Everyone spends their entire life waiting for their 21st birthday. Movies and television make bars and nightlife look like they are the most fun thing in the entire world. Your 21st birthday is supposed to be awesome because it is your first chance to experience all the fun that everyone talks about. What the movies don’t show you is that the bartenders expect you to know what to order with no direction. Up until your 21st you probably haven’t had any drinks that aren’t served out of a beer bong or a keg. There usually isn’t a menu at the bar and there are no signs telling you what drinks to order. It’s also intimidating because you’re the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing. It’s also really obvious you’re new to the bars because you’re probably wearing a sash that says “finally 21” and the whole girl gang is out and about. Skip the confusion and order one of the drinks on this list. Here are a few must know drinks if you’re newly legal.
1. Vodka cranberry
This is one of those drinks that is pretty straightforward. It’s literally made with just vodka and cranberry juice. That’s the whole drink! Sometimes the bartender will put a slice of lime on the glass if you’re lucky. This is one of those drinks that will definitely be served at every bar you go to. Every bartender will know what it is. If they don’t serve vodka cranberries you should find another bar because they might not know what they’re doing.
2. Any beer
Beer is always an easy choice for your first night out at the bars. There are a ton of beer options and this is a good choice if you don’t want to drink any hard alcohol. It is also a familiar drink to everyone because beer is everywhere. You’ve probably had exposure to beer in the past, so you’ll have a good idea on what to order. If you don’t know about beer just scan the room and see if you can see someone holding a can. Read the label and order whatever they have! Chances are you’ve had a beer before and it is nice to have something familiar if you don’t know what you are doing at the bars.
3. Whiskey sour
This drink is not for people who don’t like things that are sour, but maybe you guessed that from the name. The drink has some serious sour punch to it, but the whiskey is able to dull that down a little bit. The whiskey sour is made with lemon juice, sugar, and sometimes egg white. Some people really like the whole egg thing, but it is definitely not for everyone. Most bartenders don’t put eggs in unless you specifically ask for it or go to some really ridiculously fancy bar, but maybe watch them make the drink so you don’t end up sipping on egg whites. If you’re going to your college bar, they will not put an egg in it.
The cosmopolitan, or better known as the cosmo, is one of those traditionally girly drinks that help you embrace how fun it is to be a woman. If they are good enough for our queen Carrie Bradshaw, they are good enough for you. This drink is a made with a citrus-flavored vodka with some cranberry juice. There is also some fresh lime juice in the drink. The most fun part of this drink is that it is pink! If you’re feeling really girly and cute when you go out, give the cosmo a try.
5. Vodka soda
A lot of people order this drink because it is a classic, but it truly is not the most delicious one on this list. It is pretty bland without much flavor at all. There are a couple of really great appeals of this drink though! One of the best things about this drink is that it doesn’t have a lot of calories. Drinking can make you gain a lot of weight when you first start drinking and nobody really tells you that. This drink can help limit and manage that. It doesn’t have anything super sugary that would make it high in calories. The other great thing about it not having a lot of sugar is that there is a good chance it won’t leave you with an upset stomach or a bad headache the next day. If you want to avoid the hangover, give this drink a try. Maybe add a splash of lime for some flavor.
The Manhattan is truly one of those classic drinks. This drink is made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters, and garnished with cherries. This drink is somehow bitter and sweet, so it’s perfect for people who don’t really know what they want. This drink is classic and everyone knows what it is, but it still seems fancy. I think it is intimidating to drink on your 21st birthday because so many old people drink it. Despite this, everyone needs to try this drink at one point in their life, so why not try it on your 21st birthday? It’s your 21st. Be that bitch!
7. Long island iced tea
This drink will give you a serious taste of all of the main alcohols in one drink. It seriously has all of them in it. To make this drink you need to mix together vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, and sour mix. I told you it has everything! This drink is really tasty and it is definitely not boring! Be that cool girl at the bar and order this complicated, but classic drink.
8. Gin and tonic
A gin and tonic is really similar to the vodka soda, but it is made with gin. It is pretty plain, but it is another low calorie and hangover preventing drink. This drink is really easy and every bartender will be able to make it. Maybe stick to a drink like this one and skip the hangover on your first night as a legal woman.
What is your go-to drink? Let us know in the comments.
My name is Kayleigh Hughes and I am a senior at the University of Arkansas majoring in Communication. I'm just a 20-something college student trying to figure everything out like everybody else. I love to travel, sing, and adventure. I'm just here trying to do everything that makes me happy.