What you need to drink in every work situation, according to an expert

Finding your drink for different work situations whether it be a business dinner, a networking cocktail party or even a happy hour where your manager is still in sight is very important.

There are drinks you have on special occasions, there are drinks you have with your friends on a wild Saturday and there are drinks you have on your couch on a Friday after a long week at work where putting on sweatpants is your big plan of the night. And then there are the drinks you have when you are talking to your boss or meeting with clients. Finding your drink for different work situations whether it be a business dinner, a networking cocktail party or even a happy hour where your manager is still in sight is very important.

To make sure you are always making the right imbibing career choice we asked Owen Meyer, founder of Liquor Lab. Liquor Lab is a venue based in New York’s Soho (though they had a residency in the Hamptons this summer and will be in many different cities soon) that teaches non-bartenders like you how to make all those trendy, delicious cocktails. It’s goal is to help put the consumer back in the power seat and not be distracted or steered wrong by brands taking over bars and types of alcohol.

“Drinks and cocktails are not like food in the sense that food is much more easily understood.  Drinks, on the other hand, are a huge part of social life, and yet, they are still a huge mystery.  What are the ingredients? How do they go together? How is this made? It’s something that is right in front of you all the time but there is a large hurdle to fully understand them.  When a consumer learns to make their own drink from an industry leader in the cocktail world, it is important that the experience starts at the consumer level — with a practice shake — and ends with a classic stirred cocktail, or any cocktail for that matter.  That is what we do at Liquor Lab,” Meyer told Ladders.

So what are the best drinks for different work situations?

If you are with a client at a bar or event

“If you’re around clients, you’ll want to keep your head on straight. Try a dressed Tecate. It has lemon juice, hot sauce, and a pinch of salt, to keep the convo flowing.  Or you can pretty much never go wrong with a classic with a twist: try and añejo old fashioned or a mezcal old fashioned.”

If you are at an event and have to do some public speaking

“This is a tough one, but go with something light and easy like a highball. Or, if you want to make it quick, go with a shot of Fernet.  The bartender will tip his cap to you and likely join you for that shot.”

If you are at your first happy hour with coworkers

“If you’re worried about happy hour with coworkers then just stick to distilled water with a lemon.  If you want to make a statement that you’re headed for upper management, order a whiskey sour, and make sure you specify what whiskey you prefer. I’m an Old Overholt guy.”

If you are at a business dinner but don’t want wine

“You’ll want something that is classic and easy to sip but will make you look like you’re in the know. Knock back a Negroni or two and wear a red power tie to match the drink.”

If you want to impress your boss

“Depends on the industry you work in and where you’re at, but I can tell you one that will get you fired from my company… a Vodka Soda.”

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.