Nothing inspires anxiety and mild panic quite like a first date. From finding the perfect place to meet, to figuring out whether to go in for a hug or a handshake, to keeping the slightly awkward conversation going, there’s plenty to stress about—and you shouldn’t have to add your drink order to that list. So, to help ease the first date jitters, we’ve gone ahead and ruled out a few options. Here are seven cocktails you should never, ever order on a first date.
Cocktails for Two
One of the fastest ways to freak out your date is by doing too much, too soon. Just like asking your date if they’d be free for a wedding six months from now, channeling Lady and the Tramp on the first date by ordering a double-strawed drink will most likely end things fast. Order a solo sipper on the first date and there may even be a second one in your future.
You may think it’s funny to end a date by ordering a Screaming Orgasm or Slippery Nipple with a wink and a nod, but we promise you, it’s not. If the date went well and you want to cap it off with a final round, go for something a little less tacky and a lot more tactful. Try a proper nightcap instead, like a Grasshopper or Brandy Alexander.
Embarrassing doesn’t even begin to cover the feeling of finding a shred of mint leaf in your teeth after a date has already ended. Was it there the whole time? Why didn’t someone say something? The best course of action when ordering a drink is to avoid potentially anxiety-inducing ingredients like muddled herbs altogether.
Treat your drinking like your potential relationship and take things slowly. Martinis, Manhattans and Negronis may seem like a good idea at the start of a date, but in addition to taking the edge off your nerves, they’ll also take the edge off your...everything—especially if you haven’t eaten anything yet. A taller drink with a higher proportion of mixer to booze, like a Tom Collins or Gin & Tonic, will help you pace your alcohol intake and keep you on your toes. Of course, if the date is going down in flames, by all means order a Long Island Iced Tea and watch it burn.
When ordering any drink, it’s not only important to consider what could get stuck in your teeth, but what color it might turn your teeth—and lips. Sangria is, after all, made with a hefty portion of red wine, which does nothing better than turn everything it touches purple. Unless you want to make frequent trips to the bathroom to touch up with Wine Wipes, skip the Sangria—or at least opt for white.
Anything in a Martini Glass
First date magic relies heavily on avoiding mishaps, which means avoiding anything that comes in a standard V-shaped Martini glass. Not only are these glassware abominations less elegant than the classic coupe glass, but the design is also severely flawed: A too-heavy, liquid-filled top paired with a long, spindly stem and a dainty base is a recipe for unwanted spillage. So if your first date spot doesn’t use coupes, opt for something on the rocks.
Bland drink choice, bland date choice—that’s the most important rule when it comes to drinking on a first date. Even if you don’t meet up at a bar or another venue that serves alcohol, you can still make the effort to drink something with a bit of panache—even seltzer has more personality than water, especially when you order it with a lemon wedge or, better yet, a dash of bitters. Now that says second date.