We human beings like to make judgments, don’t we?
Forget judging a book by its cover, though research shows we overwhelmingly do that, both with actual books and with people. We categorize people based on what kind of car they drive, where they shop, whether they have a dog or a cat or a goldfish.
We even make assumptions about people based on their favorite drink.
If I tell you my favorite drink is a Bacardi Breezer, you can picture what kind of woman I am, can’t you?
I probably have a clothes in every color of My Little Pony. I’m under 25, or wish I was. I like my jeans tight and neckline low. My default expression is a smile and I laugh often and loudly, especially at dirty jokes.
Or what if I say that my drink is single malt whiskey, neat.
I read voraciously, but only nonfiction. I’m probably single and like it that way. I look great in a pencil-skirt but the only time you’ll catch me wearing one is to somebody’s funeral. I don’t do weddings.
As a writer, those assumptions are fun to play with.
Take Alexi, the Ukrainian hero of my soon-to-be released romantic suspense, Dance with Me.
Sure, he drinks vodka. So far, so expected. But his beverage of choice is a cup of builders’ – strong black tea with sugar and a splash of milk – a taste he acquired during his eight years dancing for the Royal Ballet in London.
Or Sherry, the Singaporean-American heroine.
Though she grew up in sophisticated Manhattan, she’s not into trendy. Rhubarb martini? No, thanks. She’ll take a Bud in the bottle. And this newspaper reporter runs on Starbucks, unable to start her day without a Venti Latte.
You know nothing more than where they come from, what they do and what they drink. But you already have a pretty good idea of who they are, don’t you?
As for me, these days I’m all about Earl Grey tea and gin. (Not together!) One is a soothing lift in the early afternoon and the other a liquid shoulder rub at the end of a long day.
Both are a little bit quirky. Strongly perfumed with a hint of bitterness. And maybe just a touch old fashioned. Kind of like me.
Chilly London Fog
1 C. strong brewed Earl Grey tea
½ C. cold milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Sweetener of choice (to taste)
Combine all ingredients and serve in a tall glass over ice.
1 oz. Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with one or two cubes of ice and an orange twist.