Food & Drink

9 Drinking Mistakes We All Made When We Were 21

You don’t automatically know how to drive like an F1 racer when you turn 16, and you don’t immediately dive head first into a (really strong) Daiquiri like Ernest Hemingway on the midnight of your 21st birthday. Nor should you. We all had an all-important year (or five) of making mistakes at 21 before we figured out how to drink like a real grown-up. Here, the top nine most common drinking goof-ups everyone makes during their first year of drinking.

Only Drinking One Thing

You tried one Whiskey Sour, liked it, and then never thought to order anything else—no matter where you were. Dive bar? Whiskey Sour. Fancy cocktail bar? Whiskey sour. House party? Whiskey Sour. Swim-up bar on vacation? Whiskey Sour (a particularly unsatisfying one). You might not have done much to expand your palate that year, but you sure did become quite a sour mix aficionado.

Not Chilling Mixers

Think back to your early drinking years and remember just how warm those first few drinks were. Not only was ice scarce, but mixers like cranberry juice and tonic water were always kept out at room temperature. So even if you did have ice on hand, it melted immediately upon coming in contact with way-too-warm OJ. Yum, booze soup.

Treating a Bottle of Wine as One Drink

A bottle of beer? One drink. A bottle of wine? Same. That explains all those nights spent wondering how you got tipsy so quickly—because you only had three drinks: a G&T, a PBR and a full bottle of Pinot Noir.

Believing You’re an Expert Mixologist

You were still microwaving your meals, but when it came to making drinks, you were suddenly a stone cold pro who didn’t need to consult a recipe. Remember all of your “creations”? Remember that time you thought Red Bull and milk and vodka would taste good together? Or would you rather forget that … unique flavor?

Not Understanding How Jello Shots Work

The first time you had Jello Shots or, should we say, an entire tray of spiked Jell-O, you thought you had an ironclad tolerance. You ate so much of that jiggly booze and felt nothing—until an hour later. It didn’t take long to respect that delayed reaction.

Pregaming Way Too Hard

Getting “ready” to go out didn’t just mean showering and finding your clean T-shirt; it meant having one or two (or eight) getting ready drinks. That way, you wouldn’t have to pay for more than one drink at the bar—at least, that was the logic. But more often than not, your night ended before you even left the house. You just got way too “ready” to leave.

Using the Same Glass for Every Drink

It didn’t matter if you were sipping on some Chardonnay or an IPA or a White Russian (because you finally watched The Big Lebowski) or straight Fireball—it all went into the same glass. To call it a “glass” is actually giving that vessel too much credit. It was plastic. But you loved it because it was easy to clean and you could fit a full bottle of wine into it (adding further credence to your “one bottle, one drink” motto).

Ordering Drinks According to Their ABV

When you scrolled down a beer menu, all you ever looked at was that all-important percentage. If it wasn’t above 7 percent, you weren’t ordering it. Now, you understand the benefits and pleasures of a good, below 5 percent session ale, but young you would’ve laughed and asked, “What’s the point?”

Taking Bottomless Brunch Way Too Seriously

If the sign said “All You Can Drink Mimosas,” you took it literally and you drank all you could. Did it ruin the rest of your Sunday? You betcha. But you got your money’s worth, darnit.