. But men still have the peer-imposed fear of looking like a wuss. Break the shackles, boys. The time for frou-frou empowerment is now.
These cocktails may not look especially masculine, but are worth setting aside ridiculous insecurities for.
Spoon and Stable: Clover Club
Don’t listen to diaper manufacturers or the office homophobe (you should really call HR on that guy). Pink is for dudes, too. Beyond the Clover Club’s glowing pinkish hue, there’s nothing particularly effeminate about this time-tested cocktail, unless you count that dainty layer of egg white froth resting elegantly on the surface. So, when the retired woman two seats down inquires about your brunchtime quaff, puff your chest and proudly tell her, “It’s the Clover Club and it’s lovely.”
Don’t mistake pink for sweetness, however, as Spoon’s rendition with J. Carver’s gently tannic barrel-rested gin is perfectly dry. In lieu of the traditional raspberry syrup, the North Loop hotspot employs a deeper, tarter cranberry cordial in this doily-worthy classic. This drink alone is worth calling a bro’s brunch.
Parlour: All the Single Ladies
We know, man. It’s hard to order a drink named after the Beyoncé song that became the official anthem of every bachelorette party since 2008. Get over it. More or less a souped-up Paloma — an androgynous summer refresher — this Bey-harnessing interpretation plugs Prosecco into the tequila-grapefruit equation. Guys often think bubbles are for “chicks,” but sometimes you gotta let your man bun down. As the booze and bubbly quickly go to your head, flirtatiously caution to anyone who’ll listen, “Tequila makes me crazy.” Then call a cab.
Constantine: Blue Hawaiian
You settle in with your lady companion at this chic cocktail dungeon and place your order. Minutes later the barkeep returns with a strong yet bright tequila Old-Fashioned, brushed with smoky mezcal — basically Oaxacan chest hair fertilizer. That’s hers. You, friend, ordered the Blue Hawaiian, a deep sky-blue elixir served up in a pretty stemmed glass. The bartender nods approvingly of your selection, which combines rum, pineapple, crème de coconut, and — most importantly — blue curacao. The latter lights up the glass and tells the room you’re a fun, confident guy.
As grizzled whiskey man at the end of the bar stares quizzically at your silly-colored beverage, you raise your glass and wink. “Yes, it does taste like the beach,” you crow.
What’s even better is this sublime tiki refurb is only $8.
Marvel Bar: Daiquiri
For generations men have deprived themselves of the daiquiri, one of life’s great pleasures, because some Neanderthal told them it was girly. It isn’t. The simple, perfect rum cocktail holds a vaulted place in the cocktail canon and needn’t be ordered sheepishly. It’s not on the menu, but anyone behind the stick at Marvel can make a good one (if not they’re fired). Tell ‘em you like it funky with a big, floral demerara rum or an agricole, or better yet both. Invite your fantasy football league's alpha males out for daiquiris and discuss your mutual appreciation of fast cars and grilled meats.
At home: Pink Lady
Instead of racking up another bar tab, sometimes you just wanna chillax with the boys in your “man cave.” So when the guys come over for Wrestlemania, impress them with a Pink Lady. No, that’s not the newest WWE Diva, rather a fruity and frothy classic. Sure, they might rip you a little at first, but it’s goddamn delicious so shut the hell up, Steve! Never mind the phallus-shriveling name, just enjoy each apple- and pomegranate-flush sip, pierced with a sharp London dry gin. Remember, nothing goes with watching steroid gorillas pretend fight like a deftly made craft cocktail. For added manliness (and flavor), go for Laird’s 100 proof straight apple brandy.
1.5 oz. gin
.5 oz. apple brandy
.75 oz. lemon juice
.25 oz. grenadine
.25 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
Shake all ingredients without ice. Then shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.