Not by the hair of my ginny gin gin
April 11, 2013 7:29 PM   Subscribe

My favorite drink is a Tanqueray and tonic and has been since I was young. In the US, especially as a teenager, people told me that it was a cranky old man drink while marveling at how it glowed under blacklight. I traveled to London once, and a guy there told me that it was a "chick drink". I, of course, don't let what people think of it affect what tasty, tasty alcohol delivery vehicle I choose, but where you are, what's the "reputation" of gin-based drinks? Are they "manly" or "girly"? And how did it gain that reputation? I'm holding a gimlet right now because I've run out of tonic water.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College to Food & Drink (60 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think gin in general is kind of a retro thing, since vodka became the go-to liquor for most people. My grandmother drank gin&tonics. I can't think of any of my friends that do (I'm in my mid-30s).
posted by empath at 7:34 PM on April 11, 2013

"Gin and Tonic" was the original "medicinal purposes" drink. During the colonial period, Europeans in tropical climes were seriously affected by Malaria.

Tonic water contains quinine, which was the original drug which was discovered to treat malaria. Those colonialists used to take quinine daily as a prophylactic. The problem was that quinine tastes really foul. So someone got the bright idea of mixing it with gin. And hence the Gin-and-tonic was born.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:36 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't think it's gin drinks in general. A martini for instance is not considered girly at all.

I drink gin & tonics, and have a bunch of friends who do as well, (also all in our thirties). I'm not even sure a g&t is a girly drink - it may specifically be the tanqueray and tonic? I wonder if that is the result of some marketing campaign a while back.
posted by aubilenon at 7:36 PM on April 11, 2013

I live in the South and a gin and tonic is what one sips on hot days to keep the heat from bothering you too much. It's up there with a mint julep bespeaking a sort of classy Southern degeneracy.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:48 PM on April 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

I'm in Australia (from New Zealand) and gin & tonic is definitely considered to be a girly drink. Actually kind of an old-lady drink. I think here most things other than beer or whiskey are considered girly drinks. Wine is borderline.
posted by lollusc at 7:48 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Probably a different perspective, because I grew up in New Zealand, but I have been drinking gin and tonics since my 20s (late 30s now) and at least where I was there was a perception that it was a bit of a chick drink. Not girly in the way cosmos were, but definitely not manly (rawr! beer! whiskey!) I still drink 'em. Delicious summer drink, second only to Pimms (also gin based.)
posted by gaspode at 7:49 PM on April 11, 2013

Here in my corner of Wisconsin, where everyone drinks either beer or Old-Fashioneds, long-time residents view a gin-and-tonic as a summer drink ordered by FIBs1 on vacation. Personally, I drink them year 'round, preferably with Hendricks.

1FIB = Fucking Illinois Bastard
posted by carmicha at 7:50 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

When I worked in Arkansas, on guy who was from OK but had lived in WV for a long time ordered Tanqueray and Tonic any time he was trying to impress the big wigs from HQ. So, ordering that specific brand makes me think you're trying too hard.

Of course, I also tend to think that ordering a Jack and Coke means you're trying to be a little on the biker side of "just folks", so there you go.
posted by notsnot at 7:52 PM on April 11, 2013

I think gin got put in the corner when vodka became the most popular alcohol for martinis and subsequently every cocktail now is often a called some kind of martini. And to be fair, vodka is more versatile.

I think of gin & tonics as one of the quintessential English cocktails. In the US, I think it's more popular with women, but it's not a girly drink. It's not in the same category as a Cosmopolitan.

For people who like gin, the most common choices are gin & tonic and martinis. I think more men go the martini route but there are definitely male gin & tonic drinkers.
posted by shoesietart at 7:52 PM on April 11, 2013

I am a Tanq/gin martini girl (with a twist) and don't think of it as a gendered drink especially, though I assume it is more manly than vodka. :)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:55 PM on April 11, 2013

In the art/cultural industry end of Melbourne, Australia a gin and tonic is certainly not girly. They are very commonly drunk by friends of mine of both genders, ages 25-50. It's a standard good drink. In summer it's not uncommon to see a whole table of them.

A lot of men (myself included) do take the straw out immediately though and drink it from the glass.
posted by deadwax at 7:55 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Where I am (New Orleans) gin doesn't really have a single reputation so to speak, at least not in my peer group of mostly white, often transplanted people in their 20s and 30s. It is sort of neutral. Everyone drinks lots of gin & tonics if it's hot out. Martinis are seen as being a bit affected. I will drink certain gins straight, but no-one else I know does that and people think I'm a bit weird. People don't really drink a lot of gin otherwise, or think about it very much. It doesn't seem to have as much of a cultural presence in the canonical liquors as its siblings whisky and vodka.
posted by Scientist at 7:59 PM on April 11, 2013

Some metafilter history containing a lot of opinions on this subject.
posted by ook at 8:14 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nah, in California a Tom Collins is not considered girly... though it may be considered oldster's drink - more from the Mad Men generation, not really many people under 40 ordered it. But I've been ordering it all my life and nobody's given me any pushback. In fact on more than one occasion a barman has offered to make one according to their special mix (I usually ask for Bombay Sapphire). TC used to be very popular, then fell out of fashion somewhat, and recently I seem to detect a comeback.
posted by VikingSword at 8:15 PM on April 11, 2013

Response by poster: Some metafilter history containing a lot of opinions on this subject.

Hmm, didn't think to search the blue for it. Thanks!

A lot of men (myself included) do take the straw out immediately though and drink it from the glass.

I always thought the straw was decorative. How could anyone drink out of those tiny little things? (Confession: I always yanked the straw and lime post-squeeze out as an underager sneaking booze in at receptions so I could tell people it was Sprite.)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:16 PM on April 11, 2013

G&T a drink that, in the UK, has certain class undertones. In more working-class and regional (northern England, Scotland/Wales) contexts, it's probably more gendered than it is in more middle-class ones, especially in the south of England. Which is sort of odd in the context of the spirit's heritage, but less so in terms of tonic water being associated with colonial gentility.

[Liam Gallagher may have sung "feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic", but that was probably because Noel couldn't think of a rhyme for "giz a pint of lager".]

Context matters, too: if you're ordering it in a more traditional pub, you're implicitly saying "I am drinking a G&T instead of beer" (also: the working-man's club vs the Conservative Club or the golf club). If you order it at a restaurant or a swankier bar, those implications aren't there the same way, and they're definitely not there if you're at a gathering of friends.

That doesn't stop me, although I do observe Gin Season and Whisk(e)y Season.
posted by holgate at 8:17 PM on April 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

I like g+ts, and my mental association with them is old-money WASP New England.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:22 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

The sub-answer is that Tanqueray is relatively uncommon in the UK, and rarely found in pubs (Gordon's and Beefeater dominate the optics), and Bombay Sapphire is rarer still. There's boutiquey gin to be had, and more so now than a decade ago -- Plymouth and Hendrick's started that trend -- but it's mainly bought at the supermarket or posher offies.
posted by holgate at 8:23 PM on April 11, 2013

Gin is my favorite. My experience in Seattle is that it's maybe having a renaissance; bartenders love mixing me a nice gin drink, and keep a number of artisanal varieties on hand, having specific commentary on herb/earth/spice balance and so forth. Gin is also Mr. Weeyin's favorite. G&T does make me think 1950's after-work drink, while sloe gin is the "gin" that makes me think of my grandma. (But I love it, too, when done well.)

Vodka's more of a standby for basic drinks in my neck of the woods. And you'll get an eyeroll if you order anything ending in -tini that isn't a classic martini, in many places.
posted by weeyin at 8:33 PM on April 11, 2013

Summer weekends when I was a kid, my Dad would either drink a beer or a gin & tonic while grilling. He'd let me have a sip now and then. I liked the lime and quinine taste better than beer. So, I had happy associations with g&t when I panicked ordering my first drink (at 19 in a dive Canuck bar in Niagra Falls).

Once I was over 21, g&t became my happy hour well drink of choice. Until the one night I overdid it, and ended up ... uhm ... "getting rid" of a few too many in a DC Metro station. No more gin.

Fifteen years later, I'm finally back to drinking gin every once in a while. It reminds me of my dad, my childhood, and my post-college years of mid-Atlantic debauchery. Sigh.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 8:41 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I did have a bartender at a dive bar in Indiana make fun of me for ordering a Tanqueray and tonic ("ooooh, a tanque-RAYYY and tonic?"). I was a regular there, so it wasn't totally out of the blue. And anyway fuck him, because it is the best drink.

If you want to play up the manly angle, ask for a Bulldog and tonic. There are a ton of interesting gins these days and Bulldog is one of the tastiest.
posted by mindsound at 8:42 PM on April 11, 2013

I don't think that gin per se is feminine; I know very few people who like gin (mostly in my circle the brown liquors seem to be in) and they break out about equally.

On the other hand. Tonic water is a high-sugar mixer and -- compared to say a Manhattan or a Martini -- G&T is a low-alcohol drink. High-sugar plus low-alcohol generally puts you in the "chick drink" category but the bitterness of the Quinine, I think, keeps G&Ts out.
posted by goingonit at 8:46 PM on April 11, 2013

G&Ts are my drink-of-choice too, and I've had numerous people comment on what a boring/stuffy choice it is.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 8:47 PM on April 11, 2013

Ireland. Gin and tonic is consumed by young women, older men and women, and tourists.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:02 PM on April 11, 2013

Screw the haters. Look, I hate gin and I hate tonic, but if it's good enough for Snoop Dogg/Lion in "Gin and Juice", it's good enough for you. Tell the bartender you got your mind on your money and your money on your mind.

And then ask for extra lime. Make it rhyme. Do your time. And then enjoy it. it's no worse, and as hard to screw up, as rum and coke. It's a classic.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:17 PM on April 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Lemon gin = panty remover. At least in the olden days it was called that.

I love gin. I think it's pretty androgynous.
posted by it's a long way to south america at 9:26 PM on April 11, 2013

G & T's are the only hard liquor drinks I ever partake of out here in the tropics...they're refreshing, especially with a wedge (not a twist) of lime. As far as I know they're not perceived as being gender or age specific and I've been drinking them for a long time. As to it's "reputation", if you like how it tastes why do you care what anyone else thinks of it?

Drink up!
posted by motown missile at 9:33 PM on April 11, 2013

In my circles, gin is not particularly gendered, but is generally considered disgusting.
posted by latkes at 9:37 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Back in the day (pre 2005 or so), a G&T was considered an "old man drink" in the US because anything that didn't have -tini on the end of it (or adhere to various other silly cocktail trends prior to that one) was considered kind of weird and old fashioned.

Now that classic cocktails are the big thing, a G&T is just a normal thing to order.

My guess is that it ends up more towards the "girl drink" spectrum in some places because it's clear, sweet, and, in Britain, not a pint.
posted by Sara C. at 9:41 PM on April 11, 2013

I'm a gin lover myself (specifically Tanqueray), and I agree it has a reputation as an old man drink, but not in the pejorative sense. While most young people tend to dislike gin, I've never encountered any contempt regarding my own preference for it. If anything (though I don't think most people give it much thought), it tends to be regarded with something like faint admiration, in the same sense that young people tend to dislike scotch but wouldn't mind being the sort of person that enjoys it.

For the record, I do not enjoy scotch.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:43 PM on April 11, 2013

In the US I think the brand of gin is off-putting. For me hearing "Tanqueray and tonic" is in the same category as "Jack and coke" (ie: Beginner to novice drinks ordered by people who order things they've gleaned from popular movies.) But I wouldn't say it though. Anyone who gives you crap for the drink you order deserves a coconut filled with tiny umbrellas up their nose.
posted by Ookseer at 9:43 PM on April 11, 2013

Yeah, I kind of feel like ordering a cocktail that is mostly sweetened water and specifying the brand of liquor is sort of precious and maybe "girly", though I wince to default to "anything lame is feminine by association". I can see some less enlightened people using the term "girly"/"pussy"/"gay"/"chick" though.

Then again, people get Very Serious about their gin. Asking for a "jack and..." or a "crown and..." or a "stoli and..." is precious. Specifying tanqueray is sort of understandable.
posted by Sara C. at 9:47 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think gin provides the absolute worst hangovers. I used to be a bombay fan, but the hangovers were EPIC. I had to stop.


Slivovitz is the worst hangover ever. We call a shot of slivovitz "A Hard Drive Wipe."

Gin is it a close second. At least with gin, you can enjoy more than one drink before it degausses your brain:)
posted by jbenben at 10:04 PM on April 11, 2013

Holgate has it spot on. Here in the UK, it is both middle-class and slightly feminine. A middle class men could be expected to order one on a warm day, but it would be unlikely for a working class man to order one at any time.

It is however popular amongst gay men of any class. Do a twitter search on #ginoclock and you'll see.

When I visit my middle class parents, my Middle-Aged Mum has a weak (sipsmith or hendricks) gin and tonic, my (gay) husband and I have very much stronger ones and my Dad has a whisky and water.
posted by tonylord at 10:41 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

In my experience, gin & tonic is, in and of itself, utterly not a gender-associated drink at all.

There are some situations in which it can be invoked as a gendered example. It would be prissy to have gin & tonic in a situation where the logistical expectation is that pretty much everyone else is drinking beer from a bottle (tailgating, barbeques, picnics, etc.), but that goes for any cocktail. This bumps up against some class issues as much as gender issues (though it's all mixed up with gendered norms through the idea that higher class = leisure = effete.)

Oh, and among those of a certain age, there's perhaps a whiff of a floozy feminine association with bathtub gin.
posted by desuetude at 10:53 PM on April 11, 2013

I have never heard of gin itself being considered "girly", but maybe a gin and tonic just because "watering a drink down" may be considered feminine? When I was in college I was the only one of my friends who liked gin at all, so it meant that I didn't have to share my bottle with the other housemates. I still don't know many people my age (20s) who like it, so I think maybe they do consider it kind of old-fashioned. My go-to drink is a Tanqueray gibson, because I hate olives, and on Sunday mornings a Tanqueray and grapefruit juice (either a greyhound or a salty dog depending on the bartender).
posted by theuninvitedguest at 10:54 PM on April 11, 2013

Brit here.

How a Gin and Tonic is perceived is very context-dependent. In someone's home and generally in the pub, it tends to be either someone middle class, or women. Since time immemorial, what you drink, rightly or wrongly, is seen as an extension of how you want to project yourself.

Why? The generational thing is simply because gin was relatively more popular back in the day. There was a more limited wine selection and lots of crap wine about, women have never really drunk beer after a certain age (although that is slowly changing), and a G&T was a good standby drink for host and guest alike. Your hosts would often have a bottle in the expectation someone would order it. By the same token, the go-to drink for many men if they didn't have a beer was a whisky.

In most normal pubs still, ordering a G&T gets you a crappy shot of gin, two cubes of ice, a manky bit of a lemon and warm tonic. Trends have also shifted a lot - women are more likely to order wine, and younger men and women alike are just as likely to order a vodka and tonic. Or, for younger men, a vodka and, say, Red Bull. On top of that, a G&T or a vodka and tonic, especially if you go for light tonic, is less calorific, hence biases towards women.

But in bars and more upscale pubs, which tend to make better mixed drinks and have a better selection of spirits, these biases towards beer for men and wine for women, or G&Ts for older customers and vodkas for younger ones are less defined. Customers have, in effect, social permission to order what they want without fear that they are being pretentious. They also often get a better drink - more ice, mixed properly, and a better ratio of gin to tonic.

The new wave of artisan or upscale gins follows squarely on the explosion of vodka as the drink of choice and the ground laid by Bombay Sapphire for the gin market in the 90s. Vodka used to be the drunkard's and student's choice - cheap, easy to mix with anything, relatively tasteless. Premium and super premium vodkas - at first the Absoluts - a good parallel with Bombay Sapphire - and then the rebirth of Stoli and onto Ketel One, Grey Goose and all the rest of them - emerged because customers wanted to try vodka but wanted to drink something less ordinary. Bombay Sapphire started the modern premium gin trend. It's owned by Diageo, mass produced and is widely available in pubs because of Diageo's clout. It half made gin cool again.

While all this was going on, wine bars exploded in popularity in the 80s and then became a bit of a cultural joke in the 90s and then quickly became obsolescent as pubs became smarter (the first wave was all the chain pubs like All Bar One and Slug and Lettuce) and gastropubs became a thing. Wine bars were subsequently reinvented as niche places with a strong wine focus on the back of genuine consumer interest in quality wine rather than the old pub/wine bar dichotomy where the wine bar was where you went if you considered your local pub to be too grotty and wanted to impress someone.

But ultimately everything moves on. Stella Artois used to be the acme of sophistication in the UK and just 10 years ago was introduced to very select bars in New York to make it seem exclusive and rare. Stella is now often known in the UK as "wife beater". So, while craft breweries have quietly been doing their thing for a few years they haven't really had proper, dedicated places to sell their beers through. Now they do, and specialist beer pubs (the irony) that have taken the v2.0 wine bar model (i.e. really focusing on selection, quality and expertise and being advocates for niche producers) are a thing.

So, back to gin: really starting with Sipsmith, artisanal gins have been a hot mainstream trend for 3-4 years or so. Amazingly, until Sipsmith starting producing, only one other gin company actually distilled in London: Beefeater, from an ugly old distillery behind the Oval cricket ground.* To give you an idea of how big the wider trend is: The Botanist Islay Gin, which is produced at the Bruichladdich whisky distillery on Islay, outsells all their whiskies twice over. Last week I was talking to a guy who runs the best bottle shop for 30 miles either way in his bit of Scotland and The Botanist outsells all his whiskies combined. He prides himself on, and is known for, his whisky selection. It's not just the hipsters: premium gin is a big thing.

On the back of Bombay Sapphire a resurgence of older brands like Hendricks and Plymouth and new premium extensions from Beefeater and non-English gins are also a feature. Everyone now talks about botanicals. Where Bombay Sapphire basically made a play of how many botanicals it had now the conversation has appropriated the language of wine and whisky in talking about the flavour profiles the different botanicals confer, and the provenance of the botanicals. When alcohol brands start feeling a bit like top trumps you know there is a strong male audience for them - men, far more than women, like to imagine that they really do have the refined palate that can distinguish the anise tones of x or the coriander seed tones of y. There are better tonics, too - Fever Tree launched a few years back and have just sold and brands like Fentiman's are also in the space.

In time, gin will go the way of vodka and another class of drinks will become the focus. Sherry - delicious, cheap, lots of different types and flavour profiles, considered to be the preserve of old ladies - is a really good candidate.

In short - it is highly contextual. It is changing. Older brands like Beefeater or Gordon's still trend towards older consumers but the explosion of interest in gin is distinctly young and manly.

Source: I used to advise alcoholic drinks companies on consumer trends and how to innovate.

*Although once or twice a year they run a free tour, heavily booked in advance, and worth a trip.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:47 AM on April 12, 2013 [46 favorites]

Not entirely related to OP's question (there's a lot of discussion of the older history of gin here), however I think the following 1/2 hour radio programme might well be of interest to people reading this thread: BBC Food Programme - Gin and Botanicals
posted by protorp at 1:27 AM on April 12, 2013

Are you wearing a pith helmet and resting your feet on the head of a dead tiger while buxom native girls fan you with palm fronds?

(Seriously, though, I always have gin* and bitter lemon on the plane.)

(*I bring my own gin.**)

(**Yes, it's water, I'm happy to drink it it prove it.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:42 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

If someone told you Tangueray is a 'cranky old man' drink, it might be at least partly a result of it not being the cheapest booze on the market: you've got to figure that some wanna-get-drunk-NOW fratboy is looking for QUANTITY, but an older person with higher income might be looking for more QUALITY.

My father was a life-long martini drinker: the classic martini, that is, nuthin' but gin and vermouth and a strip of lemon peel. He wasn't always a Tangueray user, though: that came as he upgraded and discovered better quality booze he hadn't known about and/or couldn't afford as a younger man, just as his brother moved up over the years from the cheaper Scotches to the good stuff. Or the same thing with their beer: both my father and his brother drank Budweiser when they were young, but switched brands as they learned about better stuff.
posted by easily confused at 3:03 AM on April 12, 2013

Gin and tonic is my drink, too, usually Tanqueray - mostly because I know the bar will have it. Fancy artisan gins are the vogue now, which makes me all sorts of happy (but also a little crotchety-hipstery), but I don't drink often enough to develop a sophisticated palate, and I like Tanqueray just fine. (This is sort of an aside, but as an occasional drinker I get a little self-conscious about whether my drink order is classy enough, and at the same time I don't want to risk ordering something that the bartender might be unfamiliar with. Gin and tonic is safe - for now.)

I'm not sure if it's my age, the general trend, or a combination of the two, but gin seems to be making a comeback. Five or ten years ago, whenever I ordered a G&T someone would always make a lame comment about how gin was nasty and tasted like medicine/trees/cleaning supplies. These days, there are actually other people drinking gin!

Gin has a manlier, more grown-up reputation than fruity drinks, but it's not quite on par with beer. Again, it might be my age or the people I hang out with, but craft beer seems to be the big thing among my friends.

For what it's worth, I started drinking gin because it was what my mom usually ordered, and she tends to have good taste.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:45 AM on April 12, 2013

I drink Tanqueray because it was the preferred brand of one of the coolest WWII vets I've ever known, and I think of him whenever I drink it. (Miss you, Jack.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:15 AM on April 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Male, 60ish, Australian who flies on BA a fair bit. When the booze trolley comes along I generally ask for a large G&T. Last time the reply was "Two large or three large?" Gotta love BA. And no it's not girly, and anyone who says it is can sod off anyway.
posted by Logophiliac at 4:24 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

I drink gin and tonic. I was introduced to it by a classy, sort of old-fashioned guy. Since then, all of the guys I've encountered that drink it regularly (not occasionally, but regularly) are classy, sort of old-fashioned guys.

I also drank regularly in the Army, pretty much the pinnacle of US making-fun-of-people-for-their-drink-choices. There were no gendered insults based on drinking gin and tonic, but that may also have been because it was a pretty significant portion of gin to tonic water.
posted by corb at 5:06 AM on April 12, 2013

I've been drinking gin and tonic for 30 years in the US and in that time it has basically gone out of fashion and come back in. When I first started drinking it I would just ask for gin and tonic and get one, but now they have to grill you on what kind of gin you want. I don't care just give me the cheap stuff.

I think of it as an old-fashioned drink that has come back in fashion.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:55 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think a G&T has a gender. My friend's husband LOVES his T&T's going so far as to bring his own bottle of Tanqueray with him to places where he thinks they won't have his brand. He's also picky about the tonic. They live in Florida, so it's the perfect drink for the climate.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:58 AM on April 12, 2013

American, northeast: I tend to think of G&T as a summer cocktail. My parents would occasionally mix one before dinner in the spring/summer, to have with nibbles, it was the only hard liquor they ever drank. That's how I tend to drink them, too --- one or two in the afternoon, often outside.

As for this:

In the US I think the brand of gin is off-putting. For me hearing "Tanqueray and tonic" is in the same category as "Jack and coke" (ie: Beginner to novice drinks ordered by people who order things they've gleaned from popular movies.)

I dunno what kind of places you drink at, but in some of the dives I've been in the difference between Tanqueray and tonic and the bottom shelf well liquor they would otherwise charge you the same price for is definitely noticeable. More so with dark liquor than clear, but gin is the exception there, I'd say.
posted by Diablevert at 6:16 AM on April 12, 2013

I don't think G&T has a gender, either. My friends (early 30s, vaguely hipsterish, Boston area) mostly tend toward brown liquors in the winter, but switch to beer and gin as the weather warms up and we start drinking outside again. We usually have Tanq or Hendricks in the house, and we like G&T or Tom Collins (how's that for an old people drink?). We don't drink martinis of the gin or vodka (blech) variety with any regularity.

My father, on the other hand (old-ish cranky man, fairly well off, lives in the woods of Maine) drinks Sapphire Martinis, extra dry, with as many olives as you can fit on the pick. I think those are super duper gross.
posted by hungrybruno at 6:18 AM on April 12, 2013

G&T in the U.S. is definitely a hot-weather drink. When I was in college 10 years ago it was my drink of choice and it was definitely NOT a "girly" drink in the disparaging use of the term, because it's fairly dry and the quinine is bitter (Long Island Iced Tea and Sex on the Beach were the girly drinks of choice at the time). Sometimes I'd get comments that it wasn't a usual "college girl" type of drink, but not super-frequently.

These days, if I order one in the winter people sometimes comment it's a bit old-fashioned or that not too many people order it; if I order one in the summer I always get, "Ooooh, good summer drink!" The other G&T loyalist I hang out with is a beer-drinking sports-loving guy's guy (I am a wine-tippling lady type). We're the only people we know who drink them.

I find G&Ts are ideally sipped on the patio in late afternoon summer sunshine while watching someone else do yardwork. Having someone else engaged in sweaty labor definitely increases the G&T enjoyment.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:03 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tanqueray currently has a couple billboards on main roads between Philadelphia, PA and Trenton, NJ and they all feature a Gen X urban stylish black male, so maybe they are trying to tap that population, but I don't know if that's because they want to grab part of a new market for them or because there's already a steady market base there.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:40 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think of a g&t as a being a lady drink, but I do think of it as being a blue-blood or hot weather drink. My grandfather (who was English) was a naval architect who loved to sail; he often described yachts that were owned just as status symbols as "being in harbor for so long they were aground on their own gin bottles."
posted by KathrynT at 8:40 AM on April 12, 2013

Brilliant comment, MuffinMan. On a slight tangent:

The Botanist Islay Gin, which is produced at the Bruichladdich whisky distillery on Islay, outsells all their whiskies twice over.

There are decent financial motivations for whisky distilleries (especially smaller ones) to move into gin, aren't there? No aging required, so a quick turnaround on investment, but you can springboard off the (male-orientated) appeal of the main brand. Similarly, the small bourbon/corn-mash makers in the US are releasing "moonshine" or "white dog" (or venturing into gin themselves).
posted by holgate at 9:10 AM on April 12, 2013

Gin is cheap as chips to make. The throughput is enormous because all they do is buy in the base spirit and distil with the botanicals. In Bruichladdich's case they then sell it on at £25 to £30 a bottle. They can produce gallons of the stuff in the time it takes to make whisky. Before the premium gins and vodkas came along to perk up the market, the supermarket own labels accounted for about half of all bottles sold in retail. Tesco's everyday value gin is £10 for 70cl, and tax is about £8 of that (tax is applied at £28.22 per litre of pure alcohol). So if you're selling at £30 a bottle the tax is still the same, but you have £22, not £2, from which to cover your various costs and find your profit margin.

Say it quietly, but super premium gin is very overpriced. Premium and super premium alcoholic drinks always have a high marketing factor in it so this is hardly a revelation, but in gin's case the relationship between cost and price is stretched even by those standards. If you take a top of the range whisky or wine, for example, even if its cost of production is low relative to its price, it is generally still low enough volume to be exclusive in some way.

With gins, and vodkas, the exclusivity is almost entirely artificial. Short term, this plays really well for companies that get the best of both worlds - cheap production costs, few limits on output and a high price. A short term winner until the market gets a bit cramped.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:46 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

My late husband, all man (and then some!), frequently drank Tanqueray and tonic, at home and out. He never worried about whether he came across as "manly" in that respect or any other. I miss him!
posted by Dolley at 10:24 AM on April 12, 2013

I grew up in the Southern US, and currently live in the SF Bay Area. I've always had the perception, and get the impression that most of my peers share it, of gin as a grandma drink. But that's just when we're talking about the word "gin." Gin drinks like martinis and Collinses and -and-tonics are either manly or gender-neutral.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:35 AM on April 12, 2013

Mid-thirties, Fucking Illinois Bastard here. I make the rounds between craft beer, whiskey and, yes, gin and tonics. Never thought of them as girly. I've progressed from Bombay to Tanq to Hendricks, fwiw.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 10:41 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gin is the liquor of choice with most of the drinking folks I know right now (a small band of Rhode Islanders in their 20s to 40s). When it was my preferred liquor, I drank a lot of gin and tonics and martinis. Unfortunately, I can't drink gin anymore (instant memory wipe, which is no fun). However, at this point, I know more gin drinkers than vodka drinkers, and there isn't any gin gendering among them.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:46 AM on April 12, 2013

Some of the "girl drink" prejudice may simply have to do with it being a clear spirit. Classic girl drinks--involving fruit juices and other sweeteners, lots of ingredients and garnishes, preferably in crayon colors--use vodka and rum, and although gin finds its home primarily in martinis and G&Ts, the sort of person who really gives a shit about whether a drink is "manly" or "girly" won't give a shit about something as trivial as historical fact.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:28 PM on April 12, 2013

My friends and I tend to G&Ts and cider, depending on season. They've also started branching into Pimms so we've self-identified as old British spinster drinkers. My therapist made a comment about it being a maudlin old spinster drink as well. Very few of my male friends drink it (they are mostly bourbon fans) but I've also been transitioning to gin and soda with lime - the only other one who does drink gin is very profligate with his drinking (I don't know any alcohol he refuses to drink apart from bad wine). Now it's winter(ish) I'm drinking ciders.

But yeah, fairly heavily feminised in my social circle, but none of us would comment on a guy drinking it (apart from sharing our stash).
posted by geek anachronism at 7:10 PM on April 12, 2013

Midwestern American female, 30. Everyone who finds out that Gin and Tonic is my drink (Bombay Sapphire but possibly switching to Hendricks) makes some comment about how sophisticated I am/it is.
posted by koucha at 3:38 AM on April 13, 2013

« Older Calling people with large tea cupboards   |   How to survive 7+ hours of classes in a row? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.