From your classic whiskey and gin cocktails to vodka and tequila with some flair, it’s safe to say there’s a cocktail for everyone. And trust us when we say that cocktails make you look hot — basically like Don Draper minus the misogyny and imminent lung cancer.
But if you’re a seasoned cocktail drinker, you may not remember what it was like to make that decision at your favorite college bar. Or, inversely, if you’re at your favorite college bar, you may have zero clue on what you should be ordering.
Well, lucky for you we’ve done extensive research and put together an easy-to-swallow honest drinking guide on what you should and shouldn’t drink at certain ages.
Psych! Underage drinking isn’t cool. Go to Europe.
You’re pumped about being able to legally drink at a bar and you cannot wait to get the bartender’s attention. Have you seen a puppy trying to get the attention of a grown dog? It’s basically that.
What you’re probably drinking: A cheap whiskey sour.
Listen, we get it. You’re here to party, so top that well whiskey off with a few ounces of cardiac arrest-inducing “sour mix” and make some bad decisions… like your drink order.
What you should be drinking: Jameson and ginger beer.
We have nothing against whiskey sours. In fact, we love them if they’re made right and with freshly squeezed juices. But, you’re at a college bar so expect a cheap pre-made mix with about 1,300 grams of sugar. Just stick with the basics. If the bar doesn’t have ginger beer, run. Or just sub in ginger ale.
Option B: Moscow mule. Vodka, lime juice, ginger beer. It’s simple and sexy. Trust us.
Welcome to the working class. Odds are you are in your own place (or your parent’s house — no shame there, just more money for drinks) and you’re on a bit of a budget. But your taste buds have acquired an acute desire for higher quality drinks. Don’t ignore them.
What you’re probably drinking: Dirty vodka martinis
Just because James Bond drinks martinis before he thwarts a Russian terrorist attack and gets his 16th case of chlamydia doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, poorly made martinis can be expensive and incredibly underwhelming (when they’re done well, they can be fantastic, but go for the gin like a baller).
What you should be drinking: Old Fashioned
Now’s a good time to get into the world of craft cocktails and the Old Fashioned is the gateway drink. It’s a simple drink that can take on a ton of different profiles depending on the bourbon, sugar and bitters the bartender is using. You can also use a quality bourbon at an affordable cost — Bulleit or Buffalo Trace come to mind here. Pro tip: read at least one Ernest Hemingway work so you can drink whiskey properly.
Welcome to the end of the road. Seriously, once you enter your thirties everything is over. Might as well get married, move to the suburbs and raise a family while secretly drinking from a hidden Wild Turkey bottle in your two-car garage. At least you can afford a decent drink.
What you’re probably drinking: Dewars scotch on the rocks
You learned somewhere that drinking scotch is sexy. It is, but cheap scotch drowned in water is not. It’s basically the non-ironic fanny pack of the drinking world. If you’re wondering if your bartender is judging you, they are. At least tip well if you insist on doing this.
What you should be drinking: Manhattan
A Manhattan order tells everyone that you’re a person of style — man or woman — but appreciate the classics. There’s a reason why this cocktail has been around for years and you should keep the tradition going. Our guess is the bartender will give you a high five. Pro tip: if you’re not sure what rye whiskey to use, tell the bartender you usually go for WhistlePig but would like his or her suggestion.
Non-whiskey option: Negroni. Negroni. Negroni. While not the easiest drink, after a couple of tries nothing will ever taste as good. A dry gin is good here and make sure to use a high-quality vermouth.
There you have it: a scientific, honest drinking guide to cocktails in your twenties. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the older generation of drinkers. Stay tuned for our next installment where we talk about what you should and shouldn’t drink in your thirties.