Recently, we asked around for some recommendations on how to cure pre-date jitters. The responses ranged from yoga to blasting feel-good music to taking a nap — but every single suggestion also managed to include alcohol as well. (“Take a nap….and then take a shot!” “Do some calming yoga….and have a glass of wine!” etc.)

Clearly, for many daters, alcohol is an important part of the getting-ready-for-a-date process. But choosing what to drink can be difficult — you don’t want anything that will stain your teeth or taint your breath, and you certainly don’t want to show up too drunk.

With that in mind, here are 5 type of liquid courage that will prepare you for a date, without sabatoging your chances.

One Single Tequila Shot

Bartender Laura Lashley of Madam Geneva in New York City swears by the tequila shot as the perfect pre-date shot of courage.

“It’s quick and it gives you energy and courage.” She says.

If you’re taking a shot for pre-date courage, save yourself a hangover and splurge for a top-shelf brand. It’s potent, but won’t go straight to your head. Also, be sure to take your shot well before your date arrives, or at an entirely different bar altogether — there’s nothing more disheartening than showing up and seeing your date downing shots at the bar.

Dry Martini

No one in the world has ever looked uncool drinking a dry martini. This popular apertif has other benefits, too: it’s clear, it’s strong, it whets the appetite (if you’re meeting for dinner), and if you stick to just one, it won’t smell on your breath.

Do make sure to order it stirred: for one thing, they’re better that way, for another, you don’t want to sound like you’re actively trying to imitate James Bond. Save that for later in the relationship.

Sparkling Wine

Douglas Piccinnini, bartender at White Star, suggests sparkling wine as the perfect pre-date potable. It’s not too boozy, it doesn’t stain your teeth, and you can finish a small glass pretty quickly.

Try a prosecco or any other frizzante drink on the menu. Added bonus: there’s something about holding a glass of sparkling wine that makes you look that much more elegant: not a bad first impression.


If it’s good enough for Don Draper, it’s good enough for you! Lashley recommends ordering an Old-Fashioned if you have to wait for your date at a bar: it’s a classic drink, every bartender will know how to make it, and though it’s strong, it doesn’t reek of “pre-date nerves” as much as, say, ordering a Jack and Soda would.

Green Tea

Non-alcoholic: shocking! But for teetotalers (or mere moderate drinkers), green tea is the perfect pre-date drink. It has just enough caffeine to keep you energized, without making you jittery, it won’t stain your teeth, it won’t upset your stomach, it won’t go to your head, AND it acts as a diuretic so you can get rid of extra water weight! You’ll arrive at your date feeling fresh and zen.

And a few drinks to avoid…

Red Wine: Stains the teeth, and mouth, and you won’t even know it’s happening until you go to the bathroom halfway through dinner and AGGHHH! Purple lips and teeth.

Beer: If possible, avoid carbonation! You don’t want to be bloated, gassy, or belchy before you even get to your date. Also: beer breath.

Red Bull/5 Hour Energy: If you’re already nervous before your date, this will merely make you out-of-your-mind jittery.

Sangria: You will become so distracted by trying to get the fruit at the bottom of your cup with your straw that you may miss your date entirely.

Drinking & Dating 101:

What Your Drink Says About You On A Date
How Much Do You Drink On A Date?
6 Really Unattractive Things Girls Do When They’re Drunk
8 Really Unattractive Things Guys Do When They’re Drunk