Booze 101

By LUKE O'NEIL  |  September 26, 2012

Not to sound like your mother here (though she and I have been talking about you, and we're a little worried), but put something in your stomach before you go out, and drink a glass of water with every serving of alcohol. Another way to avoid getting drunk too fast is by skipping the energy drinks and vodka. Not only does caffeine make your body more susceptible to alcohol's effects, but it also makes you look like an amateur.

"If you're going out drinking for the night, make sure you eat plenty of fatty foods in advance and drink water during the course of the night," says Richard. "Drinking water itself will not sober you up, but it will slow down your consumption and can help you feel better the next morning. When you're out, try to remember that it's not a race."

Another pro tip: avoid mixing many types of booze. Mixing booze sounds like a good idea in theory, right? I want all of the things in me at once! Nope. This means skipping a few college favorites, like the Long Island Iced Tea.

"There are places where that's what they want to do, pour as much crappy product down your throat as quickly as possible, get your money and kick you out," says Collins, who doesn't serve drinks like a Long Island Iced Tea, or allow more than two shots per customer. "If you want to be adult about drinking, seek out places where you're encouraged to stay and have a conversation with friends.

Cultivate good drinking karma

The bartenders' number-one suggestion: remember your manners.

"Bartenders and waitresses can make as little as $2.89 an hour and rely on tips to make the difference to at least make minimum wage," says Richard. "Good service deserves a good tip, and vice versa. If you're broke, don't tell the bartender, 'I'll catch you next time.' We know you won't. An experienced bartender has heard and seen it all before."

Being a good bar citizen means tipping, of course, but also not assuming that you've now purchased a license to run the place as you see fit. You don't walk into someone else's house and start opening shades, changing the temperature on the thermostat, turning off lights, or complaining about the music, do you? Then why do people in bars feel entitled to do that, Collins asks? "It's remarkable that they just walk in and change the environment to suit themselves, rather than go in, look around, see it's something they want to be a part of." It's not just younger people who do that, of course, though people at your age to tend to be a little more self-absorbed and oblivious.

Other things to avoid: waving money around to get the bartenders' attention, and refusing to leave when shut off. "If you're denied service because you appear drunk, say 'thank you' and walk away," says Richard. "Arguing usually proves that you have had too much to drink."

"Most people would not like to see themselves on film when they're wasted," Di Stasi adds. " 'Sloppy' does not translate to cool, sexy or fun. You never know who you're going to meet and what you might miss out on when you're overly intoxicated. And moreover, what's the point if you don't remember any of it?"

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