A bartender's drinking advice for his younger self | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A bartender's drinking advice for his younger self

"151 proof rum is not the spirit to build an evening of drinking around."

click to enlarge ANNA BONGARDINO
Anna Bongardino

Do you ever wish you could give some advice to your younger self? The college-aged version of me definitely needed some tips on drinking, so when time travel becomes a reality, here’s a few bits of wisdom I’ll pass along:

- If the choice is between going to a bar or a party, always choose the party.

- Learn a little about wine. Just enough to find a few styles and brands you like. It'll come in handy more often than you think.

- Learn to make a handful of standard cocktails. Nothing fancy. Things like Margaritas, Daiquiris, and Manhattans are easy to make and appeal to almost everyone.

- Just because a bar is crowded doesn't mean anything good is going on in there.

- If you’re at a party, don't spend too much time wondering why your hosts chose that particular keg. They got it because it was the cheapest one. 

- 151 proof rum is not the spirit to build an evening of drinking around.

- Attempting to drink all the beer available is unnecessary. An amount less than that is perfectly acceptable, despite what your friends tell you.

- Sure, it's fun to say you closed down a bar. But as a rule, get out before last call.

- There will be much better whiskey in about 20 years. 

- Always keep a bottle of vodka in your room. Since it doesn't taste like anything, you can dump it into whatever mixer you have lying around. (When you're older, you'll refer to this as "versatility.")

- Likewise, keep some kind of sports drink handy for the morning after – or for the night before, if you need something to dump your vodka into. 

- Doing a few shots during the course of the evening is fine. However, don’t make it your primary mode of consumption.

- If a bottle of wine costs $4, there's a reason.

- You will meet a remarkable number of people who claim to have supernatural beer pong abilities. It’s best to simply agree with them and move on.

- Visit neighborhood dives more often. Get to know the grouchy old guys. You may learn something.

- I know technicolor phalanx of schnapps bottles looks enticing, but keep walking. The liquor store rewards discretion.

- Having a few really good friends to drink with beats a roomful of strangers every time.

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