Alcoholic Beverages We Love and Hate
One might think of people's alcoholic preferences as an extension of their brand – some people are whiskey drinkers, others hold true to their gin, and some don't drink alcohol at all.
If the latter is your choice, the concerns and stigmas surrounding alcohol may not be on your radar. However, even if you don't drink alcohol, chances are the people around you do. There is a host of consequences related to alcohol, and while those who don't drink might be spared from problems like DUIs, non drinkers may have to deal with the social implications of abstinence.
We're human; judgment is in our nature. Even bartenders conjure up ideas about people based on their drink orders. Even if you don't drink, what about the person sitting across the table? What do we think about a first date if he or she decides to order a vodka and Red Bull or a glass of champagne? To learn more, we surveyed over 1,000 people about the qualities of different drinks and what they might say about people's characters. Read on to see what we found out.
We'll Have What They're Having
According to respondents, beer outranked every other drink as people's favorite alcoholic drink. In 2013, Americans drank a combined 6.5 billion gallons of their favorite hoppy elixirs, averaging 27.6 gallons per person.
But as with almost anything, too much of a good thing can have negative consequences. Because of the way beer is broken down in the liver and metastasized throughout the body, having too many drinks can be harmful to your health. Experts recommend no more than two glasses each day and identify it as being potentially unsafe over longer periods. Regular consumption could lead to liver disease, sleeping issues, mental health concerns, and dependency.
Wine, rum and Coke, margaritas, and Long Island iced teas also made up the five most popular drinks among men and women polled. It's important to recognize that the alcohol by volume percentage in each drink is wildly different, and even though you might be able to have more than one beer in a sitting, spirits like rum and vodka should be enjoyed in extreme moderation.
Making an Impression
Drinking in certain social scenarios may feel normal, but what and when we consume can be heavily influenced by what we assume to be typical behavior.
While that pressure is typically worse for people prone to "risky" drinking, studies show it's not uncommon to observe how those around us are drinking and to mirror their behavior. Whether it's ordering a drink with your meal because everyone else is already drinking, or going in for rounds two or three, subverting peer pressure can be hard when you don't realize it's influencing your decisions.
Some drinks were more likely to be interpreted as either masculine or feminine according to people surveyed, which could influence who decides to order them. Beer, an Old-Fashioned, whiskey sour, and rum and Coke all ranked as the most masculine drinks. In contrast, daiquiris, cosmopolitans, mimosas, and Sex on the Beach drinks earned more feminine characterization. Regardless of people's perceptions, "girly" drinks might actually have a higher concentration of alcohol.
Even if you're not making a scene at the bar, the bartender could be judging you when you order certain alcoholic drinks. Just because you saw someone ask for a drink on TV, or a particular beverage was popular a few years ago, doesn't mean it can stand the test of time.
Champagne, wine, and martinis were considered the most classy alcoholic beverages by respondents. It's important to remember that just because a drink is considered classy, however, doesn't mean you'll feel particularly posh after drinking it. A traditional martini is the equivalent of 1.2 standard drinks if you count the total alcohol content of the beverage. Because it takes the body two hours to break down a single drink, consuming more than one martini at the bar could be all it takes to push your consumption levels over the edge.
It might also be wise to rethink about asking for a vodka and Red Bull, a glass of beer, or a Sex on the Beach. Just because something is popular doesn't mean it qualifies as "classy." And some of the least classy drinks on the menu are some of the most well-known beverages. Less classy deemed drinks also may a sign of the health perceptions of those drinks, for example, depending on the size of the beer ordered, you could be consuming nearly two full drinks disguised as one.
If you're on a first date, you're probably already thinking about the myriad of ways you can make your best first impression. You may only have seconds to make a good impression, but what you order at the bar could say more about you than what you're trying to convey.
Men and women both agreed on two drinks that should not be ordered on a first date: a vodka and Red Bull or a Sex on the Beach. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks isn't new, but it might not be classy or safe. One study even suggests drinking vodka-infused Red Bulls could heighten aggression and risky behaviors after consumption. Regardless of how it tastes, mixing taurine (one of the main ingredients in energy drinks) with alcohol could be a recipe for disaster on your dates or otherwise.
Now that you know which drinks might make a less-than-positive impression of you to your date, which alcoholic beverages are considered the most acceptable to order on a first date?
Nearly half of respondents said wine was the most acceptable drink to order on a first date. More than the alcohol by volume in a glass of pinot grigio or merlot, you might also want to take the size of the glass into consideration. Research shows the total capacity of the average wine glass has increased significantly over time, making it harder to monitor your alcohol intake.
In a somewhat controversial pick, both beer and margaritas rounded out the top three. While beer is considered relatively safe when consumed in moderation, too much can quickly translate into a loss of coordination, confusion, and surges of emotions.
Keeping Drinking in Check
Considering how many people pour, order, or pick up drinks on a regular basis every year, it's no surprise casual drinking has become ingrained in American culture. And while you might get away with ordering a glass of wine at dinner or asking for a specialty cocktail on a date, some drinks won't just make you look bad – they could make you feel bad too. Vodka Red Bulls ranked among the least classy drink options and for a good reason. There's nothing casual or cool about a drink that could incite violence or aggressive habits.
But what if your "casual" drinking tendencies become more of a problem? At Alcohol.org, we know alcohol dependency and abuse are serious issues, and getting the treatment you need sometimes feels worlds away. By bringing awareness to the serious dangers associated with alcoholism and problematic drinking, our mission is to help differentiate between moderate consumption and harmful habits. If you or someone you love is struggling, we're here to help. Visit us at Alcohol.org to learn more and find local resources you can trust.
Methodology and Limitations
We surveyed 1,003 people. Of those surveyed, 471 identified as male and 530 identified as female, with two respondents identifying as neither male nor female. The average age of our respondents was 37. Generationally, we had 600 millennials, 279 Gen Xers, and 105 baby boomers. We used a list of the most popular drinks in the world from Business Insider, and our research team left out a few that anecdotally did not appear to be very popular in America and replaced them with American drinks. Respondents were able to choose that they "were not familiar" with drinks.
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