A Bartender Explains What Your Date's Choice Of Drink Order Reveals About Them

by Annie Foskett

A large portion of my time on dating apps is spent jumping to conclusions. If a dude professes to "love the outdoors," I assume he's basic. If he's snuggling a fluffy retriever in his pictures, I assume he should be my boyfriend. There's just not much substantive intel to go on when meeting someone on the internet. (Because what does a match's LinkedIn profile really tell you?) But when you meet up IRL, you get to judge your date without seeming like a conspiracy theorist. That's why I want to break down what your date's drink order means — because it's usually the very first decision you see them make.

My personal first date drink order is determined entirely by what I think my date will think of it. Pathetic, but real. Do I get a Tito's and soda, my go-to bev? No, too basic. A martini? No, too aggressive for a Tuesday. Even if I treat myself to my favorite adult beverage, a margarita, at a bar that's not exactly known for margaritas, I'll only order one with three to seven disclaimers about "how weird it is, but I just love margs!" (Eye-roll city.)

I'm the cohost of a podcast called "51 First Dates," and I've been on 31 first dates so far throughout the experiment. I'm getting more comfortable with ordering whatever I want for because duh, we only live once, and why not order exactly what you really want? However, I'm curious to know what bartenders — who probably see 31 first dates per night — think of a person's first date drink order. I spoke to Jack Mulqueen of New York's extremely hip rooftop bar Make Believe at Hotel Sixty (which hosts so many dates, it even has a Bumble-themed cocktail on the menu) to get his take on what a first date drink order says about a person. Let the hot takes commence.

The Date Who Orders A Beer

I really like beer, but what does a hoppy order on a first date say about what a person's like? "Casual, non-committal, sporty," says Mulqueen. "This person never really grew out of college. Or they want to avoid a hangover the next day."

So, a relaxed planner? I agree that there's something about ordering a beer that immediately says, "I'm not here for the romance." But there's also something awesome about giving zero effs and just getting what you want.

The Date Who Orders An Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is "a drinker’s drink," says Mulqueen. "Someone who orders this probably has many leatherbound books and their house smells of rich mahogany." So basically, you're on a date with Ron Burgundy.

But alas, your date is not a fictional movie character, and I think someone who orders an Old Fashioned off the bat is inevitably mature. They know what they want without looking at a menu, and like a true adult, they have classic taste. And with that, I have a crush. Cool.

The Date Who Orders A Martini

Mulqueen says that when it comes the person who orders a martini on a first date, quantity over quality — vodka or gin — is what you should take note of. "The thing about a martini is that they are dangerously easy to polish off," says Mulqueen. "Something to monitor as your date progresses."

So your date could be into getting seriously turnt, or they could just be super classy. Everyone has seen James Bond, and "everyone looks badass holding a martini glass," adds Mulqueen. If you're date's in a tux on a first date though, gently suggest he engage in cosplay elsewhere.

The Date Who Orders A Negroni

If you're date is ordering a Negroni as soon as you sit down, they're probably wearing Opening Ceremony with Yeezys. Your date is up on what's "hot." "Negroni’s are super hip and versatile," says Mulqueen. "The same could apply for this person."

The person who orders a Negroni is "someone with culture who doesn’t take themselves too seriously," he adds. It's a safe bet and definitely "androgynous," Mulqueen says. It's not inherently masculine or feminine. This is is an open-minded person who's probably going to ask you a lot of questions about yourself.

The Date Who Orders A Bottle Of Sake

As long as your date has consulted you and confirmed that you, too, like sake, ordering a bottle to split says that your date wants to share an experience with you. "We’ve been reaching for a bottle of sake on our dates," says Mulqueen. "[It's] perfect for sharing, [it has] a sneaky buzz, cultured, and [it's] reasonably priced."

I must say, I've had some excellent dates over sake. To me, this order says, "I'm down for anything." It also suggests an un-picky human. (Bonus points if your date can talk humbly about that time they did a sake tasting in Japan.)

The Date Who Orders The Spicy House Cocktail

I love spicy cocktails, and will admit my immediate bias. If your date tries a house cocktail from the bar you're at's menu, they're completely adventurous and up for new experiences. "Our most popular drink, the Spicy Matcharita, is exactly what it sounds like," says Mulqueen. "Thai chili infused tequila, cucumber, matcha, & fresh lime juice — it will get you turnt." The date who orders this is a fun person who wants to have a good time, and I'm totally here for it.

And as my dad always reminds me when I'm having trouble choosing a drink to order at dinner, "It's just a drink. If you don't like it, you can order another one." The same goes for your date order — don't stress your own drink decision, or overanalyze your date's. We're all just people trying to catch a buzz in order to talk to a stranger whose face we swiped on the internet. Nice manners > drink order. You've got this.