Having worked in the restaurant industry for nearly seven years, I learned quite a bit about nightlife. Getting off work at midnight, then not having to get ready for my next shift until 4 p.m., or for school until noon, left a lot of time to goof off into the night. In so doing, I experienced firsthand that “you are what you drink.”

Although the common saying is “you are what you eat,” I am thinking that the alcohol of choice and the drunken state that comes with consumption say quite a bit about a person — the Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde syndrome, if you will.

So my mission, from my own personal experience of trying out different drinks to hanging with the Average Joe or Jane Doe, is to help you know what to expect from a drinker, based solely on what they are drinking.

Domestic beer: Usually, these people are the loudest of the bunch, sober or not. They are hardworking people who like to get the most out of the dollar. But once they get to drinking, they can easily be identified as the patrons with bags of ice in their pitchers, or the neighbor who almost always has a can of beer in his or her hand come 5 p.m. because they can’t bring themselves to pay more for bottled beer. They like their thrills cheap; they like getting fucked up and they like being the center of attention, i.e., a lot of hooting and hollering once intoxicated. With my own personal experience, I am sure all the yelling is because of the migraine derived from drinking what some describe as “piss beer.”

Imported beer: Now these chaps could go either way, but most of them are, in fact, chaps. Most alcohol-drinking females have either realized they don’t like beer because of the case of Milwaukee’s Best they had in their formative years that left them with a hangover from hell, or because the calorie count is just too high to waste on getting drunk. So if you find either a single female or a single male drinking imported beer, he or she might be worth sitting down next to and striking up a conversation. Most imported beer drinkers know what they like, have tried others and somehow have become well-informed about the world in the process. They are typically laid back and like discussing anything. Most are entertaining, but be careful … too much of this sweet nectar could turn any member of Mensa into a blithering idiot.
Vodka, straight up in a martini glass, on the rocks or with tonic or water:

I am starting to think these are my kind of people, preferably on the rocks, even though I personally can’t handle drinking the poison myself. This particular drink is not only great for health nuts who like to get trashed without putting on the pounds, but it also tricks its consumer into thinking that getting obliterated is far off into the night. It looks like water, tastes like whatever is put into it, and those partaking seem to be cool and collected well past the point you would think would make you slur your words. But once the clock strikes 12 (metaphorically speaking), all hell breaks loose. You can see your composed well-thought-out friend turn into a giggling machine instantaneously. You can try and hang with him or her for a bit, but you realize that whatever you had been drinking is mild in comparison. Once this state comes about, it only takes a few minutes before such friends asking to go home, or resigning themselves to their bedrooms. Best to just give in and go for what they’re having if you want to stay on the same page of being incoherent.

Jack Daniel’s: Although some may want to categorize Jack Daniel’s (J.D.) drinkers as whiskey drinkers, they are truly in a class all by themselves. I have known others to drink whiskey — J & B, Johnnie Walker, for example — but Jack Daniel’s drinkers are an interesting breed. Those who love J.D. are usually the quiet, melancholy types. In my experience, they have usually been hard-working blue-collar individuals who like to throw down when the work week is over, even though some dip into their stash well before the final work-week bell. But once it is time to drink, this group tends to split. Some go from quiet and reserved to running around the block with underwear on their heads, screaming a Ramones’ song. Others tend to leave the party and sit outside with two or three friends, smoking cigarettes and discussing how screwed up everything is. And just in case you were wondering, somehow J.D. drinkers usually get the girl. To know real J.D. drinkers, all of them tell you they love the taste, and all of them will have a bottle on hand at home.

In light of space issues and far too many drinks to discuss, this Straight Up will be continued soon. Maybe next week, maybe in a few weeks, but if you are looking for the lowdown on those who like to throw down, then stay tuned.