Back to College Cocktails for 2014

The Life

Photo courtesy of Alpha du centaure/Wiki Commons

It’s that time of year again.  The easygoing way of life that accompanies summertime sunshine is slowly fading away, and students are surely beginning to get that “back to reality” feeling that goes along with a new semester.

However, just because our nation’s undergrads are returning from their summer sojourns by no means signifies that the fun in 2014 is over.  On the contrary, with college football “kicking off” this week and with the Breeders’ Cup still on the horizon, the best is truly still yet to come.

With so much excitement in 2014 still ahead of us, it is only fair to assume that some of the best parties and social gatherings of 2014 are still ahead of us as well.  For that reason, below you will find ten of the best “Back to College” cocktails that will be perfect for all of your tailgates, mixers, and parties coming up this year.  With only two or three ingredients per cocktail, you will find that these drinks are perfect for the college student as they are affordable and very easy to make.  Enjoy!

10)  Gin + Ocean Spray Citrus Tangerine Orange

Thanks to Snoop Dogg’s classic track, college students of 2014 have been exposed to “gin and juice” for quite some time now.  My personal favorite gin and juice mixture is gin plus Ocean Spray citrus tangerine orange juice, which provides the perfect flavor for a cocktail after a long day in class or the library.  Play around with different juices and find your own perfect gin and juice combination!

9)  “Strawberry Popper Rocker”

“Pop rocks,” which are best known as a children’s candy, are being used increasingly in cocktails in 2014.  Many mixologists are choosing to use pop rocks as an interesting alternative to salt or sugar as a substance with which to coat the rims of glassware.  However, the Strawberry Popper Rocker is even simpler to make: pour one shot of strawberry schnapps and fill the rest of the glass with 7-Up.  Sprinkle strawberry pop rocks on top of the drink and have a pop-rocking good time!

8)  Bourbon + Blood Orange Juice

Photo by WikiCommons/John Taylor

It’s pretty tough to go wrong with bourbon.  Bourbon and blood orange juice is perfect for any co-ed functions taking place this year. The guys will continue to enjoy the “manliness” that is found in a bourbon cocktail, while the ladies will be drawn by the interesting blood orange mixer, which is appealing to the eye as well as the taste buds.  Mix over ice and let the good times roll!

7)  Vodka + Diet Cherry 7-Up


Photo by WikiCommons/Lvova Anastasiya

Let’s be honest:  it seems like everyone in college is in shape, or is trying to get in shape.  However, those late night pizzas and burritos will take their toll!  If you are trying to shed some pounds before Homecoming, I recommend a vodka and Diet Cherry 7-Up mix, which has a great flavor and is also light in calories.  Diet Cherry 7-Up also contains anti-oxidants.

6)  Craft Beers

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When I was in college only a short five years ago, our beers were never the “craftiest” and we honestly got by on a steady diet of Busch Light.   Since then, the craft beer-craze has only gained popularity, and with craft beer festivals seemingly taking place every weekend, one has plenty of opportunities to pick out a few favorites.  I recommend looking to see if your college town has a local brewery (these days, it probably does) and if so, head over there for a tour.  They will steer you in the right direction.

5)  Rumple Minze

Long before ordering a round of fireball shots was the “cool thing to do,” there was Rumple Minze.  One of the novelties of the ever-popular Fireball is that its cinnamon flavor is appealing to both guys and gals, and it leaves your breath feeling fresh and clean afterwards.  If Fireball is your thing (and it seems like Fireball is everybody’s “thing” these days), I recommend you try a shot of Rumple Minze, which is a peppermint-flavored liqueur that will also leave your breath Colgate-fresh.  Oh, and at 100 proof, Rumple Minze dwarfs over Fireball, which checks in at a wimpy 66 proof. 

4)  Spiced Rum + Root Beer

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Spiced rum and root beer is probably not going to be the first thing you order when heading out for Happy Hour on a Friday afternoon, but it is a concoction that I have learned to love after being introduced to it by a fraternity brother while studying at the University of North Carolina.  If you are a rum and coke drinker and have the urge to change up the pace, I highly recommend picking up a bottle of A&W Root Beer and giving this a go.  If you like it, give spiced rum and cream soda a try as well.

3) Miller Fortune

With all of the tailgates, parties, and beer pong games coming up this fall, you need to have a “go-to” affordable beer.  In 2012, Budweiser unveiled its awful-tasting Bud Light Platinum, which gained popularity due to it being six-percent alcohol-by-volume (as opposed to the 4.2 percent found in Bud Light).  Miller Fortune is Miller Brewing Company’s response to Bud Light Platinum. However, Miller Fortune has a phenomenal flavor and is actually 6.9 percent alcohol-by-volume.  Grab a six pack and you’re ready for game day!

2) Mango Mimosas

Nothing screams “college” like finding an excuse to throw a party or get-together featuring numerous bottles of $5.99 champagne from the drug store.  After a few glasses of that Walgreens bargain-basement-bubbly, you may be looking to change up the flavor.  While the traditional orange juice mimosa will always be the standard-bearer, I recommend that you show off your uniqueness and make a mango mimosa, which tastes great and could be the perfect drink to start off a morning tailgate.

1) Tequila + Pineapple Juice

Photo by WikiCommons/Thelmadatter

Tequila seems to be one of those drinks that you either love or hate.  Before you rush into shots of Patrón or pitchers of margaritas, I implore you to try a silver tequila mixed with pineapple juice.  It is a variation of the popular Tequila Sunrise (which uses orange juice and grenadine instead of pineapple juice) and the combination makes for the perfect drink, whether it is day or night.  I promise you’ll love it!

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