30 Drinking Tips for 30-year-olds

Random Observation/Comment #577: NYC is filled with functional alcoholics. I am certainly one of them.

Why this list?

There are a lot of reasons why drinking changes for your 30s. It’s no longer about getting drunk and pulling off shenanigans – it’s more about being social and catching up with people in your limited time juggling multiple “grown up” responsibilities. The motivation changes as drinking becomes a part of the experience rather than the main focus.

A few other properties include:

  • hosting more get-togethers (yay brunches),
  • fewer calories to watch weight (boo), and
  • complimenting a great meal.

Ultimately, it’s the important fact that drinking for someone older is just borrowed time. Have fun tonight, but pay for it with hangovers lasting full days tomorrow.

How to Write this List

I think most people with 5+ years of drinking experience have learned from at least one bad night. You know, the one that starts with 3 beers and the voice in your head claims invincibility thereby leading to 6 shots and vomit on your clothes by morning? Rookie mistakes. Everyone knows the beer before liquor rule and eat some starch to soak up the alcohol, but I wanted to write this list for the more refined drinker. This is grown-up drinking.

  1. Hydrate during drinking – it cleanses your palette, paces the spending, and avoids hangovers
  2. Know your place – Never get a mixed drink at a beer bar, wine at a pub, or beer at a whisky Distillery
  3. Respect the bartender – tip well. The $1 is usually for a beer, but a suggested cocktail that takes effort and beauty deserves $2
  4. Learn the basics of wine – you don’t need to be an expert, but it’s important to know what type you like to drink
  5. Learn how to make 2 good cocktails for seasonal or food pairing – this is for a hosting party or just having guests
  6. Stock great beer in your fridge – not expensive, but good for unexpected guests
  7. Keep stock of some great wine and some table wine
  8. Keep stock of at least one whisky, bourbon, gin, and vodka – every good bar should have a decent stock
  9. Ice is an ingrident sometimes ignored – I like getting a large cube mold for better presentation
  10. Invest in a bar kit – there are some great deals after holidays
  11. Buy some fun coasters – I love buying coasters from travel. Great conversation starters.
  12. Keep stock of Alka seltzer and blowfish – getting older means more hangovers
  13. Frozen margaritas and sugary drinks should be left to tex-mex with friends or on a beach vacation – It’s not easy to make a good one and has too many ingredients/devices
  14. Invest in decent wine, whisky, and pint glasses – it’s always good to have the appropriate glassware for the occassion
  15. Adopt a favorite liquor store – Befriend them and they’ll likely give you some good deals and some 5-10% off
  16. Research wine clubs if you like wines – you get a great deal especially if you’re already drinking 3 bottles a week – the cost of a $20 bottle of wine is closer to $15 or so in bulk or with the experimental types
  17. Wine fridges – if you drink a lot of wine and have enough space, a wine fridge does help make the wine last longer
  18. Field trips focused on drinking – this is an awesome trip with friends and family. There are wine and beer festivals all around the place and this is a pretty good excuse to indulge like an adult.
  19. Be a regular at a local bar – There’s nothing better than going into a bar and knowing the bartenders.
  20. Quality over quantity – 4 times out of 5, I’d buy the more expensive Belgian beer to enjoy myself. Plus, the higher alcohol content usually evens out.
  21. Try not to drink in multiple gulps – drinking is marathon, not a sprint (and no one is keeping track)
  22. Save the money and the calories – I know some people who won’t drink soda, but would gladly drink 4 beers and mixed drinks (I’m one of these people). If you’re watching your weight and take 5 drinks to get tipsy, you might as well save it for once or twice a week instead of every night.
  23. Avoid weekday day drinking (but embrace brunch) – I remember when I first started drinking when studying abroad in Germany. People will literally order a beer during lunch and sip on it as part of their meal. I think since then, I’ve been desensitized from the stigma of day drinking. The problem with that is day drinking never ends with night hard working. It usually ends up with taking a nap and sleeping for 3 hours in the middle of the day.
  24. There are events where it’s always okay to drink – these can include (but are not limited to) fishing, sports games, concerts, brunch, beaches, and open bars.
  25. There’s no such thing as a girly drink – I love ordering cocktails that take some skill to make or some special ingredients I would never buy.
  26. Buy a round for your friends – If you have a regular group of drinking buddies or someone buys you a drink, order them a round every once in a while. It’s the right thing to do when you’re having a good time.
  27. If your bartender comps you a drink, tip generously – sometimes a bartender will get the 4th or 5th drink with an upside down shot glass. In NYC, that would come up close to $25, so I usually leave around $35
  28. Avoid well shots (tequila) – I don’t remember a good time after taking one of those and mostly because there are cheap substitutes. I think shots are okay if you specify the brand (like Jameson) because you know what you’ll be getting. Also know when this is appropriate (not at brunch with your in-laws).
  29. Don’t assume something that’s more expensive is good. Don’t assume something that’s less expensive is bad.
  30. Everything in moderation – Including moderation. Have a good time and be safe! Don’t throw up in an uber because you’ll get a bad rating.

~See Lemons Drink like a Pro

(Many Thanks to my beautiful wife, @vnessawithaneye, who came up with all the clever ones while anything distasteful was totally my idea)

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