With so many choices available for every occasion its hard to know what to drink and when. We think every drink has a perfect setting whether you’re at a BBQ with some friends or hosting a formal sit-down dinner party.
Here, a look at some of our favorite drinks, and our recommendations on when to drink them.
Do you have a particular cocktail ritual? Let us know in the comments below.
Nothing says "celebration" quite like a flute of bubbly. Whether it’s a birthday, wedding, anniversary or splashy get-together with the girls, champagne is always the most appropriate sip.
Flickr: VancityAllie/Flickr: VancityAllie
If you're going to impress your date, ditch the menu. A good bar will know a classic cocktail and have ingredients on hand. Try an Amaretto Sour, Gin Martini or Old Fashioned. One tip, though: make sure to taste them beforehand in case a sour pucker gives you away!
Flickr: Greenery/Flickr: Greenery
On the Weekend
No matter your weekend plans, there is always room for a margarita. On the rocks, frozen, or mixed with some outrageously sweet flavor like pineapple, the tequila base will put you in good spirits.
Flickr: shiokuma/Flickr: shiokuma
At a BBQ
Nothing goes better with grilled food than ice-cold beer, which adds to the laid-back atmosphere at backyard BBQ. For extra points, look for seasonal indicators like "Summer Ale" or "Oktoberfest" on the label to keep your pick on point.
Flickr: Magnus D/Flickr: Magnus D
For Work Functions
There’s booze around and it’s on the company’s dollar, so of course you want to sip, but ideally without prematurely ending your career and dishing secrets to your boss. Ladies, go for mimosas—the juice will cut the alcohol content. Men, opt for a light beer.
Flickr: susan@kingstreetmarketinggroup/Flickr: susan@kingstreetmarketinggroup
Whenever you're on vacation, it's necessary to find the most outrageously tropical drink you can get your hands on faster than you can say "cabana boy"—preferably one garnished with a small umbrella, or served on a hollowed-out coconut.
Flickr: ejorpin/Flickr: ejorpin
At a Garden Party or Picnic
Any good garden party needs punch. Always refreshing (and the little bits of fruit make it look slightly healthy), punch is also a picnic-no brainer. Pack a pitcher with vodka, juice, and mixed fruit for insta-punch. Party perfect and cheap, to boot.
Flickr: against the tide/Flickr: against the tide
Nothing compliments good eats like a fine glass of wine. If you’re in a restaurant, the waiter should be able to tailor a selection to suit your meal. If you’re home, keep in mind that red goes with comfort foods like steak and pasta, while white is for lighter fare like fish.
Flickr: insante_magazine/Flickr: insante_magazine
When it feels like your heart has been torn from your chest
Call your best friend for back up. Find the largest jug you can find and every liquor you’ve got lying around (avoid things that look like syrup, they’ll just lead to more heartache), and mix it with whatever juice or sodas you’ve got in the fridge. Add some cut up oranges, lemons or limes for a finishing touch and voila you’ve got pirate rum! No need for glasses, grab a couple of straws, dig in and you’ll be giggling and forgetting that the very foundations of you were shaken a mere few hours ago. Warning: Unless you are as seasoned as a pirate at consuming hard liquor it’s probably better to keep all arms, legs and bodies inside your home at all times.
To let the monkey out
It would be sacrilege not to crack out the tequila shots
when you feel ready to party. However, for those who just can’t stomach
that special spirit anymore (you know that night when you broke your tequilas
bone), try a pickle back. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about well it’s
time to find out!
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for GQ
For a quiet night in
Just because your staying in by yourself doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Curl up on the sofa with a great movie, some popcorn and a bottle of your favorite wine. You’ll have some serious self-bonding time and be all the happier for getting some hard to come by time to yourself finally.
Flickr: herbrm/Flickr: herbrm
With your boyfriend's mom
Always best to keep drinking to a minimum at times like these so to keep your political views and sex life stories to a minimum. Let’s face it though, one or two drinks will take the edge off and make those lingering silences not seem quite so unbearably awkward. You also want to avoid the judgements about your life choices so go for something that will fail to raise any eyebrows like a gin and tonic or a vodka soda and be mindful to sip it slowly and act like a proper little lady.
Flickr: vincentvds2 /Flickr: vincentvds2
At an Afternoon Party
Impress the guests at your next afternoon party by serving up some fresh, fruity Sangria. White or red, it all goes down easy, and it’s a party favorite even the pickiest guest won't refuse.
While discussing literature and philosophy
For any gathering that takes place in a library, parlour or salon where discussion may involve Nietzsche, Fitzgerald or Hemingway, a glass of scotch in one hand (and perhaps a cigar in the other, if you can stomach it) is an intellectual imperative.
Flickr: MrB-MMX/Flickr: MrB-MMX