According those who who know best: daters and the bartenders who serve them.
Fact: 50,000 people are asked out to drinks on OkCupid every week. That means thousands of dates are happening today over one of the big four: beer, wine, cocktails and coffee.
Sure, we’ve learned a few drink-related things from our OkCupid data. For example, if you like the taste of beer, you’re 60% more likely to have sex on a first date. And Republicans who mention “Dr. Pepper” in their profile are more likely to be interested in love (over sex). But this time around, we decided to go beyond the usual user data crunching to consult bartenders, real-life daters and public data to see if we could read between the lines of your date’s bar tab.
Beer vs. Wine
First, let’s start with a rivalry that goes back centuries: beer versus wine. While wine is typically perceived as “classier,” former bartender Laura Kinney says there isn’t much of a distinction between dates who throw back a pilsner versus those who lean towards pinot.
“Not much separates wine and beer drinkers anymore,” she said. “If you are talking about craft beer drinkers, anyway. Bets off for domestics.”
That being said , a 2015 Gallup poll shows beer drinkers to be less-educated, while those with higher educations tend to drink more.
Conclusion: While wine remains stereotypically high brow, the date who can shotgun a Miller Lite probably has a PhD. We only hope they’re making good use of it.
According to a 2017 Gallup poll, liquor consumption is rising (*cough* the 2016 election *cough*) meaning bar goers are really appreciating spirits.
Though whiskey drinkers might think of themselves as savvy, Kinney said whiskey was the “red flag” order when she was behind the bar, recalling numerous arguments with belligerent patrons who thought they were ordering an Old Fashioned, when they really meant a Manhattan. “They expected a maraschino cherry,” she said. Does this mean that whiskey is the drink of choice for people trying to “look hip,” but aren’t?
According to an article looking at whiskey’s recent popularity among millennials, that might be true. Expert Aimée Lutkin, the blogger behind Two Dates a Week (where she chronicles two dates she goes on each week), agrees that whiskey might be the most “basic” drink.
“People write that they drink whiskey in their [dating] profiles, as if it puts them in some sort of secret club,” she said. “Sometimes I wonder if someone is trying to impress me by ordering whiskey.”
Meanwhile, it seems that gin is quickly becoming the hot new liquor of choice — which means if you’re interested in someone who is truly on the cutting edge, look for the date who orders a Gin Martini. Going further down the cocktail rabbit hole, those who reach for a classic vodka soda might be more body-conscious, as this is known for being one of the lowest calorie options at the bar. And if someone orders a Cosmopolitan in 2017, wait until they finish that box set of Sex and The City before deciding whether or not you want to commit.
Conclusion: Whiskey does not automatically make you cool, vodka means you’re probably health-conscious, and Cosmopolitans mean you’re behind the times.
What about the non-drinkers? Lutkin says she fully supports the coffee date. “It requires being more present and listening,” she said. “It’s harder, but has its rewards. Plus, you spend less money and feel virtuous and alert afterwards.”
In fact, 64% of OkCupid members prefer “coffee and chit chat” on a first date, compared to the 20% who prefer “drinks and making out.” If this tells us anything, it could simply mean that not everyone prefers alcohol on a first date.
Conclusion: Coffee drinkers have their lives together. This intimidates those of us who don’t.
Many of the people I spoke with agreed that the drink of choice wasn’t as important as the pace at which it’s consumed. While some had no set system for keeping a (somewhat) level head, Lutkin is much more methodical in her approach. “Two drinks and I either say goodbye or ask if they’d like to meet again sometime,” she said.
And as far as paying the bill, splitting or alternating rounds seems to be the modern way to go. Lutkin also had firm rules on this: “I always pay for myself and ask that they do the same, unless they’ve traveled an inconvenient distance to meet me,” she said. “Then I’ll get the first round as a thank you.”
Conclusion: A drinks date is a casual, fun way to get to know someone new, and should be approached with an open mind and willingness to pay your way.