Lawyers are like drinks: Arnold Palmers to Cabernet

Arnold Palmer

As soon as you order an Arnold Palmer, everybody within earshot is going to think you’re in recovery. It’s not too far fetched as alcoholism runs rampant through the legal profession. Then one of the lawyers you didn’t know about is going to walk up to you with a friendly familiarity and tell you their sobriety date, out of the blue. The other ones bellying up to the bar are going to give you dirty looks because you threw a wet blanket on their party.

I wish it was different because an Arnold Palmer tastes really good. If I’m not drinking because I’m the designated driver or something like that, then I kind of like to order one. What’s not to like about freshly brewed black tea, some simple syrup, real handmade lemonade and a little bit of ice? I like mine with a squeeze of lime over the top but that’s strictly optional. Fresh mint is also awesome. The fact that these drinks are non-alcoholic doesn’t really register when they taste this good.

I haven’t tried many of the variations of a basic Arnold Palmer because I don’t want to. One time a friend had two made with lemon vodka and some other stuff and I basically didn’t drink it. I don’t have anything against vodka but I just don’t like to mess with a really good classic. In my experience, lawyers who order one of these don’t order anything different, either.

Of course, and lets be honest here, a lot of lawyers order these because they actually are trying to stay clean and sober. It wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say that these lawyers know what one of these drinks means to everyone and they are doing it on purpose. Maybe they’re trying to set a sober example and be a role model for the drunken sots in the firm. Maybe they’re trying to make being sober a topic of conversation without saying anything themselves. They’re waiting for the drunk at the bar to make some dumb joke so they don’t look preachy.

What it says about you:  You’re now a sober lawyer and you have some wisdom to share about how the 12th step of the program feels.

Your hobby: You are into running and golf, plus making up for lost time with the family.

You wear: Nice, conservative clothes. Lots of brown and navy blue colors. Nothing showy you would have once worn out to the bars, but decent.

Your car: Now that you’re not blowing a pile of money on booze all the time, you bought a really nice car.


Any lawyer who orders a glass of 25 year old Glenmorangie neat is somebody you should go talk to. They’re not drinking for the buzz or the show of a fancy cocktail. These drinks are served in a plain glass. It’s usually the high-end crystal, but there aren’t pieces of fruit hanging over the side or those little god awful umbrellas. No, these lawyers are enjoying fine Scotch whiskey on purpose. They know it’s as good as life used to be. It’s doubtful they’re going to suggest you try any because, as they say, if you have to ask what they’re drinking you will never understand what they tell you.

You see, if you’ve never ordered a Glenmorangie then you’ve missed out on one of the rare pleasures of life. This stuff is expensive because of the care with which it is made and the years it ages in old barrels in Scotland. There are other great brands of course, but Glenmorangie is one of the best.

Don’t let the bartender pour it into some crappy regular bar glass. Demand the crystal they keep for these drinks. You’ll see why when he pours. Glenmorangie has a dark orange color like copper and high end leather. The smell makes you forget about the three Stooges from the office you were standing there talking to a minute ago. You’re overcome by the sounds of the Scottish moors and hillsides covered by wet heather. You smell the leather game bags as your Ghillie hands you the shotgun and points to the birds. You can taste the ocean and smoky peat moss on the back of your tongue.

The dummies who throw back a glass of Glenmorangie like it’s Jägermeister have never stood in a salmon stream fishing with a Spey rod in the rain. It’s probably good they never did as it would have been lost on them. They have never dried off their dog after an afternoon of rabbit hunting. After dinner at the lodge they watch TV instead of joining the others out on the porch for a glass of the world’s finest single malt. The world passes some people by while the others savor its true pleasures.

What it says about you: You’re the kind of person everyone else pretends to be when they order clothes from those catalogs.

Your hobby:  Fly fishing, wing shooting, and golf in the off seasons.

You wear:  You are the only person who can actually carry off tweed. You have a scuffed leather handbag that looks exactly like it should when you carry it.

Your car: A Range Rover with a winch on the back.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Unless it’s your family’s label, ordering a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon is the dumbest drinking mistake lawyers make EVER. The lawyer who orders one of these at a party is putting up a huge flashing neon sign saying “I’m a clueless idiot.” A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon is the faux pas of the cocktail party, my friends. It’s the signal you’re not sure what you’re doing but you are there with the big kids so you’re giving it a try.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good Cab. At their best, Cabernets are fantastic. But you drink it with a great steak. You’re going to find out after your first sip that Cabernet dries out your mouth like crazy with all the tannin. It’s what defines a great Cabernet and makes it such a perfect wine to have with great food. You don’t drink one by itself. When you order one of these, you look like you were flailing around trying to think of a drink to order. All you could think of was that wine your grandparents ordered at some fancy restaurant when you were a kid and it sounded fancy.

Put on your big boy pants and order a real drink like a great bourbon. You’re a smart lawyer. You can experiment at little bit at home where you’re safely out of the public eye and not in danger of driving home loaded. Don’t wait until you’re standing there at the bar with that ‘deer in the headlights’ look. You could at least buy a book about this stuff. You went to law school. You should be familiar with the concept of reading a book to figure something out.

What it says about you: You are an awkward weirdo with poor social skills.

Your hobby: You like to play bingo with your mom or walk your dog or something.

You wear: Awkward stuff that doesn’t really fit or match.

Your car: Something geeky like one of those new electric hybrids.

-Samuel Owen

© Samuel Owen 2012. All rights reserved. Please read important notices and disclaimers by clicking here.

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