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An Evolutionary Analysis Of How We Choose To Get Hammered

Like a fine wine, our tastes have matured.

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From solo cups to Sauvignon, our preferences in booze have mirrored the sophistication of our palates. Or we're now just old, tired and don't have the time for hangovers. Either way, let this examination of alcohol choices show you how far we've come. And may we never have to take a shot of Skol vodka again.

Smirnoff Ice & Mike's Hard Lemonade


The early high school days. Naive enough to believe that all alcohol tasted like fruit candy. "I'm such a heavyweight," you'd think to yourself as your cheeks turned red among a sea of Abercrombie sweaters.

Malibu Bay Breeze


Right. It was cheap. But then you came across this "super awesome bottle of coconut rum that tastes like you're on vacation." You're new favorite drink to steal from your parents' liquor cabinet until you realized the hangover was worse than that of vodka's.

Jungle Juice

MTV/Jersey Shore / Via

But who needed to drink beer when creepy frat guys offered pre-mixed foreign liquids in oversized trash cans as an alternative? This sweet grey concoction, disguised by date rape drugs and Kool-Aid powder, was always a party staple.



And after too many nights of blacking out, you soon realized that you could just purchase your own Everclear, the insanely potent alcohol used to make Jungle Juice. Taking shots always felt like a gamble, though. "YOU CAN AND PROBABLY WILL DIE."

Flavored Vodkas


So dying wasn't an option, especially because you wanted to pass that joke of a freshman health class. The solution: flavored vodka...and not the high fructose corn syrup bottles you were used to in high school. The downside: you threw up after a one night stand with a certain flavor and, as a result, were turned off of it for the rest of your life. Vanilla vodka...never again.

Long Island Iced Teas

TLC/Long Island Medium / Via

So when flavors failed you, the only other option was to combine every type of liquor into a new flavor: the sweet taste of immediate blackout with only the slightest hint of dignity. Luckily, these only went for $4 at the local college bar. And you only needed three.

Southern Comfort


Because the bully south of the Mason-Dixon always made an appearance. And while it was fun to drink the stuff with crazy TKE's, it never felt good coming up the next morning. The only "comfort" you took was knowing that you had a valid excuse to eat McDonald's breakfast as a hangover cure.

Pre-Mixed Margaritas

Paramount Pictures/Mean Girls / Via

So maybe it was time to experiment with sweet drinks again. "Margaritas that I don't have to make myself? Sold." Too bad this put you in a corn syrup coma. And when you chose any cherry flavor, it was always a pleasure to convince yourself that you weren't puking up blood in the AM.

Fireball Whiskey


Enough was enough. It was time to find something that tasted delicious, was cheap and did its job quickly. The answer: FIREBALL. This delightfully spicy choice was and is an excellent pre-game decision. It's the perfect balance of cinnamon and sweet, it goes down smoothly and is socially acceptable to drink into adulthood.



And nothing says adulthood more than being able to say "I'm a classy bitch." A drink with bubbles? Something to cheers with while I'm wearing a cocktail dress or tuxedo? Win. You've now come to realize that champagne is your new post-graduation bestie. You can even add a little OJ and partake in drinking festivities before 10 AM on a Sunday. Double win.


NBC/ Off Their Rockers / Via

Standards have now been established. Wine no longer has to come from a box. Wine can come in different colors and flavors. Wine can be used to complement the second best thing: food. You feel a sense of refinement when you order your 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Canada's Okanagan Valley. Wine gives you no reason to whine.

Skinny Girl

Warner Bros./Bethenny / Via

And with wine comes Skinny Girl, because you obviously now follow anything that is celebrity-endorsed and lower in calories. Despite the aspartame after taste, the beverages aren't half bad. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be ready to rock the Speedo in Fire Island.

Vodka Soda

NBC/Parks & Recreation / Via

But you don't want to be the ass-hat who orders something "skinny" at every dive bar. This is why vodka soda has become a familiar friend. With a hint of lime and a few bubbles, you won't even taste the longing to drink something that doesn't make you throw-up burp after every third sip.

Moscow Mules & Other Muddled Cocktails

NBC/Sochi Olympics / Via

Thank God for Friday nights. Time to treat yourself! Fancy restaurants with fancy food and fancy cocktails. Who can pass up the delicious taste of fresh ginger? That's kind of healthy, right? Ingredient combinations so innovative, I could cry.

Dirty Martini

HBO/Sex & the City / Via

But sometimes there are just those days where you crave both the nostalgic buzz of being a college coed and the desired sophistication of a Wall Street CEO. That's where the salty, strong dirty martini comes into play, pairing perfectly with a night out with friends or a movie at your significant other's apartment.

Cheers to being able to afford top shelf liquor. Cheers to being in bed by midnight. Cheers to enjoying the drink for what it is...a drink. You've come so far.

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