Millennials take a lot of guff from old timers about how we’re ruining society with our social media-addled brains, short attention spans, and inability to enjoy the simpler pleasures of a dram. These crotchety drinkers want nothing more than to sit quietly in a dark bar with an Old Fashioned, and we’re happy to let ‘em sit there until they wear through their bar stools. Because millennials are the future of drinking.
Let’s clear something up real quick: The millennial generation is defined broadly as anyone born in the early 1980s through the early 2000s, aligning the demographic pretty closely with the 18 to 35 bloc, aka the people who shape popular culture as we know it, including what everyone's drinking. Sure, there have been missteps (blue wine, for example) but overall millennials have done more good than bad for the tippling world. Here, the nine best things millennials have done for drinking. Oh, and you’re welcome.
Frosé (and Frosecco and Frozen Beer)
Say what you want about trendy rosé products multiplying like rabbits, but Frosé is a national treasure. The OG rosé-tail is the perfect summer beverage—it’s cold enough to save you from the heat and low enough in ABV to drink all day long. Even Frosé haters can’t grimace while slurping up the frozen pink wine. Frosecco and frozen beer may never achieve the same acclaim, but we’d gladly order up a round of those low-ABV frozen drinks too.
Granted, rooftop bars existed before millennials came around, but we’re the ones who made them the ultimate scene. Unless you hate bumpin’ music, great views, killer drinks and the best darn people-watching this side of the 30th floor, the rooftop bar is #partygoals.
Pre-mixed cocktails inherited a pretty nasty rep from the bottom shelf Margarita mixes, but they’ve slowly been climbing their way out of that hole and into our hearts. Some offer classic cocktails in portable packaging, from the predictable G&T to the surprisingly quality Caipirinha to the canned Bloody Mary that makes so much sense we can’t believe we didn’t have it before. Others upgrade childhood soda favorites like root beer with booze. No matter what variety you go for, there’s nothing like cracking open a can and kicking back with a fizzy pre-made cocktail.
Rainbow drinks—by which we mean literal rainbows, mythical unicorn drinks, bright neon cocktails, exceedingly colorful Pokemon GO tie-ins and their ilk—may not gain much in taste from their colorful ingredients, but they permanently plaster a smile to our faces anyway. Don’t think bartenders are laughing their way to rainbow gold, by the way; these layered drinks are a lot of work.
The cinnamon whisky of choice may be a bit passé by now (millennials are already a bit nostalgic for the sweet shots of old), but don’t tell the dragon that. Like rosé, Fireball is great in any form—Jello Shots, a box, cocktails or even slathered on your face—but we still prefer it the old fashioned way, slammed as a shot and chased with unironic cheering.
Virtual Reality Drinking
Sip your boring old 3-D cocktail all you like; we’ll be over here enjoying our 4-D drinking experience. Drinkers can now get to know their beverage better than ever through the magic of virtual reality, taking a tour of a distillery or riding along with their favorite whiskey on a journey from barrel to glass. VR may seem like a gimmick, but it expands the drinking experience beyond taste to incorporate new smells, sights, sounds and textures.
Gen X may have been satisfied with chugging brews from a beer bong, but millennials have gone above and beyond with their own chugging device, the Chambong. If you hear the term “Chambong” and think, “What a waste of good bubbly,” you’re part of the problem. The Chambong is a totally egalitarian invention, uniting the chi-chi Champagne sippers with the fratty chuggers in one beautiful high-low mishmash.
Extreme Boozy Desserts
If we had to choose between dessert and booze, we’d choose booze. But we don’t have to choose, thanks to the inventive millennials who have fused liquor and sweets into all sorts of treats. We now have doughnuts injected with booze and iced with Champagne, cocktail popsicles in every freezer aisle, infused ice cream, and spiked milkshakes from top pastry chefs. There’s never been a better time to have a sweet tooth and a strong thirst.