The Beverage Bible All Young Professionals Need: Whiskeys, Gin, Vodka, Tequila
Paul the Professional is a mid-20s wealth management associate at one of the most well-known trust firms in the city. With aspirations of quickly moving up the corporate latter, he’s a hard worker and highly motivated. Yesterday, he was invited to accompany some of the senior members of the firm to a private happy hour on Friday at The Charlemagne. He’s excited, but nervous, because the extent of his alcohol knowledge surrounds scheduled games of beer pong that he and his fraternity brothers played in college. He doesn’t know the difference between cognac or whiskey, vodka or gin. Ordering a Bud Light is out of the question, but that’s all he knows. He needs help—he wants to make a great impression, but more importantly, choose a drink that won’t get him roasted.
This Beverage Bible is a resource for young professionals who might be a little intimidated and uninformed when it comes to the “art” of socializing with work colleagues, especially when it pertains to choosing a respectable beverage. A couple minute’s glance at this document will help in deciding what to order, as well as provide a few tips about drinking while networking.
Whiskey, Bourbon and Scotch
Whiskey: A dark alcohol that is made from grain; typically barley, corn, rye and/or wheat
Origin: All over. The US, Ireland, Scotland, Canada and Japan are the biggest producers.
Whiskey is typically ordered neat (or straight), with a splash of water or on the rocks, which is a great introduction in developing an appreciation for the taste of whiskey. At first, you might find it too strong, but let the ice/water dilute it a bit and grow from there!
Scotch: It’s whiskey. But from Scotland
Fun Fact: “Moonshine” comes from the time when Scottish distillers took to brewing their whiskey at night to avoid the English Malt Tax of 1725.
Bourbon: Also whiskey. But made from at least 51% corn, mostly in Kentucky
Origin: Attributed to Elijah Craig of Kentucky; however, it is said that Bourbon gets its name from an early distiller name Jacob Spears who lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Learn more and get cocktail recipes for Whiskey, Scotch and Bourbon here
Gin: A clear, neutral liquor like vodka, but primarily flavored with juniper berries
Fun Fact: Modern-day gin (and its name) evolved from a Holland-invented drink called jenever, which British troops drank during the 80 Year’s War. This practice also gave us the saying “Dutch courage.” (If you didn’t know, Dutch courage is the strength or confidence gained from drinking alcohol.)
Learn more and get cocktail recipes for Gin here
Vodka: A clear, neutral liquor made from fermented grains such as sorghum, corn, rice, rye or wheat
Origin: Russia and Poland
Fun Fact: Most vodka isn’t made from potatoes. In fact, vodka wasn’t even originally made from potatoes (potatoes didn’t make it to the Continent until the 16th Century, when Spanish Conquistadores brought them back from Peru).
Tequila: A clear liquor made from blue agave
Origin: Jalisco, Mexico
Fun Fact: Although Mezcal can be made from the 100s of different Agave varieties, tequila must contain at least 51% of blue agave. Actually, many believe it should be 100%. Tequilas consisting of less than 100% blue agave are called Mixto (mixed).
Mezcal: A distilled beverage made from any type of agave; a sibling of tequila
Origin: Mostly attributed to Oaxaca, Mexico
Note: This is a smoky drink. We prefer that you enjoy this straight, as well. Incorporating the ground fried larvae is up to you.
Learn more and get cocktail recipes for Tequila here
“Straight, no chaser, baby” and other must-know bar terms:“Neat” or “Straight”
- Single, unmixed liquor served at room temperature (usually higher-end Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch. The stuff you want to ACTUALLY taste – or a way to pretend you know your liquor.)
- Shaken or stirred with ice, then strained into a glass (think James Bond and martinis)
- Poured over ice (commonly margaritas)
- Crushed ice mixed in (also margaritas)
- Adds a splash of citrus, with the rind as garnish
- Refers to price and sometimes quality of liquor, with “well” being lower priced and “top shelf” being more expensive. Well liquors are usually just fine for mixed drinks. If you’re buying a drink for a colleague and they’re within earshot – go for the top shelf. Your boss? Always top shelf.
Networking TipsBeyond learning the beverage basics, here are some other tips to keep your business on point at the bar:
- Take a beat (relax).
- Focus on the conversation, not the drinks.
- Drink in the left, nametag on the right.
- Introduce yourself – all of yourself.
- Ask questions.
- Show Gratitude.
- Follow up.