Food & Drink

An Adult's Guide to Pregaming

Forget everything you ever knew about pregaming. Come to think of it, that’s probably a super easy ask. OK, chew on this: Forget everything you think about pregaming right now and consider the fact that there’s nothing wrong with this seemingly juvenile activity. Long live the pregame!

For those of you who already partake in the act of drinking before you go out drinking -- more power to ya. But for the people who think the only way to do pregame is to throw on “Party Rock Anthem” by the iconic Uncle-Nephew duo LMFAO and shoot down Everclear over your kitchen sink, I challenge you reconsider.

Here are some rock solid reasons you should be pregaming and -- most importantly -- an exhaustive guide on how to do it, classily.

Save money by drinking at home

So, your dull suburb just opened its first speakeasy bar. Congratulations! I bet it’s called “The Hallows” or “Capone’s.”
Despite the fact speakeasies exist in name only (because, remember, Prohibition was repealed like a hundred years ago), these fancy-ass bars can burn holes in your pants pocket with every cocktail you drink.

I mean, yeah, this is a free country where you’re legally allowed to pay $20 for all negronis your pink lips can handle, but let’s be real: Spending the night at a speakeasy means your bank account is about to be hit with the ol’ minus sign.

Solution?! Pregame. Buy yourself some gin, vermouth, and Campari, Google “how to make a negroni” and -- hear me out -- make yourself a drink at home before you go out. By straddling the line between drinking at home alone and loosening up with a nice cocktail, you give yourself a head start by crossing off at least one drink you won’t have to buy while saving money in the process! Of course, overdoing it early will only lead to more drinks later on… which brings us to our next point.

Exercise some damn restraint

It’s 2018 (unless you’re reading this in the future) and restraint is the name of the game, baby!

The biggest difference between pregaming in college and pregaming as an adult is sweet, sweet moderation.

How moderate is moderate? Aim for a cocktail that uses a touch less alcohol than, say, a solo cup full of vodka. For example, the Brown Derby. It’s easy to make and only uses an ounce and a half of bourbon. Here’s a recipe!

1.5 oz. bourbon
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
.5 oz honey syrup*  (1:1 honey to water)

Heat water in a saucepan. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Allow syrup to cool before use. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a grapefruit peel.

The beauty of practicing restraint with a light, tasty, and classy cocktail is actively giving yourself a little taste of the action without leaving your house already smelling like regret. You arrive to the bar loosened up and free from the fear that goes hand-in-hand with the notion of smalltalk.

Let's talk about shots

Any functioning adult knows that a shot glass is filled with way more than just alcohol: You’ve got equal parts anxiety, excitement, and angst. It’s a window into the past just as much as it is a vision into the future. An exceedingly nauseating future, but the future nonetheless. To master the adult pregame, consider the size of a shot glass: about 1.5 ounces, the amount of booze in a reasonably sized cocktail! Wow!

If you’re at home with your husband, wife, or large adult son, and they offer you a pregame shot, follow this simple dialogue model to circumvent the situation and give future-you and generous gift from present-you.

PERSON 1: “Let’s drink shot.”
PERSON 2: “Shot! No!”
PERSON 1: “Come on. Real champion men take shots.”
PERSON 2: “I am a mere mortal. Let’s make drink from shot.”
PERSON 1: “Shot drink????”
PERSON 2: “Pour shot into a cup with ice and vermouth and bitters.”
PERSON 1: “Shot better!”
That’s right: shot better.

Don’t make sloppiness a goal

An adult who practices a healthy and happy pregame ritual does not drink to get fully impaired. They drink to produce a happy, easy buzz -- the kind of buzz that doesn’t lead to hangovers or intimate conversations with strangers.

The pregame should be a time when you, your friends, or your partner, or your two large adult children bond at home before going out for the night. It’s a ritual we, as adults, can and should take back to show those goddamn younguns that you don’t need to be crushing plastic bottles of tequila before going to a place with more alcohol to make for a nice night.

If you follow these rules -- and perhaps even one of the above recipes! -- you will find that the pregame will lose its nasty negative connotation and rise to the ranks of the dinner party or mid-summer picnic.  

That’s the point of drinking as an adult, right? Getting over the urge to get piss drunk to impress your friends and having a night out that doesn’t end with you calling your bank to report a “stolen card” while you puke all over your shorts. Ladies and gentlemen: Let’s take back the pregame.

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Jeremy Glass is a Brooklyn-based writer dabbling in advertising, branded content, creative strategy and so much more. Follow or die: @candyandpizza or die trying.