In 1949, Esquire Magazine published a little something called Esquire's Handbook for Hosts, with a pair of cocktail menus, "Something for the Girls" and "Something for the Boys." This month sees the publication of Daniel Boulud Cocktails & Amuse-Bouches, For Her & For Him in two separate, gender-based volumes.
It would seem that women have always adored fluffy concoctions of egg white froth, tropical fruits, and crème de whatever, and that in 60 years, men have only occasionally looked past the bottles of bourbon and rye to add a dash of bitters.
Enduring gender lines are as resolutely retrograde as a vodka gimlet.
The cocktail lounge remains a bastion of stale but inescapable stereotypes where a man's character is distilled in a highball glass. His drink should look and taste like alcohol. It should come in a proper glass, preferably one without a stem, and if there must be garnish, it should be restrained. Woe to the man who orders an Appletini— according to Modern Drunkard Magazine's 86 Rules of Boozing, "Drink one girly drink in public and you will forever be known as the guy who drinks girly drinks."
A women is not judged as harshly. She can sip a sweet pink Cosmopolitan or knock back a Scotch, neat, without reproach. She can order a Fuzzy Slipper or Naughty School Girl with a straight face and no risk of social stigma. But it can raise eyebrows when she tries to break free of the lingering pink-drink tyranny of the Sex and the City era to indulge in a little Mad Men-style boozing.
Are rye and malt whiskey inherently male? Are vodka and champagne just for the ladies? What about gin and tequila—bisexual? The last time I checked, liquor was made without gender. We are all looking for exceptional flavor, balance, and diversity whether it comes in a sugar-rimmed flute or straight up with a twist.
A consumer survey conducted by the beverage industry magazine Cheers reveals the Margarita is America's favorite cocktail, regardless of gender. The survey also show that women are more inclined than men to consult a cocktail menu, are more willing to try new concoctions, and are far more likely to be influenced by descriptions and photographs of drinks. You can find more survey results in the Cheers blog On the House.
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