"Your gayest drink, bartender," I say to the bartender at The Company House as I climb onto a bar stool.
She pauses and looks at me, heterosexual poser. I'm out on the town with my queer friend Lee-Anne, former bartender at the now defunct gay-friendly restaurant Mollyz, trying to find the gayest drink in Halifax.
"Seeing as I'm gay and all, I usually drink beer," the bartender says. "All gays drink beer."
"Then pass me your gayest beer," I say, waving my hands. The gayest beer, in her opinion, is Labatt's, so I ask for a Moosehead Lager. Lee-Anne sips her Amaretto sour.
I ask the bartender and Lee-Anne to tell me what, Labatt's aside, the gayest drinks really are. It's not so simple, they say.
"Fag hags like Jagermeister and Rockstar, says the bartender. It sounds unappealing. "We older lesbians, when a whole group of us get together, we can empty quite a few bottles of red wine."
Lee-Anne says Mollyz used to serve a lot of Caesars and red-eyes to older gay men on Sunday mornings. The bartender concurs: "It's the gay morning-after drink. We do a sour puss, or an apple martini---that's pretty gay, too. And the new beer with the lime pre-added is the new lazy gay drink, for gays too lazy to put lime into their own beer bottles." None of these appeal to me. We move on.
Before our excursion, I talk with Michael Best. The local playwright and gay man has invented some of the gayest drinks in Halifax during his long drinking career.
Best's award-winning play, Gay White Trash, introduced The Runny Seaman to Halifax. "The characters in my play drank it," he explains, "and people would go out after the show and order it, and no one would know what the hell they were talking about."
Best mentions Tribeca as a drinkers' primordial soup---any number of drinks were conceived there. There's the Maritime Mum, a tea-based drink that "packs a caffeine kick for those of us a generation too young for Red Bull," and the Purple Punch: "It's actually pink. Ask them to make it like Michael Best likes it."
There's also the Dartmouth Caesar---Best won't say what's in it, so you'll have to order it from Dawn Negus, the Tribeca bartender who was in Gay White Trash.
And Cooper Tardivel, Mosaic's bartender, will always make Best a Bijou when he's there. "It's not on the menu," says Best, "but I highly recommend ordering that for an upscale gay cocktail."
The most characteristically gay of Best's drinks is The Lonesome Homo. "There is a dash of bitters across the top, which looks like a skid mark. It totally suited my mood at the time, and I drank them for years." But only Best and longtime Diamonds bartender Marty Cole know how to make it. "No one would even know what that was unless they worked at the Diamond circa 1999 to 2000, which is when then-bartender Tim Stewart made it up, especially for me."
Near The Company House is Menz Bar, catering to gay men. Lee-Anne and I sit on stools in the industrial-themed main area.
"We get a lot of guys coming in and ordering Cosmopolitans---at least, the more delicate types," says Rick, the bartender. "More rough-and-tumble types order a pitcher of beer. But it's pretty much beer all the time."
Dan, who is hanging out with members of DaPoPo Theatre, blurts out "Seabreeze! You add the cranberry juice slowly at the end so that it looks like a sunset! They are yummy! Yummy, yummy, yummy!" Lee-Anne and I exit.
Downtown, standing outside Reflections, DJ Hedfones takes a break before his show. Nothing inside from the bartender has really elucidated homo drinking trends, but Hedphones seems to have a bird's-eye view on the situation. "I don't see too many people drinking the fancy drinks. I think the gayest drink in Halifax is Olands."
Let's get stereotypical: Who drinks what?
You're sitting good, giving, and game at a bar. Any one of the following types of gays sits beside you. What do they want? Try your luck with these suggestions, but be creative.
Junior Benders (Teen and early 20s women who like women): Yagerbombs.
Over-40 lesbians: Red wine
Twinks (Young, skinny and effeminate boy-men): "They would drink beer."
Beefcake gay men: "They like their gin and tonic."
Delicate gay men: Cosmopolitan, Smirnoff Ice
Older Maritimer gay men: 15-up/red eye, or good old fashioned caesars.
Gay boys: Martinis with sexy names like the Rim Job, or Hole in One at dinner, and then lots and lots of beer.
Drag queens: Beer with a straw (to protect their lipstick)
1 oz Amaretto
1 oz dark Navy rum
Mix on ice in a tumbler. Goes well with smokes.
1 glass of draft beer
Dash of lime cordial
Rim glass with bitters. Allow bitters skid to linger on face.
Fresh brewed ice tea
1 oz lemon vodka
Pour vodka and tea into teacup, over ice. Keep pinky finger pointing out.
1 oz raspberry vodka
1 1/2 oz reg vodka
1/4 oz cassis or chambord
squeeze of lime.
Mix on ice.