TRUE BREW Rule number one: If you're going to drink, drink the good stuff.
Welcome back to Boston, college students! As a certified old person, I'd like to be one of the many people who will remind you this school year, and for many years to come, that you have no fucking idea what you're doing. That said, there are only two things in the world I'm close to an expert on: music — God knows there's no helping you kids with that — and drinking. So today, let's focus on the latter. Lesson one: you're doing it wrong. Many of you turned 21 over the summer or will soon, and you'll want to learn to drink like an actual adult, not a hormonal rage troll who mistakes the city streets and the B Line for a beer- and come-crusted frat-house futon. Here's how.
DON'T BE SUCH A CHEAP BASTARD
You're in college; you're broke. We get it. But don't constantly remind everyone. "Never ask what the cheapest thing to drink is. Ever," says Mike Moxley, co-owner of Coda, the Salty Pig, and Canary Square. We're not saying you have to order bottle service — in fact, rich kids, don't ever do that tacky shit — but it's possible to drink cheaply without sounding like a Dickensian pauper. ("Please sir, may I have another Pabst?") Look at the can-beer selection for a place to start, suggests Tom Tellier of Restaurant dante and il Casale. "Most bars now offer a variety of canned beer, which is usually less expensive and environmentally friendly to boot."
Being on a budget doesn't mean you can stiff the help, either, adds Emma Hollander of Trina's Starlite Lounge, who makes another good point about generosity: "Buy your friend a $3 beer. If you won't, they're not your friend and don't come to a bar with them." In the adult world we do this thing called sharing. It usually pays off, either that night or down the line. You'll appreciate being seen as the guy who can afford to buy drinks for his friends, even if you can't.
THINK QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Did you know that alcohol actually tastes good? I didn't when I was in college, but that's because I was drinking 30s of Busch Light and hobo gin. "Drink stuff that is good enough to savor and squelches the 'pound' instinct," says Keith Harmon, wine director at JP's Tres Gatos. Better-quality beers "may be a buck or two more per pint, but you will drink at a moderate pace instead of quickly," adds Foundry on Elm beverage director Manny Gonzales. "It will take more PBRs to get the same effect as a single American IPA, but because you are not shooting the beer, you will act more restrained and relaxed rather than aggressive."
An added bonus here is that you'll actually look like someone who knows about things. Learn about at least one type of drink, whether it's whiskey, tequila, or a style of craft beer. Don't hold forth on it like you're giving a lecture, but others will notice you're a person of taste.
DRINK, DON'T GET DRUNK