College drinking is not about sipping on fancy cocktails, discovering your favorite bitter amaro or nursing a snifter of single malt scotch. It’s about getting the cheapest booze available, mixing it with whatever fits in the microfridge and drinking it—fast. It’s also awesome—no matter how sugary and trashy the drinks may be. So, in honor of that great time in life, here are the 10 most popular, garbage drinks everyone has in college, ranked from the most egregious to the ones we still secretly love.
While you can use Jägermeister to make a legitimately good cocktail, the only people that should be mixing it with Red Bull are bros in snapbacks rushing Tau Kappa Epsilon. Although we admit it: It’s fun to plop that shot in and watch it fizz.
9. Malt Beverages
Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice, Twisted Tea—these drinks sing, “I’m not a beer, not yet a liquor.” Sweet, artificial, and not nearly boozy enough to get you tipsy without drinking an entire case, malt beverages are the go-to drink when you’re too scared for anything stronger. Plus, who can forget Bros Icing Bros? Because there’s no better way to prank a bro than giving him a deliciously fruity booze soda.
8. Rum/Whiskey and Coke
Adding cola to a spirit is the easiest way to drown out the flavor of the booze, and for many, this lazy highball is the gateway drink to the intimidating world of dark spirits. But a college Rum and Coke is not a grown up Rum and Coke. You’re not pouring carefully measured jiggerfuls of bourbon into an icy glass. You’re dumping the dregs of a handle into a half-drunk plastic bottle of Coke. Still, there’s no denying the drink’s delicious portability.
7. Spiked Gatorade
Of all the fruity mixers commonly used in college, Gatorade is king. With its signature touch of salinity—reminiscent of Derek Jeter’s sweat—and its neon color, Gatorade makes for one funky Screwdriver. It’s all worth it for those precious electrolytes, right?
6. Dirty Girl Scout
Like the “look ma no hands!” Blow Job shot, the Dirty Girl Scout shot is one of those great interactive cocktails that puts the drinker at the center of attention. It’s like a keg stand—but much tastier. Drop to your knees, open wide for that squirt of chocolate syrup, and take a shot of peppermint schnapps. It really does taste like a Thin Mint.
5. Long Island Iced Tea
Somehow a splash of cola makes equal parts triple sec, vodka, gin, rum and tequila not just palatable but actually good. The Long Island Iced Tea breaks all the rules of cocktailing. It should be disgusting, and yet it all mysteriously works together to defy chemistry and get the job done in one.
4. Jungle Juice
Jungle Juice, that trash bin full of blood-red liquor sitting on the sticky frat floor, is an unavoidable college rite. It’s a choose-your-own adventure “cocktail” made with any combination of juices and booze—for better or worse. For every party that makes a truly gag-inducing batch, there is a juice that perfectly achieved fruity-boozy equilibrium and keeps the party going all night.
3. Flavored Vodka and Juice
Whether it’s Burnet’s, Pinnacle or Smirnoff, nothing screams “college girls” louder than flavored vodka. When mixed with juice, fruity flavors like raspberry, lemon and mango taste like a tropical spring break getaway, while dessert-inspired flavors like strawberry shortcake and vanilla taste like liquid candy. But nothing is more revolutionary than the Creamsicle—whipped cream-flavored vodka and orange juice—the official pregame drink of co-eds everywhere.
Take a moment to thank Franzia for everything it has given us, from Wine Not Wednesdays to riotous Slap the Bag games to cheap nights in watching Netflix with the roommates. Boxed Franzia is the everyman’s wine, one that doesn’t judge you if you don’t actually know how to open a bottle of wine. It’s your on-tap BFF.
Behold, the best invention ever for anyone who hates shots but keeps getting roped into them, round after round. Fireball goes down easy, it doesn’t get you too drunk—even after several shots—and it tastes delicious. While these days we prefer Supercall’s Fireball (which has a stronger whiskey kick and natural flavor), we’d be lying if we said we didn’t drink the original now and again to bring us back to those warm, cinnamon-fueled college nights.