20 Ways Drinking Changes When You Turn 30

Turning 30 is great—don’t listen to your scared, immature 28-year-old friends. This coming of age means you are finally a full-fledged adult with informed opinions and (hopefully) a good handle on your life. But be prepared: You will notice some distinct differences between 25-year-old you and 30-year-old you. Back pain will become a common topic of conversation; you’ll start appreciating naps in a way you never thought possible, and drinking is nowhere near the same. Here, how your drinking habits change when you hit your dirty thirties.

Your night ends when it used to start.

When you were 24, you didn’t even get to the bar until 11 p.m. Now, you’re in bed and asleep before the monologue on SNL.

The chanting of “Shots, shots, shots!” sounds more threatening than exciting.

It used to be the boozy equivalent of a dinner bell, but now when people call for “Shoooots!” alarm bells go off in your head.

The “morning after” hangover now lasts days.

There was a time when all you needed to bounce back after a long night was some brunch and a Bloody. After 30, though, that just won’t cut it. If you can even make it out of bed, you won’t be feeling like yourself again until at least 7 p.m. And don’t be surprised if your Saturday night out is still haunting you on your Monday morning commute to work.

You don’t accept just anything handed to you in a red Solo cup.

What is this? Jungle Juice? Jack and Coke? Straight cotton candy vodka on the rocks? In your 20s, you didn’t even question what was handed to you (though in hindsight you probably should have). Now, you sniff, you scrutinize, and are quick to turn it down if it’s not something you want. It’s your right. After all, you sipped enough mystery liquids in your 20s to last a lifetime.

Thursday is no longer part of the weekend.

Friday is a workday—and you have to get up at 6:30 a.m. to go to the gym and combat some of the other fun things that happen when you turn 30.

Sunday brunch comes with one Bloody Mary—not a never-ending pitcherful.

If you do happen to make it to brunch on Sunday, you treat it like a meal—not a marathon pre-gaming session. That means one drink—maybe two if you already did all of your grocery shopping and other errands for the week.

You’re willing to spend double digits on a bottle of wine.

You fancy now—with a real job. So you can spring for that $13 bottle of Chardonnay. Treat yo’ self.

You actually have leftovers of said wine.

When you were in your 20s, leftover wine was the stuff of myths. But that half-empty bottle of Sauv Blanc sitting in your fridge marks a new age.

You care about the quality of your ice.

You used to feel pampered if your drink was cold at all. Now, you demand giant hunks of crystal clear ice—or at least something better than the stuff from the in-fridge ice machine.

You don’t cringe when you drink whiskey.

The sound you make after drinking whiskey at 22: “Gackerbleck.”
The sound you make after drinking whiskey at 30: “Mmmmm, sweet, sweet, nectar of the gods.”

You sip spirits neat instead of tossing them back.

What used to take you five seconds to drink now takes you 35 minutes.

You only drink out of actual glasses.

When you were 22, the world was your beer glass. Now, shoes are for your feet and frisbees are for throwing.

You don’t choose your beer based on ABV.

In your 20s, the only thing that mattered on a beer list was that all important percentage. Now, you’re more concerned with trying that new session ale or geeking out over sours.

You don’t wait in line to get into a bar.

The only thing a line in front of a bar means is that there’s a large crowd inside. And you don’t do crowds anymore.

You actually remember your weekend.

Gone are the days of having to hear about what you did on Saturday night from another person.

Getting carded is a compliment.

It used to be a nuisance. Now it might as well be a pickup line.

The only drinking game you play is “Take a Sip Whenever You Damn Well Please.”

Here’s how it works: You decide what and when you drink without anyone demanding you do so, and then you have a conversation with your friends like the grownup you are. (Exceptions include college reunions and particularly boring parties during which you make up your own games, like throw the olive in Tom’s beer.)

Having a drink alone is relaxing instead of shameful.

You wouldn’t be caught dead alone at a bar in your 20s. But now, it’s the ultimate luxury. Just you, a drink, and then another drink.

If you day drink, you’re in bed by 7 p.m.

As a 30-year-old, you have about five hours of drinking in you. You can allot those hours however you please, but once they’re up, they’re up. So if you start drinking at 1 p.m., you best believe you’re on the couch watching Friends reruns with a family-sized bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos by 7.

Bottles of booze are rarely adhered to your body.

The time for Edward 40 Hands is over. Duct tape is reserved only for fixing leaky pipes—because who can afford a plumber?