Why Southern Ladies Don't Use Cocktail Straws

But what's it there for then?

Entertaining Punch Bowl
Photo: Becky Luigart Stayner

When we mentioned on Facebook that it's impolite to drink from a cocktail straw, one of those funny social etiquette rules it caused a lot of ire. We got lots of questions about why you should remove it from your drink. "Is it because it's likely to go up your nostril?" (Good thought, Bonnie.). Celeste Lawler rightly muses that that cocktail straws and coffee stirrers are very similar and maybe they should be used for stirring. Ding, ding! But that raised a whole other litany of questions: "What do you do with your cocktail straw if it can't stay in your drink?" Drop it on the ground? That doesn't feel right. When you're dressed for cocktails milling about with a clutch in one hand, an hors'd'oeuvre in another, what are your going to do with this straw? Litter? Stuff it in your date's pocket? Put it in your cleavage? No, no, and still no. Read below, we've got the situation handled:

The scenario: You've just been served a cocktail with a straw, a lemon or lime wedge, and a cocktail napkin.

1. Using your straw, give your drink a stir to ensure that the liquor is mixed well [The grimace on your face and the bad taste are equally bad when you get that unexpected, room-temperature swig of straight alcohol].

2. Now that you've stirred properly, take a small sip to see if your drink needs a squeeze of lemon or lime.

3. If it does need a dose of lemon or lime (Personally, I find that Vodka Sodas always need more lime.), add the necessary squeeze to the drink (NOTE: While you are squeezing the lemon or lime, cover the fruit with your hand to prevent squirting anyone in the eye. It burns.)

4. Sip again. If you still need more lemon or lime, repeat step 3. Otherwise, proceed to step 5.

5. Remove the straw from your drink (It's done it's job!). If you are standing up, nestle the straw between the outside of the glass and the napkin. If you are seated at a bar, place the straw on the edge of your cocktail napkin.

While the rules of etiquette evolve with the times, some things will never change.

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