Deciding which TV shows to watch these days is hard.
Deciding which alcoholic beverage to imbibe while you do so is... also hard.
But it shouldn't be. Hence, The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Your Drinks to Your Favorite TV Shows. Conceived with our friends from Sony, it's a list of five questions you might want to ask yourself before kicking your shoes off and settling in to watch This Is Us or Mindhunter or The Handmaid's Tale or The Deuce or Outlander or... well, we could really go all day here, so we'll just quit now and get to it.
What type of show are you watching?
Because you might want to drink something different during a workplace comedy than during a weighty family drama. And you're probably going to want to drink something different during a gritty crime procedural than you would during your favorite guilty pleasure reality TV show. Here's an imperfect rule of thumb: the heavier the show, the stronger the drink. So, for example, if you're watching Real Housewives of Wherever, you'll probably want to lean into it with something light—a bottle of rosé or chardonnay, perhaps. But if you're watching, say, The Night Of for the first time, you'll probably want something stronger. Maybe a scotch on the rocks will suffice. Or better yet: straight gin. Treat lighter shows the way you would celebratory occasions at the bar; treat darker ones the way you would yourself, if you were down and out, and really just needed to duck into whichever watering hole was closest to drown your sorrows for awhile.
When is your show set?
This is all about setting the mood, and entrenching yourself in the show's atmosphere. There's nothing better than watching re-runs of Mad Men with a '60s liquid-lunch-style vodka martini. There's nothing better than watching Boardwalk Empire with moonshine (if you have moonshine). And there's nothing better than watching The Deuce with a '70s-appropriate Harvey Wallbanger. Assuming you like Harvey Wallbangers, of course.
Will you be bingeing?
Binge-watching is a relatively benign, if not time-consuming, activity. Binge-drinking on the other hand? Well, you don't need us to tell you it's not the best idea. So if you're planning on bingeing the entire season of Stranger Things 2 or whatever, stick with light beer. And water. Hydration is key, here.
Is this the type of show you're watching with the same group of people every week?
If it is, maybe it's time to whip out the large-format cocktails. Got a crew coming over for the Game of Thrones premiere (whenever the hell the next one is)? Maybe you make a big batch of grog and serve it in mugs, because that somehow seems appropriate. Have some ladies coming over for the finale of The Bachelor? Maybe you concoct some rose-red punch or a giant bowl of Aperol spritz and edible flower petals. Whatever you do, do something: this is your chance to get creative.
Are you watching this show with a date?
A bottle of red wine will always do, no matter the show. This isn't the time to mess around. Stick with a classic.