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10 Tips to Safely Get Sloshed During a Polar Vortex

Recently, bitter temperatures across the Midwest plunged to record lows, emerging into the weather phenomenon now infamously known as the Polar Vortex. Panic ensued, Chicago had to light tracks on fire to keep trains going, the post office temporarily shut down service, and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency, effectively closing bureaucratic offices throughout the state, and putting the Wisconsin National Guard on standby. Amidst this chaos, Wisconsin residents were tasked with a responsibility not known before: adapting to the cold to drink alcohol.

Many of the legal alcohol drinking residents had to cope with bars closing for the first time in their lives. With many students across the state experiencing canceled classes, and an inability to take in other activities, they braved the cold for the sanctity of those precious open establishments. With climate forecasts predicting more occurrences of the Polar Vortex in our future, it’s time that we learn how to adapt.

Do Your Homework (even if classes are canceled)

The first thing that expecting drinkers should do before venturing out into the snowy tundra is find out if the desired local establishment is open. This information can be easily found by either finding the bar’s contact information online and making a phone call or checking their Facebook page. In cases of extreme cold, you’ll find more luck looking for establishments bragging about their openness, instead of rolling the dice with silence.

Use the Buddy System

After finding a bar nearby that is indeed open, get together a group of people that are crazy enough to go on this journey with you. No matter the situation, the buddy system always seems to better the chance of success and safety.

Be Prepared

Make sure you have all the necessary items for a successful night out, including a charged cellphone (maybe a charger if it’s an iPhone!), your preferred method of payment, and a form of official identification. Even if you make it through a blizzard to get to your preferred bar of choice, you will be turned away if you do not have the proper ID. If you’re out of state, or have an Illinois driver’s license, it may be best to carry an additional form of identification to be safe.

Decide How You’re Getting There

With slick and icy roads on your journey, it may be more dangerous to drive. You can fall on your butt after slipping on ice when you’re walking, but slipping on ice when you’re driving could cause an accident. Try to limit driving to when it’s absolutely necessary.

Bundle Yourself Up

Before venturing outside, make sure to bundle yourself up in as many layers as possible. Items such as long underwear, leggings, and flannel go a long way in below zero temperatures. Also, don’t be afraid to layer on an extra sweatshirt, scarf, or thick pair of mittens. Don’t be the person walking through campus in basketball shorts, they are not going to make it all the way across town like that. You should ideally have as many layers on your body as a middle-aged suburban mom has in her hair.

Walk With Care

Another part of dressing appropriately for the cold is taking care of your feet. You won’t be able to make this journey with flip flops or tennis shoes. You need to use strongly insulated shoes or boots to keep your piggies warm on this trip! You should also make sure to spray down your nice suede boots that you just got for Christmas, those were expensive and using a waterproof spray is a quick and easy way of maintaining their quality. While walking, try to stay on the sidewalk area of the road, and walk like a penguin to stay balanced and secure.

Once You’re There

The atmosphere of a bar during a cold freeze is a little different than usual. If you can shuffle your way through the doorway and let in as little air as possible, everyone will be thankful. You’re not as likely to be carded at the door, so try to set your stuff down and get situated before going up to the bartender.

Ordering with a Purpose

Alcohol in the cold usually comes down to one principle, drinking to stay warm. To do this effectively, you’ll want to stick to choices such as the hot toddy, rum, mulled wine, hot ciders, bourbon tea, as well as your spiked hot chocolate and coffee. You’ll want to stay away from a lot of beers and lagers, sangria, gin, and rosé. If you’re not sure what to get, ask the bartender for their recommendations, or if they have any cold weather specials.

Things to Keep in Mind

The right alcohol will help to keep you feeling warm, but your body will be cold when you go back outside. Make sure to come to an agreement with your group about how much you’re going to drink, what time you’ll leave, and how you’re all getting home.

Getting Home

Depending on the weather, how late it is, and how much you’ve had to drink, it may be the best route to get a ride home. Whether it be a taxi, ride sharing app, or another friend coming to get you, be sure to be safe as possible getting back. If you opt to make the trek on foot, be sure to stay with your group at all times, walk slowly, stay on lit paths, and take breaks at open places as necessary.

Once you get home, make sure to let everyone know that you’ve made it safely. Drink plenty of water, eat some late-night carbs, and squeeze in as much sleep as possible before the harsh light of day comes out.

The next time the temperatures take a drastic dip, you’ll be able to handle it like a pro!

DISCLAIMER: Her Campus does not promote unsafe drinking practices, or underage drinking. Please drink responsibly!

Stephanie Zengler is a Business Administration major and Communication Studies minor, and she completely understands if you think her last name is actually Ziegler. Like a lot of business majors, Stephanie has a favorite Andrew Carnegie quote, and like a good communication minor, has very strong opinions on the Oxford comma. Aside from being a Stout student, Stephanie is an avid fan of Bay Area sports, Fleetwood Mac, and the amazingly perfect show Dollface.
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