They say that you can tell a lot about a man by what he drinks, and while that is certainly true, I would take it a step further and say you can tell a lot about the character of a man by the contents of his drinks cabinet.
From those who have a small liquor store’s worth of bottles in stock, to those who have a solitary, half-empty bottle that looks like it has been there since Queen Victoria was a lass, the way people store and offer drinks to their guests can tell you all you need to know about their inner workings.
Here are the five types I have identified. Let me know if you’ve discovered any more.
The Cheapskate may well have plenty of booze in his house, but it is rarely on display and is never any good. He eschews well-known spirits in favor of off-brand versions found at Costco and beverage wholesalers, which he thinks are “just as good” (in truth, some are and most are not). He keeps them hidden from view so none of his house guests know he is as tight as the backside of a new arrival to San Quentin.
In the unlikely event you do catch a glimpse of his stash, you will see unfamiliar labels that read something like “Cheapasski Vodka” or “Ochthenoo Scotch Whisky,” and in the even more unlikely event he actually offers you a drink, it is likely to be in small enough amounts to evaporate away as you hold the glass.
The Show-Off is more or less the direct opposite of the Cheapskate. His liquor cabinet is ostentatious, and the bottles are arranged with the labels facing outward for maximum status augmentation. He wants you to know that not only is he wealthy enough to keep lots of hooch in the house, but he is also an expert on all matters booze-related. He tries to achieve this by buying the most well-known brands, not because they are any good but because, well, they are the most well-known brands. It’s guys like this who keep Grey Goose in the black year after year.
The Show-Off’s liquor cabinet is an extension of the rest of his lifestyle, and just as he drives a flash car and wears designer clothing with the labels on show, the booze he keeps at home makes a statement about his life. Unfortunately for him, that statement is “I am a complete tool.”
The Man-Child is the sort of guy who still believes that his years in college were the best of his life. The shame is that he’s probably right. This is a man who believes it is still acceptable to wear a commemorative sports jersey even though he is well into his 30s. His liquor cabinet will consist of one bottle of cheap tequila and an assortment of mismatched shot glasses resting on top of the mini fridge full of the cold gassy beer he still prefers. And, of course, if you’d care to sample said tequila, you’d have to descend down a flight of stairs into his mother’s basement, where he still lives.
The Geek’s glazed expression demonstrates that he spends as much time researching fine wines and spirits on the Internet as he does actually drinking the stuff. For him, the range of drinks he has on offer matters a great deal, and he will shake his head in disbelief when you say you have never tried Hungarian Unicum or the Balkan vodka he had privately imported at great cost. He will also want to prove he has the most rare expressions of every spirit he purchases, and can often be found cradling a bottle of Scotch made by a distillery that only releases its product every time the national team reaches the World Cup finals (for the record, that’s not very often) or a rare brandy distilled along with tears shed by Napoleon as he headed off to exile one final time.
All this is harmless enough until you realize that you will never persuade the Geek to actually pour you a drink, as he is afraid that opening the bottles will ruin their value as collectibles.
The Would-Be Mixologist
The Would-Be Mixologist doesn’t have a drinks cabinet. He has a bar. For him, the offering of a drink to guests is a serious business that requires all the right tools. Alongside his vast array of spirits, bitters and syrups (which, of course, he makes himself) will be a selection of fruits for garnishing the cocktails he makes, a variety of strainers and a small library of books about the origins of cocktails and their importance in social history. He probably makes a mean drink but will also spend so long telling you how badly everybody else makes the same drink that you will long for death before it’s even served. Unfortunately, this one sounds all too familiar to anyone who has ever visited my apartment