By: Gino Salvatore of Franklin Wine and Spirits
When you hear the word gentleman, what comes to mind? Did you answer the question with: A class act, a classy guy, a specific person like James Bond, or someone special with a lot of class? Have you ever wondered what defines a gentleman? Let's take a look at what makes up a gentleman.
When we look at the word, gentleman, it is divided into two words. First, the word “gentle” meaning someone who has a soft touch or is not abrasive while the second part of the word, “man” refers to the male group of the human race.
When it comes right down to it, there is no true definition of a gentleman. Instead, there are a set of traits and characteristics that embody a person that leads them to become a true gentleman. So, borrowing from the Gentleman’s Journal, here are some of the traits and characteristics that are related to becoming a gentleman. How many do you have and emulate?
- A gentleman never tells. No lying, storytelling, speaking ill of someone else, or gossiping.
- A gentleman knows the meaning of hard work. Free rides and shortcuts are not part of the gentleman’s philosophy and attitude. He works hard for what he has and where he is.
- A gentleman carries someone’s baggage. It matters not where this occurs-store, airport, or at home. A gentleman sees someone struggling with their baggage, they step in and help.
- A gentleman provides an RSVP to all invitations. He does not leave people hanging or guessing whether or not he will be making an appearance.
- A gentleman is confident and not arrogant. He knows the difference between the two.
- A gentleman is open-minded. The intelligent person knows the benefits of listening; he is always willing to learn and able to speak intelligently on a variety of topics.
- In a gentleman’s world, chivalry is not dead! Good manners, empathy and the willingness to forgive are part of a true gentleman's character.
- A gentleman does not make someone else cry. Unless you are surprising someone with a special gift, producing tears in someone else is a no-no.
- A gentleman does not always make the first move. Whether it is the first move, the last one or in the middle, a gentleman allows for others to go first.
- A gentleman knows how to dance. Need I say more.
- A gentleman never lies. Liars are bad eggs, end of story.
- A gentleman means what he says and says what he means. No garbling of words, double talk or reading between the lines.
- A gentleman always offers his seat to a lady and opens the door. Kindness always overrules discourtesy.
- A gentleman never judges. Never judge a book by its cover. Hold your opinion until you are a few chapters into the story.
- A gentleman is always well-presented. No matter who the company is, he dresses well.
- A gentleman has a firm handshake and looks you in the eye. A handshake is a gentleman’s signature and tells a lot about a person.
- A gentleman always offers his coat to a lady. If she is cold, it is a no-brainer. It is an act of selflessness and being attentive.
- A gentleman knows how to cook. You do not have to be a master chef to be a good cook. These are life-long skills.
- A gentleman always walks a lady home. It is not just old fashion, just good manners!
- A gentleman does not always pay the bill. If your friend, date or colleague says they will get this one, let them.
So, what spirits pair well with being a gentleman? When I see the traits discussed here, I think of class, someone who has refined their personal interaction skills with others. That is just how I see a gentleman. So, when it comes to cocktails, I think of such libations as scotch and bourbon over a little ice. I think of the sophistication of champagnes such as Dom Perignon, Taittinger and Cristal. I think of wines from the great Bordeaux region or a fine Barolo from Italy. All these drinks have class, but this is not by any means the end-all, be-all list of drinks for a gentleman. So, sit back, ponder these characteristics, and refresh yourself with a fine beverage.
Here are a few “classy” drinks taken from that international spy and gentleman role model, known as James Bond.
The Bond Martini
3 measures Gin
½ measure of Vermouth
An olive or slice of lemon peel
1 measure of Gin
1 measure of Campari
1 measure of Cinzano
1 slice of lemon
The Vesper Martini
3 measures Gordon gin
1 measure Vodka
½ measure of Kina Lillet