If we’re being honest, we know your first sip of alcohol probably isn’t on your 21st birthday (sorry ‘murica, but this law is outdated and lame). If it is, props kid – you finally made it.

Without a doubt you’re going to the bar the second the clock strikes midnight, so the real question is, “What’s your first drink going to be?”

Check out this list so you know exactly what to order the minute you’re finally legal. Cheers.

1. Sex on the Beach


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So by the time you get to the bar, you’ve probably ripped a few shots and had a shitty mixed drink or two. It’s time to change the game and order a really flirty, pretty and (sorry, guys) girly drink the minute you get the bartender’s attention.

Why? Because sex on the beach is delicious – it has vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and orange juice. You seriously won’t even taste the alcohol. But trust me, it’s there.

2. Whiskey Sour


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If you wanna be classy but simple, whiskey sours are the way to go. Although they may not always be as glamorous as this sweet pic (sometimes they’re considered to be well drinks), it’s a great way to ease you into whiskey, if you don’t love it already.

Your basic whiskey sour will have bourbon, lemon juice and sugar. Sometimes the lemon juice is substituted with what’s called “sour mix” – lemon and lime juice mixed with simple syrup. Depending on the bar, this drink can get dangerously sour, but if you loved warheads as a kid, you’ll love this drink.

3. Woo Woo


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Time to channel your inner woo girl.

With 2 parts vodka, 1 part peach schnapps and lots of cranberry juice, this drink will have you cheersing to everything in no time.

And guys, if Ted can be a woo girl, so can you.


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4. Screwdriver


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Alright, so I’m going to be honest with you. You’ve already had this drink. You know it like the back of your hand… it’s orange juice and vodka. That’s it.

But you need to know its official name, because now you’re old so you should probably know your shit. It’s okay to stick to your freshman year ways by drinking lots of vodka with an affordable mixer, but at least know how to order it at a bar. Don’t worry, I got you.

5. Long Island Iced Tea


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This drink goes against everything anyone has taught you about mixing alcohol. But hey, fuck it, right?

An LIT has 4 different kinds of alcohol: gin, vodka, white rum, white tequila, as well as triple sec, coke and some lemon wedges. Drink more than one and you’ll probably blackout, but you do you.

6. Seven and Seven


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This is another classic mixed drink disguised as a fancy bar drink because someone slapped a cool name on it. But really it’s just 7-Up and Seagram’s Seven Crown Whiskey – perfect if you’d rather not have a Jack and coke.

7. Mai Tai


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So what if your birthday’s not during spring break and it’s actually, like, negative seven degrees outside. We can always pretend we’re on the beach, right?

Mai Tais are citrus-y and fun, containing white rum, orange curaçao (an orange-flavored liqueur), orgeat syrup (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose/orange water), dark rum and fresh lime juice.

Wait, did you feel that summer breeze too?

8. Jägerbomb


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Did somebody say shots???

Originally, a Jägerbomb was a bomb shot that was mixed by dropping a shot of Jägermeister into a glass of beer. But we love our energy drinks, so now it’s more likely to be served with half a can of Red Bull. #rage

9. Cosmopolitan


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Oh, you fancy, huh? Yeah, that’s right. You’re 21 and it’s time to be classy af.

Order your basic cosmo, which has vodka citron, Cointreau, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice. Act like you belong on Sex and the City, you deserve it.

10. Tom Collins


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I’m sorry, but it’s time to move on from the gin bucket. Let me introduce you to my good friend, Tom.

Tommy here will hit you up with a good dose of gin, club soda, sugar, lemon juice, and maybe a cherry and an orange slice if he’s feeling generous. Go ahead, it’s okay to like this more than your janky bucket mix.

11. Margarita


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Yasssss, margs. Everyone loves them because they come in all different flavors and combinations, it’s easily the best drink everrrr.

But before you go all out and try that pomegranate marg from Chili’s (uh, yah it’s delish), get to know the basics. Simply made with tequila, lime juice and Cointreau, you’ll instantly fall in love with being legal.

12. Sidecar


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It’s time to raise the bar.

Sophisticated and suave, the sidecar is a great introduction to brandy. Made with Cognac (or sometimes bourbon), Cointreau (or triple sec) and lemon juice, you’ll look and feel like you know exactly what you’re doing at the bar.

13. Old Fashioned


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If your birthday falls on a Thursday, do you really have any other option but to #tbt it to the good ol’ days?

This classic drink is made with bourbon or rye whiskey, bitters, sugar and some club soda or water. I know it seems like a guy’s drink, but you’re finally 21 and if you’re considering it, you probably already appreciate whiskey. So screw gender norms, amiright?

14. Martinis


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Can I have a glass of class, please?

That’s basically what you’re ordering when you get a martini – it’s the epitome of class. But there’s a couple of terms you should know before attempting to look your age.

A basic martini is made up of gin and dry vermouth, usually served with an olive or two. But if you want to change it up, here are the variations:

Dry – less vermouth than the standard ratio
Wet – more vermouth than the standard ratio
Dirty – addition of olive juice or olive brine
Perfect – equal parts vermouth and gin
With a twist – if you’d rather have lemon over olives in your drank

15. Manhattan


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Even though you may not be in NYC for your 21st (realistically you’re probably quite far from it), one day you might be, so ya might as well start preparing.

A Manhattan is made with rye or Canadian whiskey, vermouth and bitters, and is sometimes garnished with cherries. Just throw on a suit and tie or your go-to business casual dress, close your eyes and you’re basically on Wall Street.

16. Dirty Shirley


Photo courtesy of betcheslovethis.com

You’ve probably realized that 21 one of the last monumental birthdays you’ll have for a while. We get it – it’s your birthday and you can cry if you want to. Or, you can refuse to be an adult with this spiked variation of your favorite childhood drink.

It’s simple: vodka, Sprite and grenadine. Feel free to throw a couple back because hey, at least you’re not living in the real world yet.

17. Mojito


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Maybe I’m biased, but this is hands down one of my favorite drinks. If you like lime and mint, order two – you’ll want more than one.

This crisp drink is made with white rum, mint leaves, soda water, lime juice and sugar. Mason jar optional.

18. Tequila Sunrise


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Alright, real talk: for a long time I was deathly afraid of tequila. Then I went abroad and conquered my fears by ordering a tequila sunrise with my friends, and my life was changed forever. Now I love tequila.

It’s also a pretty basic drink: orange juice, tequila and grenadine. But trust me, it’s the bomb.com.

19. Buttery Nipple


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Can we all acknowledge that by the time we turn 21, the thought of taking a shot makes us wanna vom a little? You’re not a freshman anymore.

But it’s time to feel good about shots again because sometimes they can taste so good. Once you get over the awkward name of this one, you’ll order more than one round.

This mixed shot is made up of equal parts Sambuca (anise-flavored liqueur) and Bailey’s Irish Cream. You’ll want to lick the shot glass clean, I’m not even kidding.

20. Dark ‘n’ Stormy


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This drink is definitely different than the stuff you’ve been drinking in your dorm room. It’s a bit more complicated and it may take you a while to get used to the flavor, but once you do there’s no going back.

A dark ‘n’ stormy is made with ginger beer (non-alcoholic, kinda like root beer), dark rum and bitters. Yep, it’s for sure heavier than your average natty-lite, but it’s worth it.

21. Mind Eraser


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Served as either a shot or in a glass, this drink will do you dirty. I’m not sure how a coffee flavored liqueur can make you blackout, but whatever. You’re turning 21 – it’s the one night you’re expected to get shwasty-faced.

1 part vodka + 1 park Kahlúa + 1 part club soda = a night you’ll never remember. #bottomsup


Graphic by Spoon University