What's With Gendered Cocktails?

Bartender making a cocktail

Ever wondered why a burly dude with a Cosmo might raise eyebrows at a bar? Or why can a lady sipping on a robust scotch be a conversation starter? As we gather around the proverbial bar table of history and culture, let's unravel the conundrum of gendered cocktails.

A Toast to History

Picture this: It's the 1920s, prohibition's in full swing, and speakeasies are quietly becoming the chosen hip underground spots. Here’s where it gets interesting: cocktails have become a hit, especially among women, who have found a discreet way to enjoy a little alcohol. You couldn’t tell sex on the beach apart from a mix of orange and cranberry nectar, could you? Fast-forward a few decades, and the narrative shifts. Post-war notions of masculinity bring spirits straight up, as seen with Don Draper and his Old Fashioned. This era is all about oozing machismo.

Mixing Cultures and Cocktails

Now, let's set our sights on the other side of the globe. In Russia, vodka remains a staple for all, regardless of gender. Sake is also the go-to for everyone in Japan, according to a book on drinking and gender in the country. These drinking cultures never got the memo about gendered drinks from the West, and honestly, they seem to be doing just fine.

The Plot Twist: Modern Mixology

In the 21st century, the cocktail scene is getting a major shake-up. The craft cocktail movement, which is also regarded as the renaissance of cocktails, isn’t just about creating fancy drinks. Bartenders and patrons are flipping the script on who drinks what. It’s now a common sight to see madams enjoying their whisky sour and sirs courting a Pina Colada.


Man and woman drinking

Stirring Up Stereotypes

Let's stir in a little sociology. Why do we cling to these drink stereotypes? And what’s gender got to do with one’s choice of drink anyway? It’s like we’ve got this imaginary menu where beers and straight spirits are listed under ‘Manly Drinks’ and anything with fruit or a dainty umbrella is in the ‘Feminine Flavours’ section. But really, it’s all about the palate and the mood, not the chromosomes.

Shaken, Not Gendered

Today, as conversations around gender become more fluid, so do our drink choices. People are picking their potion based on what tickles their fancy, not on what’s expected of their gender. It’s like Harry Styles wearing a dress on a magazine cover or Billy Porter’s every red-carpet appearance to date—unconventional, sure but totally cool and breaking norms.

The Future in a Glass

Imagine a world where your drink order isn’t a gender statement but just, you know, a drink order. We’re heading there or in the words of a very wise woman, ‘we’re on the right track, baby.’ Bars are becoming more inclusive, and not only is that good for business, it’s also important to rid cocktail culture of pesky stereotypes that operate on rigid boundaries. And when you’re in a bar, all you want to do is loosen up. 

So next time you’re drinking, order what you love—be it a neat bourbon, a strawberry daiquiri, or just a tonic water. Who knows? You might just inspire someone else to break the mould. Here's to a future where drinks are just drinks and everyone's toasting to being themselves.

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