“It’ll be about 45 minutes.”
We’ve all been there — anxiously arriving at a restaurant, ready to stuff our faces with good grub and delectable booze, only to be told we must sit in our state of rumbling hunger while our dining predecessors finish their feasts and open up a table.
It’s definitely frustrating, but as in most circumstances, irritating situations become a lot more bearable when there’s booze to be had — like when there’s a bar to wait at. Still, you’re about to eat a big meal, and probably drink with that meal. It can be tricky finding the right drink to tide you over. Here are the five best beverages to order while waiting for your dinner table:
Prosecco, Cava, even Champagne if you’re feeling fancy. Sparkling wine is a great pre-dinner drink because the mouthwatering acidity and lip zinging effervescence work together to stimulate our palates, preparing our taste buds for the food (and wine) to come.
Because how hard it is to screw up a gin and tonic? No matter what restaurant or bar you find yourself in, a gin and tonic is a no-brainer, both for ordering and creating. The wait time is short, the ingredients are simple, and it’s much lighter than that rum and Coke or cranberry vodka. Plus, it’s incredibly refreshing.
Equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari equals one perfect aperitif. Legend has it that the drink was first crafted in Florence, Italy, when Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender to make his usual drink of Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water a bit stronger; the bartender swapped out soda water for gin, and changed the usual lemon garnish to an orange peel to distinguish the difference of the newly created beverage.
Fortified wine from southern Spain, otherwise known as sherry, can range in flavor profile from nutty and dry to syrupy sweet. While the latter is a great way to finish a meal, dry sherry makes an awesome aperitif. Its nutty, savory flavors stimulate the appetite, though the wine’s flavors truly come alive when paired with bar snacks such as crunchy marcona almonds or salty olives. Look for a fino or manzanilla sherry when seeking out your next pre-dinner Spanish sipper.
When all else fails, choose Bourbon. It’s simple, it’s sweet, and if that table opens up sooner rather than later, you can shoot it back and call it a day. Everyone wins.