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Branch Out

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Recently I was having a casual drink at one of my favorite campus adjacent bars. As I was enjoying my cool beverage, lamenting the waning days of summer, I watched a rowdy group of lads approach the bar and begin to order.

The first three ordered draught Coors Light almost in unison. The fourth ordered a well whiskey and Coke. The last ordered a Manhattan. Big mistake. Before the words even finished leaving his mouth, the rest of the group started to berate him mercilessly. “Does that come with a tampon or is it extra? Are you sure that drink is going to match your purse? Have you had one before, or did you see it on The Kardashians and have just been dying to try it?”

For Christ’s sake you would have thought he ordered an appletini. They literally gave him such a hard time that he changed his order and had a Coors Light like the rest of his friends. There are a lot of different life lessons I could dole out here, but I want to focus on drink selection and why most of you are pigeonholing yourselves for one reason or another.

Every drink (with a few exceptions) has a time and place to be consumed by any self respecting man. There is a short list of drinks you should never be caught voluntarily drinking. Most of these drinks are designed for girls who “don’t like to taste the alcohol.” They include, but are not limited to: Sex on the Beach, Blow Job, Lemon Drop, Red Headed Slut, and literally anything with a flowery or fruity garnish around the rim. If you aren’t lounging on a beach or your name isn’t Jimmy Buffett, steer clear.

Natty Light, Milwaukee’s Beast, Old Style, Busch and all of the other beers that can be found in large cubes at low prices are perfect for occasions such as blowouts, pong tournaments, camping trips, weekend marathons, and river floats. Any liquor that comes in a plastic bottle is probably at the perfect price point for irresponsible consumption. A lot of the time, we are looking for quantity over quality when it comes to drink selection. There are reasons that a lot of us fall into the pattern of having two or three go-to drinks, but it’s time to branch out and try new things.

Think about it this way: If college really is a time to explore yourself and the adult world around you, why wouldn’t that naturally extend into booze? When you see your buddy enter into a committed relationship the first semester of freshman year, you automatically think to yourself, “what in the actual fuck is he doing?” If you saw a friend “call it a night” after one plate at the dirty Chinese buffet, you would probably (hopefully) cut that person out of your life. When you are reluctantly dragged to a run-down strip club at 1 a.m., you don’t throw all $20 in singles at the first coked out dancer that slinks out onto the stage. Why then would you limit yourself to consuming only light beer and bottom shelf Russian vodka?

The first time I had a true craft beer that matched the flavor profiles I was already into was like the first time I messed around with a girl who truly knew her way around a beej. The heavens opened up and shone a light on to a whole new world of possibilities. The days spent constrained to water beer and OTPHJ were over and I was free to explore a new frontier. Now, does that mean I haven’t had a Natty Light or a dry handjibber since? Of course not. I would never turn down either, but there is a serious gap in quality and overall experience.

You’re an adult now. Well, in the eyes of the state you’re an adult now. It’s time you drank a whiskey that doesn’t have a plastic screw top (start here if you need help). Open your eyes to the fact that decent vodka can be mixed with just about any liquid. The combinations, brands, and styles are damn close to endless. Even if you get to the end of the list and still decide to stick with the classics, you will be able to say you have tried it all. You will be classier, well rounded, and a better person for it. Now go forth, branch out, and get drunk.

Image via Shutterstock

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Mike Hale

"Just remember, we are all boys grown tall." -Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

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