Bill Anderson used to think a cocktail was a Budweiser and a shot of Jack Daniels. Sound familiar? Maybe a little like last Friday night?

Luckily, post-college Bill has become bar manager of James Beard Award nominee Chef Paul Virant’s Chicago restaurants: Vie and Vistro. He currently makes distinctive and enchanting cocktails using house made syrups and tinctures, as well as inspiration from Virant’s seasonally changing menu.

Anderson graduated from Ohio University with a degree in printmaking, moved to Chicago and held a plethora of jobs, including working at Einstein bagels and selling prints on the street. A friend hooked him up with a barback job at Sepia, an upscale American restaurant, and he became addicted with the bar life.

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When a bartending spot opened up, he lied and said he had experience and almost got away with it… Until he asked the bar manager if the gin or tonic went in first when making the classic refreshing concoction. 

Thank the good heavens that he was able to keep his job and go on to become one of the finest bartenders in the Chicagoland area, including being named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30 Rockstars Redefining the Industry in 2013, because he has some killer tips to amp up your college partying game.

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Spoon was able to sit down with Anderson and ask him all of the questions every college rager attendee has ever wondered. Here are Bill’s partying tips to help you and your friends make the most of all of your festivities on a college budget.

drinking tips

Photo courtesy of Abigail Anderson

Spoon: As lowly, poor college students, what cheap beer would you recommend in our budget?

BA: PBR. “Give me Blue Ribbon or give me death.” Or if you are going to drink cheap beer, drink High Life.

drinking tips

Photo courtesy of Sharon Cho

Spoon: What are 3 necessities every dorm or apartment should have?


  • A huge gallon container (for all of your jungle juice needs).  
  • A water filter pitcher (for vodka, obviously). A vodka distillery essentially uses the same process (except a helluva lot bigger) to filter their spirits. Filtering your vodka through one of these babies a couple of times could make the quality difference of Smirnoff vs. Skyy.
  • Uniquely shaped ice cube trays. These are a simple upgrade for your drink, but it will make you feel like a classy MOFO.

Spoon: What about some shot and chaser pairings?

1 shot of Jameson
½ shot of cold dill pickle juice


1 shot of bourbon
1 shot of ice cold sweet tea

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Spoon: Best hangover cure?

BA: “Jump rope until you are about to throw up, then take a hot shower while drinking ice cold root beer from a fountain.”

I can only assume this actually works because you can’t make this shit up.

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Spoon: Does mixing alcohol throughout the night actually make you sick?

BA: When people talk about mixing spirits it usually means that they have probably had 3-4 drinks by then. The reason they get sick is because they have had too much to drink.  It’s a problem of quantity rather than consistency.

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