As many can attest, drinking can be an expensive hobby. With different types of alcohol unexpectedly varying in price, minimum card charges, and the desire to keep up with everyone else, tabs can pile up. Is it even possible to have a fulfilling night of drinking on the town with a budget? With $20 in mind, this challenge was set out.

The journey started at a live music bar, where $20 was granted from an ATM, and rails were in high abundance. A quick search online for drinks with high alcohol content found recommendations for vodka, tequila, long islands, rum, and whisky. This became the driving factor in choosing drinks for the night.

Tequila Shots

Tequila is a relatively cheap drink that has a strong effect. Its alcohol content is around 38%, and a shot or two does the job nicely. Make sure your bartender leaves you some  salt and a lime (or lemon) for effective tequila drinking. New drinkers may not know the standard procedure for taking the iconic shot, but it's fairly easy to pick up. One of the most common ways to start is by licking at the base of your pointer finger on the back of your hand, and then sprinkle a small amount of salt on the newly wet part of your hand. Next, hold the piece of fruit you were given firmly in your hand. In a fast motion; lick the salt, take the shot, and bit the lime. A chaser may be required.

After two go rounds at $3 each, it's a far feeling from sober. But there is more drinking to be done on this journey.


Some local bars have fantastic deals on their rail drinks. These are typically house pours, and cheaper brands living behind the bar rails. This bar had a $1 special for the night that just had to be utilized. Wanting to cross off another type of alcohol from the list, and the suggestion of the bartender, a whisky and Sprite was quickly in reach. While Sprite doesn't have any alcohol content, it greatly improves the taste of whisky, which has nearly 40 percent.



If you're used to paying your tab with a card, try to fight that urge when drinking with a budget. While cards give the convenience of adding the top, and easily signing off on your bill, some bars have minimum charges of $10 or more, which can really set you back if you only budgeted for a round of shots. Opt for physically handing over cash and moving on without having to sign your name anywhere. Just make sure to tip your bartender before you go!


Making Your Way Downtown

You may be tempted to stay in one bar during your night out. Even if you're stuck with a $10 minimum charge, you can still get a taste of the other drinking establishments around you. If you're factoring travel expenses into your budget, you may get the best bang for your buck by staying in walking distance. Otherwise, get out and explore!


Mix Up Your Drink!

Just as you shouldn't get caught up at one bar, don't feel like you have to commit to only one type of alcohol on your night out. Long Islands are a sweet tasting way to keep your inhibitions down. With 22% alcohol content and five types of liquor, they are sure to make quite the impression. If venturing out for a Long Island, make sure to ask the bartender if the drinks are flavored, as the fruitiest best hide the alcohol. Don't be afraid to ask about to find the best Long Islands around, as their quality can vary greatly from place to place. At nearly $6 a pop at many places, you want to get one that's really good.


Release Your Inhibitions

While you might not feel the rain on your skin (especially if you're indoors), you're going to really start feeling the effects of this amount of alcohol. You may feel a jump in happiness, bubbliness, and the urge to shower your friends in affection. While you and your friends may be differing levels of drunk and buzzed, enjoy the happy feelings together.


More Exploring

With more dollar to spend, and more night left, there's more to this adventure. Really try to experience different types of bars and interact with different kinds of people. If you're close to a bar with dancing available, that's a great opportunity to show off your amazing moves.


Keeping Your Buzz

To keep up your alcohol levels, try getting another rail, or mix drink with a high content. A vodka lemonade is a strong choice, with lots of flavor and almost 40% alcohol content. Not only is this a drink that tastes good and will maintain your buzz, it's also notably cheaper than other choices, ringing in at only $1 at some locations, prices may vary at different places.

Bathroom Buddies

Don't underestimate the amazing connections you can make while waiting in line for the bathroom. Here you'll find many different types of girls, and they're mostly in a great mood. People are complimenting each other, giving hugs, and appreciating time shared.

Make Your Move

Don't be afraid to get you and your friends on the dance floor! Even if you make the wildest moves, people aren't bound to notice while they're sloshed. This is one of the best times to move without hesitation, and truly lose yourself in your movements. Let the alcohol do the dancing!


Winding Down

With a few dollars left in your pocket, you can swing one more drink at the last bar. A local favorite, the watermelon drink, a fun combination of vodka, watermelon pucker, and sprite, will hold your buzz to the end of the night.


Fanciful Friendship

Alcohol might not be the only thing you're getting drunk on during your journey. Depending on how much you've had to drink, and how close you are to your friends, you could be ending the night entangled in someone else's arms. It may feel unusual while sober, but it makes all the sense in the world when you're several drinks in. While you're in this state, make sure that everyone is comfortable being as close as you are, and make sure that nobody is taking advantage of each other.

Feeding Your Fix

Depending on how much money you've saved throughout the night, or what's not being budgeted, you could take advantage of late-night eating. A local specialty is sweet potato fries from Stacked. Try not to go too far out of your way to find something, there should be several options within a few yards of wherever you're drinking.

The Journey Home

If you can spring for additional travel expenses, a safe bet is to get home through your local drunk bus. You'll be able to share in the comradery of the night with other festive patrons, and arrive back home in style. On my most recent excursion on the local drunk bus, I ran into an old friend that I only see when we've been drinking, which often makes us wonder whether we actually see each other, or whether we're experiencing alcohol induced hallucinations.


On Foot

If you don't want to take a ride home, you can always get there on foot. Take extra care to arrive safely by walking in groups, staying on lit paths, and keeping in contact to make sure everyone gets home safely.


Once Home

After you get settled, you may feel the urge to stand in your bathroom for an hour and text everyone you know. While this is a normal response for someone in your inebriated state, it is completely optional. To avoid sending out messages to exes, former friends, and old group partners, keep your phone at a reasonable distance for the night.

Scientific Findings

After thorough investigation, it can be determined to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, that one can achieve an optimal night of drinking on a budget of $20. 10/10 would recommend.