With the summer in full swing, there are a ton of activities that lead to alcohol consumption. I’ve decided to put together a guide for you with some handy tips to help keep your fun times on track without leaving you wondering what the hell happened the night before. I’ve divided this post up into segments for easy reading and accessibility.
The Letter of the Law
With alcohol consumption comes responsibility. The biggest of those is to respect the laws that are set in place for safety reasons.
- Don’t drink if you’re underage. This law is to prevent those that have not reached a maturity level deemed necessary to understand the consequences of drinking.
- Don’t drink and drive. So many senseless tragedies occur due to drunk driving. Don’t become a statistic.
- Don’t operate any heavy equipment, machinery or handle weapons while drinking. Alcohol impairs your judgement, and that leads to more senseless tragedy.
Now that we’ve gotten the serious aspect of the guide out of the way, let’s move on to some basic rules of thumb.
Know what kind of night it’s going to be
- Carefully Measured
This category is for those that go to the bar or club on a work night. You have a two-drink maximum with four-hour window. You need to be home before midnight. You need to drink plenty of water, and have a snack before and after your night out. This ensures that you have access to a tasty beverage, but it doesn’t impair your function. This also works well for sporting events or fight nights where alcohol and ego can make for a pressure cooker of rage and idiocy. Typically, on nights like this, I go with beer instead of mixed drinks. Something with a low alcohol percentage is ideal for this particular scenario.
- Soft Buzz Consumption
This category is for those that go out after a long week at work. This includes, but is not limited to: co-worker gatherings on a Friday night at the local watering hole, Saturdays at the beach or lake, wedding receptions and nights at the club when you want to drink enough to get loose on the dance floor, but not enough to throw the DJ offstage and take over the booth with horrible mixes of Iggy or Nicki. These nights are a three-drink maximum with a five-hour window, and here I’ll do a tasty mixed drink like a Vodka-Cranberry or a Screwdriver. Make sure to stay hydrated, but snacking is optional here, as we’re not trying to filter the alcohol with food.
- Fully Engaged Consumption
This category is for those that are involved in a special event. Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, graduation parties, frat parties are the type of soirees that tend to have a special set of rules that allow for full hammerings. These events are a five-drink maximum (four if you’re a small person, six for a big person) with a six- to ten-hour window and a predesignated place to crash. Proper hydration here is crucial as the drinks on deck can range from fruity mixed drinks to shots. These are nights when you plan on going straight Villante. The shirts are coming off, the dance moves get more risky…when I’m out with Gian Villante, the worst in me comes out, and by worst, I mean we are out there doing the robot without a care in the world. Some might argue that this is actually bringing out the best.
Stay with one type of drink
If you’re doing shots with beer chasers, put a 60- to 90-minute window in between. If you’re having mixed drinks, keep away from beer. If you’re drinking hard liquor (Scotch on the rocks, Bourbon neat, etc.), stay far away from beer. There’s no faster way to the spins and the imminent toilet hugging experience than mixing your alcohol. Don’t be a puker! Here’s a handy little rhyme to help you out: Beer before liquor, never sicker.
This is of the utmost importance in any scenario. Drink water before you start drinking, in between drinks and after you’ve stopped. This step will help keep the dreaded hangover away.
Have a sober wingman
There is nothing worse than a bad case of beer goggles. It is close to impossible to try to extricate yourself from the clutches of a determined clinger after the beer goggles have started to wear off. Don’t put yourself in this position. A wingman is there to protect you from this, so the trick is to make sure he/she is going to maintain a level of sobriety that is higher than yours. The worst cases of beer goggles can be avoided with a responsible wingman.
Plan your post-drinking snacks in advance
There is no faster way to ruin a diet than binge eating after a night of drinking. Salty snacks, late night fast food runs, IHOP, crazy concoctions involving Kraft Mac-N-Cheese and whatever meat you can find is going to put you five to seven pounds on overnight. Set yourself up with some veggie trays or something moderately healthy in advance. Believe it or not, if you’ve pre-prepared something, it will be what you look forward to for the rest of the night.
Use happy hour to your advantage
Happy Hour is a national treasure. You get in most joints without a cover, reduced rates on drinks, and some places have free munchies. When you want to go out but your wallet is light, these places are lifesavers.
Know the lay of the land
Find out what bars/clubs are near you and explore them. You never know when you’re going to find a hidden gem. This is also great for locating the best happy hour deals. Bonus: When money is tight, having a standby that’s within walking distance or a short cab ride that won’t break the bank is ideal.
Leave your credit card/ATM card at home
Bring cash only! This prevents you from burning through your cards or bank account when you’re hellbent on buying your entire crew’s drinks because you’re in Santa Clause mode after a few shots with beer chasers. It prevents thieves from getting anything more than what you’ve allotted for a single night of fun, and the find restriction provides a limit to how much you can drink.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll find that your nights/days out will likely be fun, safe and without chew your own arm off to escape the clutches of some random that would never register a blip on your radar normally. Be safe, responsible and organized.
*Disclaimer: This post is not to encourage excessive drinking.
(Image via MMAWeekly.com)