Say "goodbye" to frat parties and "hello" to happy hour, my fellow 21+ besties. Long gone are the days of jungle juice that was made in some old, plastic tub in a random fraternity basement, the legal drinking life is all about delicious cocktails. After all, we're (kind of) adults now, it's time to start drinking like it. Especially when it comes to that post-work happy hour with coworkers.
Ordering a Redbull and Tito's on Thirsty Thursday is one thing, but ordering your college bar classic at a happy hour is quite another. The pressure to order a cocktail that's equal parts workplace appropriate and delicious can add an unnecessary bout of anxiety to your laid-back activities after work: What if I hate the taste of alcohol? What do I even order? WTF is a "well cocktail?!"
Strangely, finding your post-college "drink of choice" requires a bit of trial and error. Luckily, Her Campus is here to give you a jumping-off point with 5 classic cocktails to order at happy hour, especially if you have zero clue what to get.
Vodka mules are a happy hour classic. They're easy to make, easy to order, and can be found anywhere alcohol is served. Poured into an adorable copper cup (this is customary at most bars and restaurants), vodka mules are made with refreshing ginger beer, lime juice, and—of course—vodka. Vodka mules are accessible, light, and absolutely delicious. Additionally, many bars offer fun twists on a vodka mule, so don't be afraid to try different flavors of this classic beverage!
TIP: When a server asks what kind of vodka, tequila, or any other spirit you'd like in your beverage, simply say "the well is fine." Well cocktails are made with the least expensive liquor on deck and are frequently marked down for happy hours. Getting a buzz without breaking the bank? You're welcome, bestie.
If your workplace frequents breweries for happy hour, hard cider is a great drink of choice—especially if you don't want to drink hard liquor. With beer menus being overwhelmingly long, ordering a simple hard cider is a great way to look like you know what you're doing (kind of). The best part? Most hard ciders are low in alcohol content—so it essentially tastes like you're sipping on sparkling apple juice. I'm sold.
TIP: Many brewery menus have flavor descriptions of their beers and ciders. If you're looking for something crisp, but not sweet, try ordering a drier cider. The best part about breweries is that workers are typically willing to give out suggestions based on your preferences, so don't be intimidated to ask for a recommendation!
Gin and tonic
G&T's are simple, refreshing, and perfect for people who want to avoid any drink-spill stains. Made with a gin of your choice (remember: "the well is fine!"), soda water, and garnished with a lime or sprig of rosemary, gin and tonics taste clean and bright, but have the slightest bite of liquor. They may not be for everyone, but those of us who love simple and refreshing tastes, a G&T might be your go-to.
TIP: Really, any spirit works great with tonic. If gin isn't your cup of tea, try asking for a vodka tonic. Additionally, you can switch out the tonic for a soda like Sprite or 7Up! Vodka-soda and gin & Sprites are delicious variations on this classic—it all depends on your taste!
Dubbed the "drink of the summer," the Aperol spritz has made a name for itself as a delicious and refreshing happy hour classic. Aperol is an Italian apéritif, which is a low-alcohol content liquor with notes of citrus. Paired with a crisp prosecco (sparkling wine) and club soda, this cocktail is perfect for those with a craving for something refreshing—especially during the summer months. Coastal grandmother vibes, dare I say?
TIP: Try to avoid cocktails with crazy names like "Sex On The Beach" and "Fuzzy Navel." These drinks—while sweet and yummy—are made with a ton of sugary mixers that will have you ending the happy hour with a massive headache. Trust me.
LIQUOR of choice + Juice of choice
Finally, the "liquor+juice" formula works great for any occasion: nights out, dinner, and even happy hour. They're simple to order, delicious, and easy to drink. Some classic combos include vodka-cranberry, tequila-pineapple, vodka-orange juice (affectionally known as a "screwdriver") are all great jumping-off points. What's wrong with a bit of grown-up juice?
If you're heading to a happy hour this weekend (or weekday, no judgment), consider trying out any one of these delicious cocktails...responsibly, of course! Remember to have a safe ride home, never drive under the influence, and don't feel pressured to drink—even if all of your coworkers are. Sometimes, a Sprite with a lime wedge is the best happy hour order out there.
Have fun, drink responsibly, and avoid Long Island Iced Teas at all costs. I mean it!