Drinking in college was for one purpose and one purpose only: to get wasted on a small budget. You can’t say you truly wallowed in your spiked Big Gulp from 7-Eleven or had a hard time weaning yourself off of the mystery mix from the endless house parties.
As a college student, you may have thought the party ended at graduation, but that was just the pre-game to a life full of better alcohol indulgences (that aren’t made up of only two ingredients). Whether your college go-to is still a guilty pleasure or but a fond memory, here are nine of your favorite blast-from-the-past drinks and their more mature substitutes.
Instead of: Jungle Juice
Try: Port Royal Punch
What’s one way to quench the thirst of an entire house party? Fill a jumbo-sized plastic container with cheap vodka, fruit punch, and if you’re feeling really rowdy, maybe a tall energy drink. Here’s a better version of that model: Throw a summer barbecue and serve your guests this Port Royal Punch. Nothing says, “I’m ready to have fun and I’m glad you’re all here,” like providing a booze-filled bowl of rum, Sprite, fruit juices and Grenadine.
Instead of: Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
Try: Yamazaki Autumn Delight
Cinnamon-flavored whiskey is a gateway drink for beginning drinkers of brown liquor. Whether you poured a measure into an apple ale or shot it straight, it was admittedly delicious. And whiskey is still delicious; so is cinnamon. Why stop now? Combine the two in a Yamazaki Autumn Delight with apple cider and cinnamon sticks.
Instead of: Cranberry Juice & Vodka
Try: Honey Berry Sling
College drinking often requires something easy and something cheap—a Cranberry-Vodka for example. Leaving college doesn’t mean ditching the ease. So how about a Honey Berry Sling? It’s made with vodka and cranberry, but comes with raspberry, honey and a twist of lime.
Instead of: Whiskey & Coke
There are two drinks the average college-aged man will order in a bar: a cold brew or a Jack and Coke. The latter is a classic for whiskey lovers and soda drinkers alike. You can still have your Jack Daniel’s and Coke with this one—we would never take that away. But try mixing those items with peanut orgeat to make a nutty-flavored Tallulah.
Instead of: Lemon Drop shots
It’s sweet, sour and can pack a quick punch. Lemon Drop shooters get the job done, sweetly. But for a more sophisticated citrus drink, try the Italian digestivo Limoncello. Don’t be fooled, it may be served in a shot-like glass but it is intended to be sipped. Enough with the lemon shots; take time to enjoy a more nuanced citrus drink.
Instead of: Crappy Beer
Now we’re not knocking beer. But if you’re looking to upgrade from a 40 ounce or take a break from keg stands, allow us to introduce the Michelada. It’s beer enlivened with a mix of spices and sauces. Don’t forget the lime!
Instead of: Jell-O Shots
Try: Boozy Gelato
It’s only two words, but “Jell-O Shots” always meant it was party time. Luckily cocktails in dessert form don’t have to end, but they do get better, especially when they take the form of refreshing gelato. Try one of these recipes for Boozy Gelato.
Instead of: Jäger Bombs
Try: Flaming Dr. Pepper Shot
Dropping a shot of alcohol into another glass of alcohol—e.g. Jäger bombs—are popular in college because it’s like a race, one that everyone wins (unless you chip a tooth). If you graduated college but you still want to feel like a booze-fueled winner, order a Flaming Dr. Pepper Shot. Yes, we said add flames. Ignite a shot of amaretto and rum and drop it into a pint of beer. Safety first: Don’t try this at home.
Instead of: Four Loko
Try: Irish Coffee
The goal of drinking a Four Loko was to get drunk quickly and to feel alive while doing it. Taste is not the objective. Four Loko was originally made with an intense amount of caffeine and alcohol, but the FDA shut that down and now Four Loko’s main ingredients are sugar and alcohol. If you’re still craving the caffeine, though, and you want something that doesn’t taste like a bubbly Kool-Aid and vodka, try an Irish Coffee. It’s naturally sweetened with brown sugar syrup and the coffee is just enough to get you moving. Talk about a wake-up call.