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U.K. restaurant adopts ‘gender-neutral’ drinks to be more inclusive

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A restaurant chain in the U.K. has launched a line of gender-neutral cocktails to combat stereotypes and help customers feel more “comfortable” with drink choices.

Burger & Lobster recently announced it is serving five nameless drinks at two of its London, U.K. locations after learning that “feminine” or “masculine”- sounding names affect drink purchases.

The chain conducted a social experiment where they kept traditional cocktail names like Cosmopolitan and Pina Colada at one restaurant, but made the drinks colourless and gave them numbered names at another location.

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When drinks were named, Burger & Lobster staff found that 31 per cent of male customers were “put off choosing a particular cocktail” because they sounded too “feminine.”

Likewise, 11 per cent of female patrons were “too embarrassed” to order drinks like an Old Fashioned or Negroni because they were considered more “masculine.”

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What’s more, an external survey commissioned by the chain found that 21 per cent of U.K. residents said they don’t feel comfortable drinking drinks that are considered more “suitable for the opposite gender.”

“Our new range features five signature cocktails, each of which is colourless in appearance in a bid to remove stereotypes surrounding drinks and allowing our customers to focus on what really matters when choosing a delicious drink: taste,” Burger & Lobster said in a statement.

Unisex baby names are on the rise – here are 15 to consider
Unisex baby names are on the rise – here are 15 to consider

But not everyone thinks the move is necessary.

“Stupid me. Hadn’t realized cocktails were gender specific,” one person tweeted.

“In a shocking turn of events, I’m so glad I can now order cocktails that were meant for men!” another person wrote. “Is it also okay if I order a beer now?”

Some people, however, applauded the move with one person tweeting it makes drinks “more accessible.”

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Burger & Lobster is not the first to address gender stereotypes in drinking culture.

A Swedish cocktail was recently developed with the aim to challenge gender assumptions.

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“Even before we start drinking, we are taught that men drink certain things and women drink certain things. It has nothing to do with how we actually perceive flavor,” Josephine Sondlo, the drink’s co-creator and award-winning bartender, told Vice.

“Because we’re supposed to like something, we repeat and eventually acquire a taste for whatever it is that we are supposed to be drinking. Look at what most people think women like — sweet drinks. Look at what the research tells us: the male palate tends to lean towards sweet, more so than the female.”

Laura.Hensley@globalnews.ca