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Upgraded College Drinks to Cheer On Your Team for March Madness

grown-up Jungle Juice recipe

Now that March Madness is in full swing, rooting for our favorite teams has us all reminiscent of our college days. We ate whatever we could afford, we wore pajamas to class, we slept in the library, and we drank the grossest, most vile alcohol out there because that’s what we could get our hands on. From cheap beer to “cocktails” made from who knows what, we really were drinking the weirdest combinations of whatever alcohol we could find. Nowadays, I like to think we’ve grown a little. We’re more sophisticated and classy, and we deserve fancy cocktails and pretentious hipster beers. If you’re looking for a way to class up your drinks so you’re not throwing back tequila shots while your friends are drinking fancy frozen margaritas, here are some more sophisticated versions of drinks we somehow forced down in college (mostly inspired by my own experience).

1. Choose a Better Beer

Guinness Cream Soda recipe

Chowhound

One of the staples of the average college career is drinking watered-down beer that costs less than 50 cents. It’s always disgusting, warm for some reason, and maybe 80 percent foam. But we drank it happily and to excess. The downside to drinking cheap old college beer is that when you graduate, you have literally no idea how to order beer when you’re out at a restaurant. Everyone has different tastes, so when you’re at a restaurant or bar you should trust the staff to help you out! Tell them what you drank in college, and your waiter or bartender should know how to match a beer to your tastes. For example, I always let the bartender know I like drinks with a fruity flavor, so I’ve tried a lot of fancy blueberry or cherry beers that I’ve loved. If you’re feeling a little shy, you can experiment at home with one of Chowhound’s beer cocktails, like this sweet Guinness Cream Soda recipe.

2. The Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian cocktail recipe

Drizly

This one is a bit more personal for me, but I think it could speak to a lot of people’s college days. Not once, but twice, in college I walked into a bar and the bartender handed me a blue cocktail and I took it, drank it, and loved it both times. Looking back, how dumb is that, right? But when you’re in college, you take anything you don’t have to pay for. So I thought I would include a safer blue cocktail with an actual ingredient list, just for any of you college grads who didn’t ask questions when it came to their liquor. This Blue Hawaiian cocktail (via Drizly.com) is tropical, easy to make, and definitely does not skimp on the liquor. Get the Blue Hawaiian recipe.

3. Jungle Juice

grown-up Jungle Juice recipe

Chowhound

Believe it or not, you can still enjoy jungle juice even when you’re out of college. Back in the day, jungle juice meant pouring every kind of alcohol you had into one container and adding in some kind of mixer. I remember one specific party where the jungle juice they made was vodka, grain alcohol, half a Hawaiian punch, and one Granny Smith apple sliced up. They threw it all into a plastic storage bin, because it was college. If you were really a jungle juice person in college, Chowhound’s recipe is an appealing color, and it’s way less likely to kill you. Get our Jungle Juice recipe.

4. The Copper

Jameson cocktail recipe

Chowhound

There are several shots that are very popular among the college crowd. The pickleback is definitely one of them. If you don’t know what a pickleback shot is, it’s a shot of Jameson that you chase with a shot of pickle juice, and I’m still obsessed with them, so don’t hate. But I will admit it’s not very classy if you’re out for drinks with coworkers to order one, so you could always try The Copper cocktail (via liquor.com). The lemon and apple juices in this cocktail give the Jameson the same sour kick that pickle juice was, plus it’s much classier to slow sip a drink. Get the The Copper recipe.

5. Apple Cinnamon Gin Fizz

cinnamon apple gin fizz recipe

Love in My Oven

Like I said, college students are obsessed with weird shots. For some reason, the only shots I could stomach in college (besides the pickleback, obviously) were Fireball shots. Now? Forget it. If I even smell Fireball I feel like I’ve just inhaled paint thinner. Luckily, this Apple Cinnamon Gin Fizz (via loveinmyoven.com) has all the Fireball flavors, and none of the Fireball. Plus, it looks really fancy, which is exactly what we’re going for here. Get the Apple Cinnamon Gin Fizz recipe.

6. Lime Wedge Jell-O Shots

lime wedge Jello shot recipe

Brit+Co

I remember trying to make Jell-O shots on multiple occasions with my roommates. We always made a mess of everything, but we had fun and Jell-O shots always went like hotcakes at parties. You can still enjoy a Jell-O shot or six like you did in your college days, but you can class them up a bit. These Jell-O shots (via brit.co) are made inside lime wedges as opposed to ice cube trays or rinsed-out leftover soy sauce cups. Also, I’m sure the hint of lime is a better flavor to complement your Jell-O shot than a random flavored vodka you just pulled out of your freezer. Get the Lime Wedge Jell-O Shots recipe.

7. French Mimosa

Chambord mimosa recipe

Farm Wife Drinks

It’s no secret that college kids love brunch. Why? Because college kids love drinking during the day. While mimosas, the ultimate brunch staple, are already pretty classy as they are, I tend to live my life by the rule that Chambord makes everything classier. I stumbled upon these French mimosas (via farmwifedrinks.com), and I officially want to host brunch every Sunday. They’re beautiful, bubbly, and the Chambord gives it a little extra punch. Get the French Mimosa recipe.

8. Red Wine Berry Spritzer

La Croix wine spritzer recipe

Aggie’s Kitchen

I think this is the most perfect classy version of a couple popular college drinks. College students love wine, and college students love La Croix. Why not mix them? This red wine berry spritzer (via aggieskitchen.com) calls for mixed berry La Croix, but I think coconut La Croix mixed into some Pinot Grigio couldn’t hurt. Get the Red Wine Berry Spritzer recipe.

9. Classic Tequila Sunrise

tequila sunrise recipe

Chowhound

I know a lot of people who can’t actually drink tequila anymore because of their college days, but for those of you who can, there’s no need to only drink it in shot form. Chowhound has a simple and delicious recipe for a classic tequila sunrise that won’t make you want to throw up immediately upon smelling it. Get our Classic Tequila Sunrise recipe.

10. Brazilian Iced Coffee Cocktail

iced coffee cocktail recipe

Restless Chipotle

While this is by far the most complex cocktail to make, it’s very fitting seeing as how the only two things college students drink are iced coffee and alcohol. Perfect for summer, this spiked iced coffee (via restlesschipotle.com) is smooth, refreshing, and delicious–and I’ll look the other way if you want to add a little more rum than necessary. Get the Brazilian Iced Coffee Cocktail recipe.

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