Gender norms are flying out the window left and right. But one realm in which they still have a hold on people seems to be the cocktail industry.
Men continue to choose drinks based on how “masculine” they appear, The New York Times reported on Friday. Many are wary of cocktails that come in dainty glasses, are garnished with flowers or fruit, or feature a straw for stripping. They’d rather down something in a rocks glass, or take the easy route and order a beer.
“As a society, we’re working toward dismantling gender roles and gender dynamics,” Haley Traub, the general manager at Attaboy, on the Lower East Side, told the Times. “Why is this the one little thing that we’re still holding on to?”
Bartenders throughout New York City told the newspaper that they’ve had male customers ask for a cocktail to be transferred into a new glass, usually a rocks glass. Other drinkers have preemptively decided to stay away from cocktails that come in a glass deemed too “feminine.” And if they do somehow end up with a drink that doesn’t suit their dude-based standards, they can feel a little uncomfortable.
Certain cocktails are served in specific glasses for a reason: While it can be simply for the aesthetics, it can also have to do with the dilution or aeration of a drink. But many customers aren’t privy to those decisions, or they don’t care as much about them as they do their appearance while sipping on a cocktail.
To combat the confusion, some bars have started describing their glassware on their cocktail menus. Rocco’s Sports & Recreation, in NoHo, for example, includes a color-coded guide that tells customers what their drink will be served in. And Shinji’s, in the Flatiron District, has illustrations that accompany each house cocktail on the menu, along with a key that depicts rocks, highball, and stemmed glasses.
Of course, there are some men who have been able to leave the 1950s gender standards in the rearview. One finance bro told The New York Times that his go-to is a Cosmopolitan, served in its iconic Martini glass. “It’s 2023,” he said. “Who cares anymore?”
If only all men were so enlightened.