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I’m not the young buck I used to be. I’m nearing my twenty-sixth year on this earth, and all around me, I see changes. I’m changing how I dress, how I act, and most of all, how I drink. Our drinking habits change as we mature, and although I don’t always (or ever) act my age, I’ve found this guide to be true.
0–11 years old
Unless you were raised in a trailer park on are an average Russian, you should not be drinking during this age range. Maybe your dad gave you a sip of his beer, but you immediately spit it out and wondered why anyone would drink something so vile.
Drink of choice: Capri Sun
12-15 years old
Guess who found out why people would drink something so vile? You did. You and your friends snuck some vodka from your parents’ liquor cabinet and drank it out of a water bottle in someone’s garage, or in a park somewhere. This was immediately accompanied by everyone talking about “how wasted they are” as your levels of obnoxiousness grew ten-fold. Some time in this age range is also the first time you learned of the evils of alcohol and had a traumatic night that ended in tears, vomit, getting grounded, and in my specific case, never being able to drink Bacardi Gold ever again.
Drink of choice: Smirnoff Black Cherry with a heavy chaser.
16-18 years old
This is the first of many times in your life you think you’ve “figured out alcohol.” You booze exclusively on Friday and Saturday nights, or every night during the summer months. You go to “ragers” that you’ll later learn are super lame, and you have a lot of good times with your friends doing dumb, illegal shit because rules don’t apply to you and you’ll live forever. You drink whatever liquor you can steal from your parents or get older people to buy for you, and you’ll split a 30-rack of Keystones six ways and still get hammered. Ah, to be young again.
Drink of choice: A water bottle made up of four different alcohols to cover your tracks as you ransack your parents’ liquor cabinet.
19-23 years old
College, baby. You know how it is. You’ll drink every alcohol under the sun, between five and seven days a week, in any and all environments. Some will be inappropriate, and some will be wildly inappropriate. You’ll drink $6 handles while wearing a $800 suit and dancing in a $50,000 ballroom. You’ll take Jell-O shots, body shots, and blowjob shots and enjoy them all equally (not at all). Hangovers are something you’re aware of, but they don’t truly exist for you. I hate you, and everyone else reading this hates you.
Drink of choice: Jungle Juice / Trashcan Punch / Whatever your school called that god-awful mixture of cheap vodka and fruit punch.
24-30 years old
This is a tough transition period. Half of you still wants to rage like you’re in college, and half of you is realizing that you’ll lose your job if you do so. After many mishaps, you’ll settle with getting college-drunk on the weekends and catching a light buzz during the week. Birthday dinners, happy hours, dates etc. You’ll have 2-4 drinks before 9 p.m., and be in bed by 10 for a fuzzy, but doable wake up for work the next day.
On the weekends, you’ll force your liver to drink like it used to, but it will slowly get worse and worse for you. By the time 30 is on the horizon, your hangovers will be so debilitating you’ll be going out only on Fridays, and taking the rest of the weekend to recover. You will also go through swings of being more or less “adult,” and fluctuate from having only a glass of wine at dinner some weeks to taking tequila shots at last call some week.
Drink of choice: House wine, G&Ts, and various other basic drinks. Maybe you’re one of those douchebags that get really into beer.
30-45 years old
This is the second time in your life that you think you’ve got alcohol figured out. You rarely go out on the weekends, but instead up your “getting low-key drunk at home” game. Backyard barbeques, kid’s birthday parties, “date nights” that are really just you and your spouse drinking wine together on the couch when the kids finally fall asleep. You know that if you have more than five drinks, or drink a bottle that cost less than $30, your hangover may very well kill you so you steer clear for the most part. Your drinking habits, like your life, are consistent but boring.
Drink of choice: A nice bottle of Cab you picked up from BevMo on the way home. High-tannins, decent finish. Just how you like it.
45-60 years old
Your kids are officially old enough that they can tell how much you drink around the house, so it’s time to go back out. Luckily, they’re also old enough to watch themselves, so you get to have some kids-free booze time. Happy hours, company dinners, and actual date nights out in the city.
At this age, you know exactly how much you can drink to maintain that perfect buzz. The “getting a little handsy in the back of the cab home, but can pull it together and seem normal when you tell the kids goodnight” buzz. 90 percent of your alcohol is consumed with a meal, and you’ve come to realize that drinking is not all about getting drunk. Regardless of your newfound knowledge, you will still deal with at least five crippling hangovers during this period (usually because of your birthdays/mid-life crisis).
Drink of choice: Scotch, baby. 12-year, or if it’s a special occasion, maybe something older. You’re a grown-up, after all.
60-80 years old
If you’re retired, congratulations on crushing your career choice, and enjoy the twenty years of mild alcoholism that come with having nothing to do but drink. You’ll essentially return to your college ways, enjoying Bloody Marys on a Tuesday morning, slamming Mich Ultras on the golf course, and having liquid lunches of Martinis whenever you damn well please. You know what they say: you’re only an alcoholic if you go to meetings, and you’re not going to shit. Enjoy your golden years.
Drink of choice: Whatever you feel like; your liquor cabinet is stooocked.
80+ years old
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? At this point, drink whatever and whenever you want. Hell, you’re probably on so many meds you feel high all the time anyway, might as well throw a sidecar or a gimlet in the mix. No one can judge you, so you may as well go back to your roots and start slamming Bud Heavies while you rock in your chair on the porch
Drink of choice: Straight liquor and cheap beer. If after eight decades of life you can’t drink room temperature vodka from a plastic cup, you haven’t been living right. .