Booze 101

Intro to imbibing for the recently legal
By LUKE O'NEIL  |  September 26, 2012

TRUE BREW Rule number one: if you’re going to drink, drink the good stuff.

Welcome back to Rhode Island, 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 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 by asking "what's the cheapest thing here"? Cheapest thing here in that case is you, buddy. 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?") "Instead of asking what the specials are or what's cheap, ask for a recommendation," says Maurice Collins, owner of Wild Colonial Tavern in Providence. "Most bartenders like to do that." They're not going to steer a college kid toward a way overpriced item. You just have to phrase the question differently. Say, "I typically like X, can you recommend something in that range.

"The things we offer, we try ourselves and have chosen for a reason," Collins says. "We don't put up specials, but we have stuff that's reasonably priced and we'll tell you what it is." If you're nice about it, that is.

Being on a budget doesn't mean you can stiff the help, either, he adds. "Typically the person [asking what's cheapest] isn't interested in tipping either. That tends to put a damper on things. If you can afford a Bass ale and not tip you can drink a Narragansett and tip."

Another idea: buy your friend a beer. 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. Better spirits not only taste better, but you'll feel better the next day after drinking them. And while they may cost a dollar or two more, you'll make up for it in the long run by slowing your drinking roll, and by enjoying something that's probably a higher alcohol content anyway.

"It's all about quality, not quantity," says Tyrone Di Stasi, a partner at the Grande in Providence. He suggests trying a classic cocktail like a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or a Vesper. "If it's good enough for Bond, it's good enough for me. Opting for a quality spirit gives you the opportunity to try new things while figuring out what else your taste buds might enjoy. Plus, it lessens the hangover affects."

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  Topics: Liquid , Beer, drinking, booze,  More more >
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