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10 ‘college cocktails’ for the student on a budget



As Peggy from “Mad Men” once said, a real cocktail has three ingredients. But we’re in college! Who has time to make orange twists or simple syrup? Who can spend a ton of money on weird liqueurs that they’ll probably use only twice? (And what the hell are bitters, anyway?) As far as we’re concerned, most of those third ingredients are for show and can be discarded, at least when you’re on a college kid’s budget. You can afford to drink like an adult when you are an adult, right?

Welcome to the “College Cocktail”: Two ingredients and that’s all you need. It’s simple, it’s fast and it’s affordable.

We all know the basic ones: rum and coke, vodka cranberry, Jager bomb. But come on, aren’t you sick of those combos by now? Gin and tonics get old pretty fast. Don’t you want to switch it up? Try something more exciting?

These cocktails rank above a shot but below a real “adult” drink on the scale of legitimacy. So don’t mix these in a plain old red solo cup. Use a real glass and make it a little more classy. Or try ordering one at a bar. Remember to drink responsibly and enjoy yourself.

1. Malibu Rum and Simply Apple

Don’t shake your head in disgust. Trust us on this one; we swear you’ll be amazed. It may be a little too sweet for some, but it’s refreshing, fun and a great way to enjoy the last of your bottle of Malibu.

2. Irish cream and Chocolate Milk

Yum! This drink is basically a dessert that gets you buzzed. You may be thinking, “Hey, I can just drink Irish cream straight, what the hell do I need chocolate milk for?” Because it makes it 150 percent more delicious. Believe us.

3. Rum and Root beer

Root beer has that certain something that can pair well with almost any alcohol and taste great. And root beer is a great alternative to the regular rum and coke. For this cocktail, choose a darker spiced rum. We recommend using Kraken Black Spiced Rum, but good ole Captain Morgan would also do the trick.

4. Whiskey and Lemonade

Guys, this drink is for you. It’s officially called the Hemingway’s Lemonade (as in Ernest, read: macho, bearded writer dude from the 20th century), so you’re in the clear. We made this with Jameson’s and Newman’s Own Lemonade, but feel free to try your own favorite whiskey or lemonade; just don’t use any of that powdered crap. It sort of tastes like a homemade whiskey sour, so enjoy.

5. Whiskey and Ginger ale

Officially called a Horse’s Neck, this college cocktail pairs the shocking warmth of whiskey with the bubbling bite of ginger. It also looks awesome in a highball glass. You’re welcome.

6. Cherry Vodka and Limeade

Called the Slip ’n’ Slide, these babies go down easily and are perfect for a warm spring or summer afternoon. Though you might scrunch your nose at the flavor combos at first glance, upon tasting we guarantee you’ll change your mind. The tart, cool flavor of lime tickles the roof of your mouth, and the warmth of the cherry settles on your tongue. The two flavors complement each other and bring to mind easy, sunny days. But be warned: These bad boys are called Slip ‘n’ Slides for a reason. Watch your intake or else you might knock back 10 of ’em in an afternoon.

7. Gin and Grapefruit Juice

The Greyhound (like the martini) is one of those drinks that sits on the line between gin and vodka. Some people are vodka enthusiasts, others are true gin drinkers. We went with gin for this one. We think it pairs nicely with the tart freshness of the grapefruit juice. Try it and see for yourself!

8. Southern Comfort and Peach Schnapps

This might work best as a mixed shot, or a strong drink that you sip on. A bare-bones version of a Georgia Peach, the Southern Comfort and peach schnapps are sweet, tart and powerful. If you want to make it more bearable, we suppose you could add a third ingredient: orange juice. We’ll let you break the rule this once.

9. Shandy or beermosa

We all know about mimosas, that funny brunch cocktail of champagne and orange juice. We had fun with this one, swapping the champagne for beer. Any kind will do: Coors, Bud Light, Fat Tire, even a flavored one like apricot ale. Measure about one-third orange juice to two-thirds beer. Enjoyable in the morning, afternoon or evening.

10. Whipped cream vodka and orange juice

Remember those Creamsicles from your elementary school days? This drink is basically a liquid version of those, but can give you a happy buzz. Thank you, childhood. Challenge accepted!

Photos by Jeff Matarrese.

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McKenna Brown

McKenna Brown