Avoid Dirty Shirleys and other trendy drink traps this summer


It took me about a calendar year to realize that I didn’t like espresso martinis. It all started in June 2021, when the New York Times proclaimed espresso martinis are BACK, baby. Admittedly, I hadn’t noticed a single espresso martini in nature. But as soon as I finished reading, it was like I was in an espresso martini fever dream.

Everywhere I looked, someone a little younger and not so slightly hotter than me was sipping those three signature coffee beans floating on a cloud of foam. And me too. I’ve had very cheap espresso martinis at dive bars, where ordering one gave me a look of utter disgust. I’ve had very expensive espresso martinis at very pretentious rooftop bars. I drank them until my head was buzzing from the caffeine and my stomach was giving every possible signal to please stop.

Like so many others, I had fallen into the Trendy Drink Trap. It makes sense that after a truly terrible year spent sheltering at home, away from friends and family and gathering spaces like bars and restaurants, we would come back with a fierce desire to be part of something. something bigger. There seemed to be a collective itch to prove that we may have spent 52 weeks tending scallions from the windowsill and caring for sourdough starters like they were our children, but we were still costs. But this summer, for the sake of my wallet and my large intestine, I won’t crack anymore.

As the temperature rises and we test out all of our latest summer personality traits (I’ve decided I’m a Birkenstocks and socks guy), it’s so easy to crave the feeling of freshness and confidence that provides on-trend drink ordering. I feel tangible relief when I look at a busy, trendy bar and realize that everyone is holding the same glass and drinking the same drink. I dodged another social fumble.

Espresso martinis aren’t everywhere I look anymore, and I’ve yet to look up from my bar stool and notice everyone except me drinking the exact same cocktail. But this summer’s trending drink is on the horizon, and it’s too looming to ignore. All the hot girls drink Dirty Shirleys – a shade of Sprite and grenadine, made filthy by a generous sip of vodka. Or mint juleps. Maybe it’s sangria. And some are welcoming the good old dirty martini back. Where Aperol Spritz once reigned supreme – and earned around $1 billion for Aperol – there’s a whole new class of even sweeter and much (much) stronger drinks vying for a spot.

It’s hard to resist signing on – right now, at 10:55 a.m. on a Friday – and finding the nearest, most photogenic Dirty Shirley in town. The drink might be as smooth and shocking as the espresso martini, but there’s real undeniable fun in snapping a shot, sharing it online or in chat, and becoming another body in the sea of ​​drinks at the fashion. But do you know what’s sweeter than an espresso martini or a sprite and vodka? Order whatever you want this summer.


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