Advice for first time drinkers

Whether you just turned 21 or are new to drinking, the world of alcohol can be daunting. While there’s no better teacher than experience, doing your research definitely won’t hurt. This article will walk you through the many stages of a night out and how to navigate them when going to a pub or cocktail bar.

The Pregame

A pregame sets the tone for the night. 

To curate a perfect pregame one needs to keep in mind three elements: 

the music, the games, and the drinks.

Pregame Drinks: 

Now’s the time to start off your buzz but not end the night. 

Finding the sweet spot between these two can be tricky for new drinkers.  It’s easy to get carried away with drinking games so it is important you pick the right drink. The classic picks are any hard seltzer or beer. These will provide a solid buzz without ending your night too early and will pair nicely with anything you may drink later in the night. However, those looking to avoid a financial hangover may need to start with something stronger. Look for drinks with an alcohol content higher than 5% or go for a mix drink with your choice of liquor. 

At The Bar

What To Order

It’s easy to get flustered when ordering at the bar, especially as a new drinker who doesn’t know what they like. To avoid this, new drinkers should have three drinks in mind when ordering: a mix drink, a cocktail and a canned drink.  Having a go to drink that fits with any venue should set you up for success no matter the environment.  

Start by determining what type of liquor you like, light or dark. From there you can experiment with different cocktails to see what you like.

When in doubt just remember, dark goes with dark and light with light. So if you’re ever stumped for a mix drink, just think vodka sprite or whisky coke. 

Light Liquor ( Vodka, Tequila, Gin) 


  • If you like vodka, a staple cocktail is a Moscow Mule. This simple cocktail is available at most bars and is easy to modify. 
  • For a mix drink, try a Vodka Cranberry. This bar staple is always a safe choice for new drinkers.


  • Those who prefer Tequila could try a Margarita or Tequila Sunrise. 
  • For a mix drink try ordering a Tequila Pineapple. 

Dark liquor ( Whisky, Scotch, Bourbon) 

  • For dark liquor like whisky, you could try a Whisky Sour or ask for a Jack and Coke. 

For those that dont like liquor or are trying to save money: know your favorite beer or hard seltzer.

How to Order 

Now that you’ve ordered your mix drink or cocktail, the bartender may ask you if you have a preference on your liqueur. If you’re on a budget make sure to specify well or another cheap liquor. Bartenders are trained to upsell, so if you don’t specify they may use a more expensive liquor, racking up your bar tab. 

If you’re not on a budget you could try any of these classic liqueurs.

Vodkas: Smirnoff, Svedka, Grey Goose, Ciroc.

Tequila: Patrón, Jose Cuervo, Espolón, Casamigos. 

Whisky / Bourbon: Jonnie Walker, Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey.

The Hangover: 

Remember every action has a reaction. Unless you were blessed by a higher power, no matter how much you prepared the night before, some hangovers are unavoidable.  There’s no miracle cure other than rest and hydration.  Despite this, many people love to prolong the inevitable with the hair of the dog. If you’re hungover and looking for a brunch drink, you could try a Bloody Mary, a Screwdriver, or a Mimosa. 

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