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A Gentleman's Guide To Drinking With Manners

Mixing manners with mixology.

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Words: Liam Chapman

First and foremost, we must clarify that drinking isn’t all about getting plastered. Instead, it’s about unwinding after a long day and enjoying the company of others. This is why it’s important to know your limits and drink responsiblya true gentleman will never embarrass himself or his companions by overindulging.

However, that is easier said than done!

I mean, most of us have been there—those moments where one drink turns into one too many, and suddenly you’re the star of your own embarrassing sitcom. 

That’s why we’ve created this guide, in hopes of equipping you with everything you’ll need to leave the bar with nothing but good memories and a reputation for impeccable manners.

Embrace Moderation

“Drink moderately, for drunkenness neither keeps a secret, nor observes a promise.” – Miguel de Cervantes

The virtue of being a moderate drinker is a shining light in a world that too often celebrates excess and revelry. Essentially, moderation is about knowing oneself and exercising restraint. It shows in the knowledge that what one does affects them, as well as those around them.

A true gentleman understands that excessive drinking may make him lose control and dignity, which would only soil his image and those he associates himself with,

In practicing this principle, men exhibit wisdom in selecting their drinks carefully. Pausing at each drink, taking into consideration its craftsmanship work and flavor notes. Instead of seeking escape through intoxication, he enjoys these moments in their entirety, without blindness.

Ultimately, embracing moderation implies a level of self-respect and regard for others. So, raise your glass not because you have drunk enough. Instead, toast for temperancea virtue that defines our personae while improving our interactions with the people around us.

You Can't Go Wrong With The Classics

“Like anything that’s regarded as a classic, it requires two things – excellence and longevity.” – David Biggs

Classic cocktails have been around for generations because they are a perfect recipe. From the crisp bite of a martini to the rich depth of an old-fashioned, each cocktail has been honed over decades to give them a distinct taste one can hardly forget. Sticking to such drinks will assure you of time-tested recipes that are bound to leave your taste buds asking for more.

Old-Fashioned
Martini
Manhattan

We recommend you experiment and decide on your own drink of choice, that way you’ll always know how strong it is and how to pace yourself. Consider participating in a wine tasting or whisky sampling to enhance your knowledge base.

Here are some of our favorite gentlemen’s classics:

Old-Fashioned – The classic (and perhaps most iconic) gentleman’s drink that is completely mixed with bourbon or rye, sugar, bitters, and a twist of orange peel (or cherry) over ice. Known for its amber tinge, the old-fashioned exudes sophistication in a simple, yet tasteful manner. 

Manhattan – A sophisticated gentleman’s cocktail that originated in New York City in the 1800s made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Additionally, the Manhattan is often garnished with a maraschino cherry.

Martini – A cocktail that will always be relevant and elegant. Famous for being James Bond’s drink of choice (shaken, not stirred), the drink is made from gin or vodka and dry vermouth garnished by olive (or lemon twist). The martini can be served on ice or straight up.

Rob Roy – A Scottish-inspired gentleman’s cocktail we believe to be criminally underrated. The drink is made from scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, bitters and garnished with a cherry. It’s a smooth cocktail filled with sophistication, perfect for gentleman who value tradition.

Don't Drink To Impress

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.” – G.K. Chesterton

One of the defining features of a gentleman is having the confidence to make choices based on personal preferences and values—and your drinking habits are no exception. Therefore, you must avoid drinking under pressure to show off, or “fit in”.

When one drinks under such circumstances, it’s bound to lead to bad drinking habits and an unhealthy lifestyle. You should appreciate and enjoy your drinks as a whole, starting from their taste up to the general drinking experience. Drinking what you enjoy and what aligns with your values is a strong indication of self-awareness and confidence.

Drinking Etiquette

“Good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them.” – Bill Kelly

As a gentleman, it’s essential to treat everyone with respect (and this certainly includes the bar staff!). Showing them respect is recognizing their skill set and treating them like any other professional. Quite simply, this is how you maintain dignity and good manners while drinking.

Drinking etiquette is all about being socially aware of those around you and showing them respect. So next someone buys you a drink, try to reciprocate or offer one back in return! Not doing so could potentially hinder your reputation.

But remember that reciprocating isn’t to be taken so literally. You aren’t obligated to buy the same-priced drink for someone every time they get one for you. A simple ‘thank you’ along with a promise of getting them a drink another time will suffice. If alcohol isn’t their thing, offer to buy them a coffee instead.

Drinking etiquette applies both formally and informally and can really speak volumes about your social conduct.

Live In The Moment

“Life is available only in the present moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Always remember to enjoy the occasion and interact with others while drinkingfocus on the here and now. Try to avoid distractions like checking your phone and learn to live in the moment.

To be more engaged in the present not only includes listening during conversations but also being mindful of the environment and what you’re doing that very second. In other words, stop worrying so much about what’s going to happen! Because you might forget to truly appreciate what’s actually going on.

Dressing Appropriately

“Dressing well is a form of good manners.” – Tom Ford

Just as important as knowing your drink of choice is dressing appropriately for the occasion. Whether it’s meeting friends for drinks or attending a formal cocktail event, your attire speaks volumes about your respect for the venue and the company you keep.

1. Casual Gatherings

For casual outings like going to local bars or laid-back lounges, choose smart casual clothes that are both comfortable and stylish. A pair of well-fitted jeans or chinos combined with a crisp button-down shirt or casual polo shirt is always a safe bet. You can complete the look with classy, clean sneakers or loafers for a polished yet relaxed outfit.

2. Formal Affairs

When you find yourself invited to a cocktail party or sophisticated soiree, make sure you’re dressed up accordingly. Most formal events will specify what kind of outfit to wear. For more details, check out our full guidecocktail attire dress code for men.

Regardless of where you’re going, the key to dressing well on all drinking occasions is confidence. Wear something that you feel comfortable in that showcases your personality. Remember, a good outfit should be stylish while respecting the venue’s atmosphere

Final Thoughts

Drinking like a gentleman is more simple than it may seem. Remember that you can do no harm if you remain respectful to those around you. Drink a glass of water in between cocktails or order an appetizer to stove off intoxication. Chappys believes nothing is more unbecoming than a gentleman who cannot maintain his wits.

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