U.K. Restaurant Introduces ‘Gender‑Neutral’ Cocktails, Empowers No One

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Nov 13, 2019

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Image Credit: Burger & Lobster

I would like to raise a toast to all the bars and restaurants in the great state of Britain that did not think to release “gender-neutral” cocktails “in a bid to remove stereotypes surrounding drinks.” London’s Burger & Lobster is not one of them.

The restaurant chain, in a laughably misguided attempt to promote inclusivity through their menu, have identified through a very serious, scientific poll, that 31% of British men surveyed are uncomfortable with fruity, pink, colorful drinks (R.I.P Cosmopolitans and Pina Coladas). It’s because they associated it with the opposite gender. (Are there only two?) To resolve this deep oppression, the chain removed all colors and names from their alcoholic drinks. Instead, customers can now read the drinks offered in terms of numbers and their descriptions, like a sub-par game of housie. “Gender inequality’s fixed; drinks four and six!”

With this move, Burger & Lobster has realized the final frontier to making men comfortable with their masculinity is, of course, not to ask them to reckon with their privilege and entitlement — but to ensure their egos are not hurt upon coming across a drinks menu that has descriptions with the word “pink” in them. Oh, the horror! Gender inclusivity is the need of the hour, and Burger & Lobster has rung up the order.

Gone are the days when we could rejoice at the thought of a cute, shiny, and bright drink in our hands. The barrier to inclusivity is, of course, too damn much femininity in the world — yes, drinks are gendered, but whoever knew the glamor and allure of chilled Cosmos were hampering our efforts to achieve gender equality? I guess men’s deep-seated discomfort got drowned in the deafeningly loud and enthusiastic “Cheers” and “Prosts” that abound in beachside bars around the world.


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And yes, the chain also polled women, 11% of whom said they thought Old Fashioneds and Negronis were too masculine. 67% of polled people even said they would not order a drink if it were to come in ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ glassware, presumably in an attempt to preserve their glass-like fragile gender identities. Trying to assuage these people’s intense discomfort with their gender expression not only paints gender neutrality as a business utility to be exploited (it’s a valid gender identity), it also doesn’t accomplish the larger goal, which is to make everyone comfortable consuming whatever they’d like, in whatever glass they’d like. Slapping a “neutral” color to drinks is not going to erase the male/female, blue/pink binary — all it does is reinforce the stereotype that men feel emasculated with pink drinks and women don’t like whiskey.

Removing color from cocktails is not doing anything toward inclusivity, folks. It’s just making the drinks more boring to look at. Give me all the umbrellas and the twirly straws and the sugar rims — keep your judgment, and performative progressiveness, back in the kitchen, where it belongs. 

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Written By Rajvi Desai

Rajvi Desai is The Swaddle’s Culture Editor. After graduating from NYU as a Journalism and Politics major, she covered breaking news in New York City. Back in the homeland, she spends her free time trying to dismantle societal beauty standards, laughing uproariously at comedy shows, and fervently following her football team, Arsenal.

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