11 Drinks You Should Know Before Turning 21 So You Can Hit Up The Bar Like A Pro

So you are turning 21 years old — congrats! But before you can celebrate being of legal drinking age, it's time to figure out just how you want to celebrate... you wouldn't want to ring in this milestone birthday with something as boring as a vodka cranberry, right? Let Spoon University's list of drinks you should know before turning 21 be your guide during this confusing time. Sure, you know what a margarita is, and yeah, you've probably even sipped on a brunchtime screwdriver (or two), but do you know how to order a proper whiskey sour? Do you know what goes into making a classic Tom Collins? Before you drink up, read up. Here's everything you need to know before you hit the bar.

If we're being honest, we know your first sip of alcohol probably isn't on your 21st birthday (sorry 'murica, but this law is outdated and lame). If it is, props kid — you finally made it.

Without a doubt you're going to the bar the second the clock strikes midnight, so the real question is, "What's your first drink going to be?"

Check out this list so you know exactly what to order the minute you're finally legal. Cheers.

1. Sex on the Beach

Photo courtesy of divinecaroline.com

So by the time you get to the bar, you've probably ripped a few shots and had a shitty mixed drink or two. It's time to change the game and order a really flirty, pretty, and (sorry, guys) girly drink the minute you get the bartender's attention.

Why? Because sex on the beach is delicious — it has vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and orange juice. You seriously won't even taste the alcohol. But trust me, it's there.

2. Whiskey Sour

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If you wanna be classy but simple, whiskey sours are the way to go. Although they may not always be as glamorous as this sweet pic (sometimes they're considered to be well drinks), it's a great way to ease you into whiskey, if you don't love it already.

Your basic whiskey sour will have bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar. Sometimes the lemon juice is substituted with what's called "sour mix" — lemon and lime juice mixed with simple syrup. Depending on the bar, this drink can get dangerously sour, but if you loved warheads as a kid, you'll love this drink.

3. Woo Woo

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Time to channel your inner woo girl.

With two parts vodka, one part peach schnapps, and lots of cranberry juice, this drink will have you cheersing to everything in no time.

And guys, if Ted can be a woo girl, so can you.

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4. Screwdriver

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Alright, so I'm going to be honest with you. You've already had this drink. You know it like the back of your hand... it's orange juice and vodka. That's it.

But you need to know its official name, because now you're old so you should probably know your shit. It's OK to stick to your freshman year ways by drinking lots of vodka with an affordable mixer, but at least know how to order it at a bar. Don't worry, I got you.

5. Long Island Iced Tea

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This drink goes against everything anyone has taught you about mixing alcohol. But hey, who cares, right?

An LIT has four different kinds of alcohol: gin, vodka, white rum, white tequila, as well as triple sec, Coke, and some lemon wedges. Drink more than one, and you'll probably blackout, but you do you.

6. Seven and Seven

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This is another classic mixed drink disguised as a fancy bar drink because someone slapped a cool name on it. But really it's just 7-Up and Seagram's Seven Crown Whiskey — perfect if you'd rather not have a Jack and coke.

7. Mai Tai

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So what if your birthday's not during spring break and it's actually, like, negative seven degrees outside. We can always pretend we're on the beach, right?

Mai Tais are citrus-y and fun, containing white rum, orange curaçao (an orange-flavored liqueur), orgeat syrup (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose/orange water), dark rum, and fresh lime juice.

Wait, did you feel that summer breeze too?

8. Jägerbomb

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Did somebody say shots???

Originally, a Jägerbomb was a bomb shot that was mixed by dropping a shot of Jägermeister into a glass of beer. But we love our energy drinks, so now it's more likely to be served with half a can of Red Bull. #rage

9. Cosmopolitan

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Oh, you fancy, huh? Yeah, that's right. You're 21, and it's time to be classy af.

Order your basic cosmo, which has vodka citron, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and fresh lime juice. Act like you belong on Sex and the City, you deserve it.

10. Tom Collins

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I'm sorry, but it's time to move on from the gin bucket. Let me introduce you to my good friend, Tom.

Tommy here will hit you up with a good dose of gin, club soda, sugar, lemon juice, and maybe a cherry and an orange slice if he's feeling generous. Go ahead, it's OK to like this more than your janky bucket mix.

11. Margarita

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Yasssss, margs. Everyone loves them because they come in all different flavors and combinations, it's easily the best drink everrrr.

But before you go all out and try that pomegranate marg from Chili's (uh, yah it's delish), get to know the basics. Simply made with tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau, you'll instantly fall in love with being legal.


Still thirsty? Drink up:

This article was originally written by Alex Hawkins for Spoon University.

Top image: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr