Here are my go-to bar drinks in America! FYI: Red Solo Cups are for house parties only ;)
Wine and beer are considered more casual and can have an early afternoon start, but liquor is only acceptable in the evening after dinner. Wine is usually more associated with food and a meal, while beer and liquor can stand alone. Almost any bar will be able to make the following options for you. Each one is considered a serving of alcohol, and more than 4 will usually start effecting you due to America’s fantastic portions. I’m tall and large for a woman, so about 6 drinks takes me to a happy buzz that will last awhile.
Everyone enjoys drinking in different ways, but always keep yourself in a safe situation with people you trust, or an escape plan if you decide to get too shitty. And, just because a group is mostly strangers to you- doesn’t mean it’s automatically not safe! Drinking and drinking games are a great way to cross cultural and language barriers while home or abroad- Cheers!
Rum and Coke– Get “spiced rum” for a yummy dessert flavor! Usually comes in a small cup with ice- and regular Coca-Cola is used. Get a “double” for an extra splash of rum. It is ok to drink straight from cup or with a straw. This is the most popular “well drink,” which means it has a serving of liquor mixed with soda/juice. They are the cheapest options!
Whiskey Ginger-Whiskey and ginger ale are a great pair, but don’t let the bartender decide you get the cheap well-whiskey. Ask for a “mid-range” whiskey for maybe a dollar or so more- but way better flavor quality. This drink is sipping only- no straw here!
Yuengling– (ying-ling) An American made lager. The beer most people “don’t mind” drinking. It tastes light and looks light. If you order a “pitcher,” tell them how many glasses you want for your party/table. Pitchers are usually only big enough to hold around 4+ full glasses. The bartender usually does not pour the pitcher for you. Hold the glass at an angle (science says 45*) and pour down the side slowly to avoid too much foam on top. You want about a 1/2 inch only; a large layer of foam will probably get you laughed at.
Jollyrancher– Often a hefty pink shot which tastes like pure sugar with liquor hiding inside. It’s usually more common to sip on it than actually take it in one go like a regular shot- unless clearly in a small shot glass.
Tijuana Hooker-Due to the nausea factor, only to be done before you’re drunk. This shot comes with a shot of pickle juice as a “chaser.” Just smell to tell them apart in a dark bar. One in each hand, a fast shot of liquor immediately followed by the pickle juice. It will completely cover the liquor burn and flavor! Nothing will cover up the pickle… :/
Tequila shot– Ask for a “shot of tequila with salt and lime.” Feeling fancy? Make it anejo. Anejo is not a brand, it is the smoothest form of tequila- it means aged and might cost a bit extra. If they don’t rim the shot glass with salt- they will probably hand you a salt shaker. Lick a part of your wrist or hand and dab some salt on. Hold the slice of lime in the same hand as the salt- and the shot in the other. Lick the salt off, then immediately take the shot, follow up by quickly sucking on the lime- it’s not very classy to suck or chew on the lime for longer than a few seconds. To be polite: place the lime rind into the shot glass, so your bartender doesn’t have to touch it.
Lemondrop– The type of shot you can order for a group without anyone complaining! Citrus flavor, often rimmed with sugar, and usually a normal shot size- take it all at once. The shot ritual for most (especially with strangers) includes doing a cheer of tapping the glasses together (always side to side, never tap the top/bottom as this is disrespectful in almost all cultures), followed by taking the shot – OR when with friends/family- after the cheers, tap the shot back onto the table before drinking.