Raise your glass, because our first-ever mixology survey results are live! And if you do have a glass in your hand, chances are it's full of whiskey. Over 1,000 people chronicled their cocktail drinking habits, and 33% voted whiskey their favorite spirit, followed by 27% of imbibers who said that they prefer vodka. We'll call the popularity of bourbon, scotch and other brown boozes the Mad Men effect. Paging Don Draper!
Cocktail culture is more popular than ever, with people having a tipple or two an average of 3.1 times each week (men are the thirstier of the genders, consuming drinks 3.6 times a week as opposed to 2.7 times for women - why are we not surprised?). Even though surveyors are enthusiastic about knocking back a few, no one is going too crazy - our surveyors report having an average of 1.8 cocktails per outing. Check out some boozy stats in the slide show below, and check out the most annoying cocktail trends here. You can also follow along on social media with the hashtag #drinksweek.
With all the care that is being put into beverage programs these days, it's no surprise that drink prices are continually creeping up. Fifteen dollars seems to be the cutoff between 'worth it' and 'way too expensive.' Fifty-four percent of cocktail connoisseurs say that that's the most they will pay for some liquid relief. Even so, it's no surprise that prices break that mark, as 20% say they will spend up to $20. Ouch - that gets two drinks with tax and tips perilously close to the $50 mark. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/mixology-week-8-cocktail-trends-you.html">Mixology Week: 8 Cocktail Trends You Need To Know About Right Now</a>
The days of a dollar per drink are over, according to our survey. Fifty-nine percent of respondents say that they leave a tip that's a percentage of the total bill, and only 31% say they leave a flat amount per beverage. When going out for cocktail, the average tip is 18.9%, which comes out to $1.96 per tab. Good to see that people are taking care of their bartenders. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/10-most-annoying-cocktail-trends.html">The 10 Most Annoying Cocktail Trends</a>
There's a new James Bond flick coming out in a few weeks, and it turns out the spy's famous "shaken, not stirred" is on point. A massive 70% of respondents prefer their alcoholic beverages to be shaken - which does not jive with all of the swizzle sticks being employed at high-end cocktail bars around the country. Though Bond had it right when it came to the cocktail shaker, the majority of drinkers might want to add a piece of ice or two to that martini. Sixty-eighty percent of drinkers prefer their beverages to be served on the rocks. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/secret-restaurants-your-guide-to-hidden.html">Secret Restaurants: Your Guide to "Hidden" Eateries in 8 Cities</a>
Even though everyone may be channeling Draper and Co. in their choice of spirit, no one is getting three sheets to the wind at lunch anymore. Only 8% of respondents say that they enjoy cocktails at lunch (and a truly hard-core 2% of voters say that they will have a drink or two with breakfast). Folks in the Midwest are still holding onto the tradition though, as an above-average 12% of voters in the region say that they enjoy a midday drink during the week. On the weekend, brunch beverages are popular across the nation, with 27% of folks saying they break out the mimosas and Bloody Marys with their eggs Benedict. The truism about 5 PM seems to be true though, with 77% saying that they will get their drink on after work. Very classy, people - but if you want to start at 4:30 PM we're not gonna judge. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/burger-survey-vote-for-your-favorite.html">Burger Survey: Vote For Your Favorite Toppings</a>
We already pointed out that men are boozing more than women, but the gender divide is flipped during brunch. While 33% of females drink during brunch, only 22% of males do - maybe they are too busy recovering from the night before. The survey was evenly split between males and females, and there was also a divide in the top-spirit category. Women like clear drinks, and men like brown ones. On the brown front, 46% of males said that whiskey is their favorite spirit compared to 22% of females. When it comes to vodka though, 36% of women say that's their beverage of choice, compared with 17% of dudes. One thing that both sexes can agree on? Gin - 16% of men and women ranked it as their favorite spirit, making it the third most popular overall. Oh, and no one like absinthe - it was the least popular spirit by far with only 1% of the vote. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/zagat-stat-texting-at-table-love-it-or.html">Zagat Stat: Texting at the Table: Love it Or Hate It?</a>
While plenty of watering holes make their own specialty cocktails, classics are still very popular. It was a three-way battle for the most popular libation, with the martini and the Manhattan tying for first place with 12% each. In a close third place was the old fashioned, with 11% of the vote, and the gin and tonic and margarita were number four and number five, respectively. The gender divide was also on display here. Eighteen percent of males said the Manhattan was their favorite, with only 7% of females saying that's their go-to drink. Women prefer the margarita (11% to 5%) and the mojito (10% to 5%) more than the gents we surveyed. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/destination-delis-8-sandwich-slingers.html">Destination Delis: 8 Sandwich-Slingers Worth Traveling For</a>
It turns out that Cosmos are so early 'aughts. The drink that got a whole new generation of folks drinking cocktails has fallen off the radar completely, with only 3% of voters saying it's their favorite drink. People are looking for something new, with 34% of voters saying that it's very important that a diverse drinks menu is offered when they go out. And if the drinks are good, people are willing to wait. Though we regularly hear people complain about how long it takes to mix up a tasty cocktail these days, 44% of our surveyors say that they are willing to wait a full six to eight minutes for their drink to come up when they order it at a bar. A smaller subsection is even more patient than that, with 18% saying that they can wait more than eight minutes for their tipple. Other things that really make a difference are fresh ingredients (80% of folks say that this is very important) and ice (66% say that the proper amount is essential). People care less about glassware though, with only 46% saying that it's very important. Even though that is the last on the list, we're thinking that the best cocktail bars will still keep the red Solo cups in the closet. Also see: <a href="http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/dream-meals-chefs-and-readers-share.html">Dream Meals: Chefs (And Readers!) Share Their Culinary Fantasies</a>