As winter creeps ominously toward campus, there are two things on everyone’s mind:

1.  Ski Trip

2. Booze

Spoon wants to make sure you can enjoy both of these things in the coming months without adverse results (i.e. being dehydrated on the slopes of Copper Mountain, swerving into a tree, etc.)

So below is a list designed to help you navigate drinks based on the hangovers they are likely to induce — by ski slope ratings, of course.

1. Mulled Wine

Level: Bunny Hill 


Photo by Daniel Schuleman

If you are looking to imbibe a libation of the alcoholic variety but would rather skip the hangover, mulled wine is for you. Assuming you don’t drink the entire crockpot of it by yourself, you should be happy and hangover-free after an evening spent sipping this warm winter classic, preferably in your best smoking jacket while stroking a cat.

2. Hot Hard Cider 

Level: Green Circle


Photo by Bari Blanga

Next on the hangover trail guide is hot hard cider. This drink earns its slightly higher ranking because it’s a bit sweeter than mulled wine. Still, you’re unlikely to get a bad hangover from hot cider because the temperature forces you to pace yourself, and the drink itself is pretty filling.

3. Mike’s Hard Lemonade 

Level: Blue Square

Photo by Boye Not Bowyer/Flickr Creative Commons

You may have noticed the slight shift from the cozier, more seasonal drinks. Believe it or not, a lot of the parties you attend may not come readily equipped with a Martha Stewart-esque holiday setup. Instead, there’s a chance you’ll be handed the sugar-splosion that is Mike’s Hard. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Mike’s (especially the cranberry). Unfortunately, the heavy sugar mask (used to hide any trace of alcohol flavor) heightens the hangover. If you plan to hit the slopes the next morning, just go easy and stay hydrated.

4. Jello Shots

Level: Black Diamond


Photo by Amanda Schulman

These little guys are easy to shoot, and taste good enough to keep you coming back. Unless you’re cool with spending your ski trip tied to the lodge bathroom, I’d just avoid these the night before hitting the slopes. (Or stick to just one or two if you really can’t resist…you’ll be grateful in the morning.)

5. Moonshine

Level: Double Black Diamond


Photo by Daniel Schuleman

We can’t guarantee that you’ll come across moonshine in your Copper Mountain exploits, but then again we can’t guarantee you won’t. (What happens on ski trip stays on ski trip.) If you drink bad moonshine, you could go blind…So really it could just make your ski trip more exciting/challenging. If it’s homemade, be wary (and if it isn’t homemade, it really has no right to call itself moonshine. If it wasn’t made in a bathtub in the deep South, I’m not interested.)

6. Hot Cocoa

Level: Terrain Park


A Terrain Park is a chance to show off what you’ve got, so this hangover really depends on your personal style and technique. Hot chocolate is a delicious blank-slate just waiting to be classed-up with some Baileys, Rumchata or Coffee Liquor. Odds are, you won’t add enough to get hungover, and the drink is so filling that it’s hard to overdo it, especially with all that whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, etc. The possible variations on this classic are…a big number. (Sorry, math was never my strong suit.)

So whether you’re hitting up ski trip for some hardcore alpine sport or for perhaps other reasons, use this guard to avoid a brutal next day on the slopes. Also, remember to do winter break right and grab your tickets for  Northwestern Ski Trip 2014.