Having an active social circle can have a ton of benefits for your professional and personal life. As an adult, that social life can often involve alcohol. If you're new to the world of drinking, or all you know from your college days is beer and Jagerbombs, here's how to enter the drinking world like an adult.
Drinking is always a personal choice. For some, drinking alcohol can lead to problems, for others it's a light social lubricant. We want to be clear that you should never drink if you feel like you can't handle the effects of alcohol, if you're being pressured to against your will, or if it will put you in a compromising situation. While alcohol isn't bad, you still need to drink responsibly. Start from that point and decide how you want to drink from there.
That being said, alcohol is a lot like food: people like to gather wherever it's being served, and people like to serve it whenever they get together. Drinking and socialising often go together. If you're going to an industry event, getting together with your coworkers after hours, or just hanging out at the bar trying to meet new people, you may find yourself in a situation where folks are drinking. With that in mind, here's how to drink like an adult.
Learn The Lingo And Customs Of Your Drinking Circle
Social drinking isn't like going to the movies or a concert. When you go to a movie with your friends, the movie itself is the point. When you go out drinking, the point is to talk to other people and have fun. Drinking is just something you do to make things a little smoother. That being the case, it's helpful to know a few tricks so you can get your drinks and get back to what you're doing.
- Make sure you know your drink ahead of time. Most of the time, no one's going to want to sit around while you figure out the difference between a Tom Collins and a Cosmopolitan. It's okay to experiment, but you should have at least one or two basic drinks that you can get nearly everywhere. It helps if you have a drink for various types of drinking. Having a common cocktail, beer, and type of wine you like should be good enough for most situations.
- Learn how to talk to bartenders. Do not learn how to talk to bartenders from TV shows. On even semi-busy nights, they're probably overworked and working for tips. Don't wave money at a bartender. Don't demand some complicated drink that needs to be prepared just right. Just stand squarely at the bar and look towards your bartender. They will get to you. Once you have their attention, make your request, then clear out when you're done.
- Set your limit and pay in cash where you can. The more you drink, the less likely you are to show restraint. That's how drinking works. If you want to set a hard limit for your spending before the night starts, pay in cash. For bartenders, this can be easier than remembering who's on what tab and tracking receipts at the end of the night. For you, it's easy to know when you're done drinking. When you're out of cash, you're done.
- Know when to stop. This can be hard, which is why knowing your limit is important. There are a lot of social cues that can indicate it's time to stop drinking. If you're having trouble walking straight, if the bar has stopped serving drinks, or if everyone you're talking to has gotten drunk, dial it back. Drinking and getting drunk are two separate activities. If you meant to do the one and crossed over into the other, slow it down.
There are a variety of reasons to drink with a group. Sometimes you want to make a work connection. Sometimes you want to make new friends. Sometimes you want a date. However, no matter the purpose or the context, there are certain things that are universal and they all tend to boil down to one principle: Don't be an arsehole. It's really easy for your inner arsehole to come out when you're drinking. If you can't drink without groping a stranger, yelling at a bartender, picking a fight, or generally being obnoxious, then either learn from the people around you or skip the bar altogether.http://lifehacker.com/the-most-effec...
Learn The Right Types Of Drinks For Each Situation
Much like what you wear, what you drink can be totally fine in one setting, but completely unacceptable in another. (You wouldn't take a jug of whiskey to a black tie cocktail party.) While some settings are more flexible than others, knowing what types of drinks are acceptable at various events can help you be more prepared.
Beer is a casual drink that's typically appropriate at most informal settings. If you're meeting at a bar, inexpensive restaurant, or someone's home, beer is often an easy go-to. Most beers have between a 4-6% alcohol content (though some can go higher). Unless you have an exceptionally low tolerance, you can usually have one or two without feeling a noticeable impaired effect.
This makes beer a perfect drink for the "getting to know people" phase. If you want to have a sustained conversation with someone or discuss anything important, sticking to beer is usually safer. You don't want to be negotiating a contract and discover you've had one cocktail too many right before you're asked to sign away a board seat.
As an alcoholic beverage, wine is in its own category. Socially, though, let's be honest: wine is fancy beer. If you want a light drink that's in a stemmed glass rather than bottle with a Miller Lite sticker on it, wine is your go-to drink. Wine's alcohol content is typically higher than beer (in the range of 9-16%), but you'll probably drink less of it at a time (unless you're Cersei Lannister).
A cocktail is any alcoholic drink mixed from usually three or more ingredients. In other words, nearly every drink that doesn't come in a pre-packaged bottle. Any place that has bar service can probably offer you up a mixed drink, but the range can vary wildly. An actual bar may be furnished to serve a wide variety of cocktails. A pop-up bar stand, like the kind you may see at a convention or play house, may only be capable of serving a few, limited drinks. Sometimes a bar may have a list of the only cocktails they offer.
In general, it's handy to have one or two very simple cocktails in your repertoire that are easy for your bartender to make. Don't be the jerk who walks up to a small cocktail stand and orders a complex drink, made just the right way (pro tip: James Bond is a jerk). Also keep in mind that even standard cocktails can vary wildly in alcohol content from bar to bar. Don't start ordering follow up drinks until you give yourself a few minutes to see how you handle the first one, even if you think you know your tolerance.
Generally speaking, "doing shots" is code for "we need to get drunker faster." While there probably won't be too many professional gatherings where folks are doing shots, it can happen at parties. This involves drinking shot glasses full of straight liquor (or another high-alcohol content drink). If you've got a low tolerance, want to stay under control, or just avoid a hangover, minimising shots (or avoiding them altogether) is probably best.
Of course, there's no hard fast rules for all social settings. You may find yourself at a wedding reception stocked with kegs, or a fancy theatre serving cocktails and beer. Be mindful of your settings and see what's being served. Don't sneak your own alcohol into an event because you want something stronger than they have. Chances are they have more mild drinks for a reason. Watch what the people around you do and try not to drink ahead.http://lifehacker.com/5521089/hangov...
Choose Your Regular Drink
There's never been a better time to be a drinking connoisseur. Microbrewing has exploded in recent years, which has led to a wider variety of beer than ever before. Mixing cocktails has always been an art, but with the internet you can find more drinks than you even knew existed. Theming cocktails has even become popular. With so many choices, it can be impossible to not feel overwhelmed when the bartender asks what you want, especially if you aren't a regular drinker. Here are some ways to help deal with the overflow of choices.
Narrow Your Choices
If you have no idea what you like, don't open up the wine menu and expect to have a clue. Ask a friend for their suggestions. Find a list of basic wines, beers, or cocktails for beginners. The more you try, the more you'll figure out what you like and you can go from there. If you find something you like, try searching for more drinks like it. Many bars offer a small list of cocktails for you to browse, though they're capable of making many more. If you're not sure what's available, stick to the selection you're given.
Start With Beginner-Friendly Choices
Sometimes you might catch a little flak for drinking something that's tailored for the light drinker, but they exist for a reason. Alcohol is harsh and many drinks are an acquired taste. While there's no way to know what you'll like before you try, there are a few things that are easier on the palate than others:
- Ciders: Ciders exist in a weird middle ground between beer and wine. They're fermented with yeast like a beer, but they're made from fruit like a wine. Ciders are also extremely palatable, even if you don't like beer or wine. Trying a few ciders can help you figure out what types of flavours you like, and give you a fallback if there aren't any other drinks you like available.
- Wheat beers: I'll be honest: I'm not a beer person. However, wheat beers are often less harsh and don't have as strong of a "beer taste." If you're not used to the taste of beer but want to try, ask what wheat beers are available.
- White wines: Generally speaking, red wines have a more intense taste than white wines. While that's not an absolute rule, if you're not sure what you're getting, stick to something that's more lightly coloured.
- Anything fruity: This can apply to wines, beers, or cocktails. Anything that's designed to have a fruity taste is going to be easier on the tongue than a scotch on the rocks.
Your palate is entirely your own, so if you find something you like, don't feel like you have to abide by certain rules. Personally, I can't stand the taste of most beer, but I enjoy fruity ciders, and inexplicably find Canadian whiskey delightfully smooth (for a whiskey). Importantly, don't be afraid to own your tastes. This isn't college anymore. You don't get points with your boss because someone made fun of your "girly drink" and talked you into doing shots of bourbon.
Try a Tasting Event
Wine and beer tastings are becoming all the more common as the variety of available drinks continues to explode. You can visit a local winery or brewery to try a few samples, or even visit a full blown tasting event. Sometimes third-parties will have an event where you can try drinks from a variety of distributors. There, you'll be able to taste a wider selection of drinks than you'd get if you had to buy each one at a bar. They're also pretty fun events in general, so take some friends!
Do a Bit of Research Online
There are so many types of drinks in the world that it would be nearly impossible to explain them all in one sitting. In fact, the bartenders that serve you often take lengthy classes to learn, or have years of experience with the drinks they serve. If you want to look a bit more like you know what you're talking about, hit up Google in your spare time and learn a bit about the basic types of wine, beer, and liquor. You don't have to know the exact fermentation process of each, but knowing what they are, how they generally taste, and where you'll find them can give your choices a bit of context.
There are as many varieties of drinks as there are styles of clothes, ways to have fun, and colours in the visible spectrum. No matter where you start, exploration is key. You'll find the drinks (and the people!) you like by trying new things and indulging your curiosity.