21. Natty Light
Natural Lights are a college staple and stand in a category of their own. They’re essentially the drunk uncles of cheap beers: They’re dirt cheap, incredibly gross, but guaranteed to provide a good time. Every time.
19. Bud Light Lime-a-Rita
Nothing screams “I want to graduate to beers but I’m afraid of the taste” like holding a bottle of Bud Light LIME at a sophomore year dorm party. It was nearly impossible to cradle one of these without looking like a tool, but no one’s judging, we’ve all been there.
18. Mike’s Hard Lemonade
Ahhh, the training wheels of alcohol. From the early years of high school to the first weeks of college, Mike and his delicious concoction of sugary lemonade made getting drunk for the first time extremely bearable.
14. Wine Coolers
Shout out to B&J and Seagrams for creating a tropical paradise of fruity alcohol. Depending where you are in the country, a four-pack of these is outrageously cheap and can actually get you to a mild buzz. *Disclaimer: Showing up to a party with a pack will generally make you look like an idiot. Please enjoy in private.
Forties were the holy crux of college. When you realized you could buy 40 whole ounces of malt liquor at a deli that didn’t card, they immediately became your go-to party companion.
12. Four Loko
Four Loko was cool in 2010 and got you messed up while still keeping you psychotically awake. Then there was all that talk about lowering the alcohol content and you also turned 21 and discovered the magic of dainty Red Bull vodkas.
11. Grey Goose
Everyone had that one rich friend in college who threw ragers with the best stocked liquor, and Grey Goose was always the alc of choice. You felt classy for drinking ~real~ vodka for once, but you also chugged it straight out the bottle, so…
10. Absinthe (from study abroad)
Value: 2 (depends on exchange rate)
You or someone you knew studied abroad in Prague and brought back a bottle with an Alphonse Mucha illustration on the label or something. You had like three shots and actually stopped yourself because you were told you’d hallucinate if you had any more.
9. Burnett’s (in strange fruit flavors)
Burnett’s was the preferred hard liquor if you were on a tight budget but still wanted to get royally fucked up. Plus, with flavors like coconut, pink lemonade, sour apple, sweet tea, mango, watermelon, and vanilla, you probably didn’t have to buy chasers either.
8. Flavored Smirnoff Vodka
When you first laid eyes on the label, you couldn’t believe such sorcery existed. Then you tried it and couldn’t believe you were that naive. Still, your shot-taking skills improved and your vom maybe tasted like a My Little Pony. You live, you learn.
7. Jose Cuervo
Jose Cuervo was there for you when you used it to make margaritas for the first time with a $5 blender. Jose was there for you when you had your first tequila shot and marveled at the novelty of the salt-and-lime ritual. Sure, you may have moved on to Patron Silver, but Jose and you had memories that can never be erased.
6. Two-Ingredient Mixed Drinks (Screwdriver, Rum and Coke, Cranberry Vodka)
Value: 8 (the cheapest well drink you could get in a bar, but not the cheapest way to get smashed)
Effectiveness: 7 (could be effective, but you could also totally be ripped off)
You realized early on that you didn’t have to swig vodka or rum and could instead mix it with a beloved juice from your childhood. The ratio was always tricky though.
5. Bacardi 151 Proof
Effectiveness: 1 million! (11)
The drink of choice of that hot senior who made you cringe when he spoke but also created a physical longing in you that you refused to admit to anyone. So you had just a shot of Bacardi 151 to both impress him and ease the crippling confusion.
3. $2 Chuck
Trader Joes’ “Charles Shaw” blend was lovingly nicknamed “Two-Buck Chuck” by everyone who wanted an affordable and sophisticated wine and cheese night without staying too sober. It was the first hint of maybe-adulthood, and it was pretty sweet.
2. Jungle Juice
Value: 10 (on behalf of the guest)
This was a gift from the heavens because, if you were a guest, it was free (save the few bucks you left because you’re a decent human) and the mixture was so mysterious that you stopped questioning the alcoholic content and just went with it.
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