There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than a first-date and trying to make a good impression, while keeping your cool. Trying to be the best version of yourself, while evaluating whether you and your date are compatible in the long run!

There’s no better venue for a first meet up than a bar to help calm the nerves. Choose somewhere buzzy and vibrant, and be sure to have some cocktail knowledge up your sleeve to impress. There’s nothing worse than pouring hours over a menu only to say ‘I’ll have the same as you’!

To help with your cocktail game plan, here’s a few fail-safe drinks that will make you look effortlessly knowledgeable, and impress that special someone.

Always Cool

martini cocktail

If you want to look like a pro, and not a James Bond wannabee, know your spirits. Martinis can be made using gin or vodka, make sure you order knowing your preference. Don’t be caught off guard when you’re asked how you’d like it served. A wet martini is sweeter than your average, a dry martini depends on the amount of vermouth you want, and a dirty martini includes olive brine. A lesser known option is a ‘smoky martini’ which uses gin and a splash of Scotch whisky with a lemon twist, stirred. This heady combination should be sipped slowly if you want to stay upright!

Universally Euro

An Aperol Spritz is refreshing, drinkable and one of the most popular cocktails on the continent. Unlike some drinks, this transcends gender, proving to be as popular with the girls as it is with the guys. Its bright orange colour conjures up visions of summertime, making it the perfect outdoor drink, or for enjoying on a terrace or rooftop as the sun sets. Made using Aperol, Prosecco, soda/tonic water and ice, this is a cocktail you can drink all night long.

Timelessly Hip

first date drinks

The hip drink of the moment, Negroni has made a comeback in recent months. This Italian gin-based cocktail includes Campari and sweet vermouth, often garnished with orange peel. A good bartender will ask for your gin preference, if you’re not too familiar with the choices, roll off a Sipsmith or Hendricks, as safe go-to options. Finally, you may want to ask for it ‘on the rocks’ to help dilute it slightly, despite your first date jitters!

The Safe Option!

If you know where you stand with prosecco and are partial to a glass or two, then you will never look out of place sipping a chic glass of bubbly. Not as opulent as champagne, it’s the perfect mid-range drink for a casual get-to-know-you. If you feel like shaking things up, ask the barman for a Prosecco Limoncello – which includes a shot of limoncello to liven it up.

Something Chic

Still get your fix of bubbles, but without any of the pretension with a Kir Royale. Served in a flute, this trusted French cocktail never goes out of fashion. Combining crème de cassis (a rich dark liqueur made from blackberries) with champagne, it’s typically enjoyed as an aperitif, and is best enjoyed at the start of a night. 

Bang on Trend

paloma cocktail with rosemary garnish

Tequila has managed to shake off its student image and is causing quite a stir in bartending circles. Impress your date by asking your bartender for their latest tequila import, or what they’d recommend for a Paloma cocktail. When in doubt, Patron Silver is always a trusted option. Bursting with flavour and colour from the grapefruit, don’t be surprised if your date leans in to have a sip. Here’s to a second date!

If you're stuck for ideas on the perfect romantic get away, then check out our blog Capital Cocktails; the Best Bars With Views in Europe. The article features the most beautiful settings across London, Athens, Russia and more. Perhaps not ideal for first dates, unless you are Christian Grey of course and have a private helicopter tucked away somewhere!