By now, it’s no secret that one of my favorite hobbies, besides collecting Beanie Babies and hunting mimes for sport, is binge drinking. Liquor is like jewelry for the palate: so many colors, so many textures. And like a piece of jewelry, the right drink can serve as the perfect accessory, whether you’re fireside at a ski lodge, or in the women’s bathroom stall at Hooters, trying to wash the taste of semen and wing sauce out of your mouth.

I like throwing back glasses in big stone houses, so to speak, but I don’t have a lot of loyalty to one particular type of beverage. I drink as the mood strikes me, moving from beer to shots to cocktails like a flitting bumblebee, trying to determine what flower’s nectar will yield the best honey. Sometimes, the right drink has netted me the best honey, too.

I admit, this is perhaps not the wisest way to drink. Mixing up my beverages so defiantly might make a bold statement about fuck and you, but it’s also a recipe for a killer hangover. Nevertheless, there are times when you’ve had enough beer and only a glass of sweet, sweet Manischevitz will satisfy your appetite for mayhem, if not your sense of religious identity.

The point is, as a generalist in the liquor arena and a slightly-paranoid social critic, I’ve noticed that the drink you choose, as an accessory, says a lot about you. Sure, there are easy stereotypes about beer-swilling frat boys and martini-sipping debutantes, but the scope of social commentary is as wide as the selection at the nearest bar. So take a trip with me, won’t you, and discover what the drink in your hand says about joy in your heart. Or complete lack thereof.

(N.B. All of these apply to bar situations. What you drink in the privacy of your own home is between you and your 12-Step sponsor. Where necessary, I’ve differentiated between men and women. You’ll thank me for this later.)


Wine has been around since ancient times, when it played a pivotal role in civic, social, religious, and governmental affairs. Seemingly, very little has changed. Nowadays, the wine you drink is likely to have been made from grapes stomped on by comically inept redheaded sitcom starlets. Best not to think about that. As Jerry Seinfeld might have observed, “There’s red wine… and there’s white wine… but there’s no green wine. There are green grapes… what’s up with that?”

What it says about you:

Red: (Women) I’m traditional, in a 2.4 kids, suburban sort of way. And if I’m not married already, I’m dreaming of the day I can pile my kids into the minivan after soccer practice. In other words, avoid me at all costs, unless you enjoy the sensation of boredom.

White: (Men) I’m pretty classy, but not a show-off. I might be some kind of undercover secret agent, trying not to draw attention to myself. Or I might just be waiting for my chance to slip the Rohypnol into your drink.


Beer has a long and interesting history. Enough said.

What it says about you:

Domestic: (Men) I’m low-maintenance, easy-going, and maybe a little uncouth. I enjoy watching sports, and don’t expect much out of life. That said, I’m probably having more fun than anybody else in here. (Women) I’m a lot of fun, unpretentious, and think I’m confident. That can’t last, so go ahead and treat me like a doormat.

Imported: I have more panache and am statistically more likely to buy a woman a drink. There’s a good chance I am in fact a beer snob, and won’t order any beer that isn’t spelled with at least two umlauts. In other words, you can’t even pronounce the beer I’m drinking, let alone afford it.

Malt Liquor

Long demonized as “liquid crack” for the poor, unemployed, and possibly homeless, malt liquor has made a recent comeback of sorts, thanks in part to hip hop culture. I know it’s important to honor my dead homies and all, but if I’m willingly tipping part of my drink on the ground, it better not cost more than $1.39 for a forty-ounce bottle. Thankfully, malt liquor fits the bill.

What it says about you:

(Men) I plan on getting drunk as quickly and cheaply as possible. Perhaps I permanently lost my sense of taste fighting in Vietnam. Hopefully, I’ll have some money left over for my child support payment. But don’t kid yourself. That money’s earmarked for more Colt 45. (Women) In about 10 minutes, I‘ll be drunk enough to spread for you and your buddies, and I hope you don’t mind pubic lice. Also: Please enjoy my appearance on Flavor of Love 2.


Vodka is the workhorse of the hard liquors. It is believed to have originated in the grain-growing region bounded by Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, and the Ukraine. This is probably because people living there needed something to swill all day in order to quell the stench of decaying corpses and bear crap. Nevertheless, vodka remains an enduring favorite thanks to its crisp purity and formidable alcohol content.

What it says about you:

Bloody Mary: I have a slightly exotic, possibly hippie air about me, and as an alcoholic, I need to find new and creative ways to work
vegetables into my diet

Cosmopolitan: (Men) I’m gayer than Lance Bass in pink paisley underwear. (Women) I’m a former sorority girl, and sometimes, I watch Sex in the City reruns. In either case, better make a mental note of it, for

Screwdriver: I’m pretty new to the whole “drinking” thing but I heard about screwdrivers in a movie once. Since orange juice is part of my wholesome complete breakfast, I’m comfortable drinking this until science figures out a way to ferment bacon.

White Russian: I’m sophisticated enough to drink sweet cocktails, but not sophisticated enough to order anything too threatening. Additionally, I have a superhuman constitution that allows me to mix booze with milk without risk of puking until at least an hour from now, so enjoy my company while you can.

Red Bull & Vodka: Go ahead and laugh if you want, but I’ll still be dancing 6 hours from now when the clothes start flying, and you’ll be asleep, wishing the room would stop spinning. My erratic heartbeat is soon to be a cause for concern.


For some, the very mention of tequila evokes sheer terror. Since it’s a product of Mexico, this is perfectly understandable. Tequila is a type of distilled alcohol made from the agave plant. As a Canadian, I don’t know what the fuck agave is, but it kind of sounds like the name of a stripper. Good or bad, everyone seems to have at least one tequila story. If you’ve ever heard mine, you’ll know why I’m not allowed at the zoo anymore.

What is says about you:

Straight: (Women) I’m looking for a party. Obnoxious dancing and/or girl-on-girl kissing are sure to follow. This tequila might fuck me up bad, but at least I’ll know I had a great night. (Men) I’m still coordinated enough to do the thing with the lemon and the salt, but I won’t be for long. If you want to take advantage of me, now’s your chance.

Prairie Fire/TNT: (Men) I’m trying to impress a girl, and probably failing miserably. I’ll regret it tomorrow, when the inner wall of my sphincter has a second-degree burn and farting causes me to black out in pain. (Women) I lost a bet. Maybe I can dump this foul drink out in that fichus plant and no one will notice.

Margarita: (Men) I’m just searching for my lost shaker of salt. (Women) I’m whimsical, have a great sense of adventure, and don’t mind trying new things. Don’t delve too deeply into my past, though. There’s a good chance I was on Girls Gone Wild.


Whiskey is traditionally favored by emotionally distant Irish fathers, and other stereotypes. It’s smoky, distinct, and a little rough around the edges. The creation of whiskey is generally very complex, and involves things like grain mash and oak casks and vatted malts. Since I don’t know what any of that means, I’m going to picture Brooke Hogan’s D-List celebrity crotch for a while. Mmmmm…

What is says about you:

Straight: I’m a veteran cop who just saw my partner shot to death mere days before his retirement. You can leave the bottle, buddy.

On the Rocks: (Men) I am a tough cookie; men and women alike admire me. It’s entirely possible I wandered out of a movie from the 1950’s. In any case, I can probably kick your ass, so don’t fuck with me. (Women) Divorced at least twice, kids who don’t visit, liver spots, reek of cigarettes, and failure impossible to remove. Come and get me, boys!

Mint Julep: I am a feeble old man, and I may have thought this bar was the Kentucky Derby. What’s going on? Who stole my bifocals? Nurse! Nurse!


Gin is a spirit flavored with juniper berries, which are kind of like the retarded step-children of the berry world. A well-made gin will be relatively dry compared to other spirits, which doesn’t bode well if you are using it as a lubricant. Gin originated in the Netherlands in the 17th century, so if you really enjoy it, chances are you stuck your fingers into dikes in a former life.

What it says about you:

Gin and 7-Up/Kool-Aid/Ginger Ale/Juice: I’m not 100% sure I enjoy the taste of alcohol, so I’m kind of hedging my bets. This will probably be the only drink I touch all night, and it’s not because I’m the designated driver, either. I’m just a pussy.

Gin and Tonic: I live a fast-paced lifestyle with no time to dick around. Even my drink of choice can be abbreviated to just two letters. But beyond that, I’m a fairly good drinker, and if some scumbag bartender waters down my drink, I’ll notice.

Martini: (Women) I’m either a truly classy person or else I wish to play one on TV. Please notice me. (Men) I know how to play the game. I don’t mind making my drink orders unnecessarily complicated because I don’t really respect anyone. My next martini better contain an almond-stuffed olive. Please use exactly 1.9% less vermouth, and I want that bad boy stirred counter-clockwise. Idiot.


Popular with novice drinkers, at beachside resorts, and among pirates, Rum can run the gamut from white to gold to dark. This is also somewhat true of the people who produce it. Most drinkers outgrow rum at some point, and it’s not hard to see why. Unless you’re stuck at sea for weeks on end with only a bilge rat to sleep with, there’s not much to recommend it.

What it says about you:

Cuba Libre/Rum & Coke: I’m either a communist or I like drinks that aren’t too complicated, don’t cost much, and taste the same no matter where I order one. In other words, I’m a communist.

Daiquiri: (Women) I was on vacation once, and I like to pretend I still am. Also, check my driver’s license to make sure I am in fact old enough to drink. (Men) I must be a space robot sent to infiltrate you puny humans, because no man with any kind of awareness is going to order such an emasculating earth drink.

Mojito: My mother was once raped by a bartender. So, as a means of revenge, I like to order the most complicated, finicky, labor-intensive drink I can think of. That mint leaf better be chopped just right, and I want powdered sugar, not granulated. God help you if I see one granule, Paco.

Piña Colada: I like shitty music. And getting caught in the rain.


Champagne: I am romantic, and don’t care much what anyone thinks of me. And if it’s not already totally obvious, I’m hoping to get laid tonight, and I likely will.

Sake: I am unbelievably pretentious. It will be a miracle if I make it out of this bar without being stabbed with a cocktail umbrella.

Goldschläger: I hate myself. Plus, the idea of ingesting gold flakes is appealing to me for some reason.

Fuzzy Navel: I like drinks that mask the taste if alcohol, and I’m willing to sacrifice my dignity in order to enjoy them. Please don’t take me seriously.

Jägermeister: I’m in college, possibly high school, and I wish to impress my macho friends. I secretly hate Jägermeister, but don’t tell anyone.

Brandy: I am a fictional character. Shortly, we will retire to the drawing room, where I will reveal the identity of the murderer.

Absinthe: I have a death wish.

Essential New Word of the Week:

nay nay [‘ne ‘ne] interj:

Depending upon your intoxicant of choice, the ability to deflect abuse is critical. I don’t mean actual, reduce-Oprah-to-tears-abuse, but the friendly kind. Having stuff thrown at you, being poked or tripped, that sort of thing. When your defenses are down and you’re too wasted to do anything but sit there and take it, you have to resort to creative measures to get it to stop.

A few weeks ago, I was at a party enjoying a deep buzz, and one of my more sober friends, a student of martial arts, launched an offensive by attempting to slap on, I don’t know, some kind of atomic death lock. He was really harshing that buzz, but I somehow knew that “Stop it, asshole!” or “Cut it out, douche!” would only make him redouble his efforts. Thinking quickly, I yelled out “nay nay!” Now, I understand it’s some obsolete form of “no, no” so it wasn’t entirely off the mark. But it was a random enough thing to say to get him to desist. He could only laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the utterance. Lacking any sort of coordination, I turned humor and confusion into my weapons, and it worked perfectly.

So, if someone is doing something you want to stop, don’t go the conventional route. Tell him or her “nay nay.” Afterall, the best defense is a puzzling offense.