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Oct 19, 2017

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Bar Couture
by Lise Rehanek
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 4.6

Trends in the fashion world -- be they lurid 80s colors, retro swing chic or conventional classics -- have direct and telling counterparts in the cocktail hour. In the homogenized culture of the 00s, the most socially revealing accessory is not the ubiquitous Kate Spade bag, the Jimmy Choo mule or the sleekly chic Nokia 8860 cell phone: it's your beloved drink du jour.

And the libation you choose provides clues as to where you live, what you do and how badly you need to advertise it. You're stereotyped for your clothes, your hair, the color of your skin.

So what's your drink saying about you?

The following are utterly unscientific observations gleaned while navigating this pink, blue and dry world, where the size of your glass is definitely not representative of anything else.

On the pages of fashion magazines, campy colors have exploded onto the scene like some bad Dynasty-Dallas loop. Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the house, the 80s are back with a feathered vengeance. In the beverage world, the electric blue lemonade, the neon green Midori sour and the alarmingly named purple hooter are once again rearing their ugly heads. And continuing its reign as the most popular drink to hit the color parade is the rosy-hued cosmopolitan. Sipped by label-conscious princesses proclaiming their animal magnetism, the cosmopolitan is drunk by those wearing python pants, carrying cow hide clutches and donning pony hair shoes. Sex In The City wannabes, the line starts here.

Perhaps pink's not your color. Perhaps you detest adults dressed in garanimals. You dress in the antithesis: khakhi. Let us now address the wearers of chinos. We've seen the Gap ads; we've smacked our foreheads for humming the catchy tunes; we've lived through the 90s resurgence of swing and the plethora of old-fashioned drinks that went along with it. Is the martini the counterpart? It's basic enough. And since it seems unlikely that the revival of the martini has anything to do with the actual taste of the drink--if you can imbibe without flinching, you must be cool.

And that vintage suit has mysterious/disturbing stains on it. What we need is a drink that embodies the sophisticated and cultured person within us all.

That drink is not the fuzzy navel. Any drink with a silly name is bad news. Any drink that causes your bartender to smirk and roll his eyes is trouble. Peach schnapps is not your friend. When fads and colors betray you - when your contemporary choices disappoint - return to the classics. A gin and tonic, a vodka and cranberry, a whiskey and soda. Drinks whose ingredients are contained within their names will not let you down. This, and the vast profusion of fine wines and tasty microbrews, make it possible to drink copiously and retain a little mystery.

There are many things that define one's self, that distinguishes one's self. That exotic perfume bought in Paris, a certain smile, a flirtatious wink, a clever pun. After hours, we seek a little respite, some liquid living. A chance to socialize and unwind. But out in the social word what defines you most is your happy hour accessory. Remember, if it's retro, it might have fallen out of favor because it tasted bad. Just as with the favorite pieces of your wardrobe, it's vital to have a simple core to build upon. Flirt with the trends, try on that poncho, those Earl jeans, that Hussein Chalayan dress. But remember no one drinks wine coolers any more.

Maintain loyalty to the alcoholic equivalents of basic black and your favorite jean jacket - cabernet is always lovely, vodka is friendly, whiskey makes you happy.

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