How to Taste Wine Correctly, Basically

Wine braLet’s be honest- not many of us are going to be special enough that we are ever going to be in a situation where we need to know how to properly taste wine. Most of you are probably only going to need to know how to pair wine with dinner, or how much you can drink before you get drunk and lose your shit.

However, if you (like me) enjoy thinking you are better than everyone else, then you need to act the part. For basic bitches like us, we don’t know how to live within our means. We always max out our credit cards so that no one would ever guess we don’t have money to burn- now, all that’s left to do is act like we are as rich as we think we are. Tasting wine is an art, and it’s something that rich people have been doing since they stopped shitting in their diaper (at least I think they did).

Wine smile

Getting good at tasting wine takes time, but practice makes perfect! So, bust out a few bottles of wine with your friends, put together a charcuterie board and begin practicing so that you can impress people with fat wallets who will one day- hopefully- be paying off your mountain of credit card debt.

See: The first thing you need to do is look at the wine and observe what is going on. What color is it? Is it cloudy or clear? Does anything appear to be suspended in the wine?

Swirl: Begin to swirl your wine- gently- up onto the sides of your glass. This increases the surface area of the wine and allows it to breathe; more air means a stronger aroma.

Smell: Next, smell your wine. Is there a fruity aroma? Does it smell spicy like cinnamon or vanilla? Is it oaky and earthy? What makes this scent unique?

Sip: Take a sip of your wine, and move it around in your mouth. Different areas of the tongue taste different things, so when you move wine around in your mouth you will gain a better understanding of the flavor. Is the wine sweet or dry? What flavors do you taste? You will probably taste things that are similar to what you smelled.

Judgy wineSavor: Swallow your wine and see if the flavor changes. How long are these flavors left on your tongue? This step is also referred to as the finish and length of the wine.

Snob: Lastly, act like a little bit of a snob. Don’t be afraid to comment on your experience and ask others what they thought. After all, those who have nothing to say aren’t anything special. If you have nothing to say, nod and agree with what everyone else says.

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My Top 3 Drinking Games

Tay Laut Pong.gifStrip or Dare Beer Pong: In Strip or Dare Beer Pong, you play just like regular beer pong except that once you down your drink you must choose to either strip or dare. If you choose strip you must remove an article of clothing… duh! If you choose dare you can then read the dare at the bottom of your cup. You must either complete it or take the penalty drinks. You can create your own strip or dare beer pong game easily, you just need:

  1. Labels
  2. Markers
  3. Cups
  4. Pong balls
  5. and… Alcohol!

 

Cheers

Drink Bitch!: Deal a single card to each player and place the rest of the pile in the center of your group. Each player takes turns to flip through the deck and;

  1. If one of the cards is the same as his/her card, the player must take ten drinks. (eg. your king and a king in the deck.)
  2. If the card is ranked next to your card you take 5 drinks. (eg. you have a king and you draw either queen or ace from the deck.)
  3. When the deck is done, start over.
  4. The last person drinking wins- and everyone else are bitches…

 

King’s Cup: This game is always a classic. Have a big cup or chalice (I usually use a big flower vase) and set it in the center of the table. Fan out a deck of cards- face down- around the empty cup and gather everyone around. Each player goes around the circle and draws a card. Every card has a rule attached to it; here are the traditional rules, but feel free to invent your own:

  1. Aces: an ace means it’s time to “waterfall”. This starts with everyone chugging. Then the person who picked the card can stop whenever he/she wants. This allows the next person to stop when he/she wants and so on and so on. Aces are great because they do a great job at getting everyone plastered, while also providing opportunities to make fun of people who suck at chugging.
  2. Twos: Two has and always will be the classic “you”. This means that whoever picks the 2 card gets to choose anybody they want in the game to drink.
  3. Threes: Three is another staple in Kings Cup, “me”. Pick a 3 and you have to drink.
  4. Boo You WhoreFours: The four card incorporates the ladies by telling them they are “whores” and have to drink.
  5. Fives: Bust a jive. One of the best. The person who picks the card has to do a dance move (my go-to is always the bend and snap). Then the next person has to do that dance move and add to it. This continues until someone screws up and has to drink. Any time you can get drunken uncoordinated people dancing you have to do it.
  6. Sixes: Six is “dicks” All the guys prove that yes they are packing by drinking.
  7. Sevens: Seven equals “heaven”. All players reach for the sky. The last person has to drink. Great card when people aren’t paying attention or someone is too drunk to realize a seven was picked.
  8. Eights: Eight is “mate”. The player who picks the card chooses another player to be their mate. This means when one of them drinks they both drink. Perfect for letting the getting even with someone, or letting someone know you think they’re hot and should make bad-drunk decisions with you.
  9. Nines: Nine can either be one of the best or worst cards depending on how creative the group is. It is called “bust a rhyme”. The simple version has the player who picked the card say a word and everybody has to say a word that rhymes with it. Say for example the word is bite. Other players would say fight, kite, tight, right, ect. This goes on until somebody cannot think of a word that rhymes.
  10. Tens: Ten is “categories”. The player who picked the card chooses a category. Then everyone goes around and says something that fits in the category. Good categories to use include types of liquor, sex positions, and types of cereal (there are tons of different cereals). Whoever cannot think of anything in the category has to drink.
  11. Slut OffJacks: This card is the reason to play the game. Jack represents the game “never have I ever.” Everybody puts up 3 to 5 fingers. To start the person who picked the card says something they have never done. Then if you have done it you put your finger down. The game continues around the circle as players continue with more “never have I ever.” The sluts of the group are always the first to loose. Sometimes “never have I ever” gets old because you have done almost everything and can’t think of anything that you have never done. This is when you step up to the next level of the game “I have”. The game is the inverse of “never have I ever”. The player says something they have done. Then if you haven’t done it, you have to put your finger down. This is great if you are proud of your slutty accomplishments.
  12. Queen Flipping OffQueens: Drawing a Queen makes you the “question master”. From that moment on, if anyone answers a question you ask they need to drink. You only stop being the Question Master when someone else draws a queen and takes over your role.
  13. Kings: Finally the King. The player who picks a King gets to “make a rule”. The rule can be anything but must always be followed until another King is picked and the rule is replaced by another. If the rule is not followed the person who broke the rule has to drink. A favorite is making everyone say “in bed” after everything they say, it immediately takes the game in a hornier direction. The first 3 people who pick a King have to pour some of their drink into the cup in the middle. Whoever picks the last King ends the game and loses. This person has to chug whatever is in the Kings Cup.

Three Ways to Pre-Game Like a Pro

Fun = AlcoholGather around my fellow broke-socialites. I know life is hard, money is tight and all you want to do is forget about your problems by going out and partying with some amazing friends and fabulous strangers. There are a couple ways to save money when you have a night on the town, and ensure that the morning after you don’t look at your bank account and start crying. This means you won’t have to turn your fabulous brunch plans into a lonely meal of ramen at your kitchen table. The best two ways to save money are by going out and getting free drinks, or you can do what any realist does and pre-game like a pro.

There is an art to pre-gaming, and it takes some time to be able to figure it out. The reason why this practice is so perfect is because you can spend the rest of your night sipping on wine, vodka sodas or, god forbid, beer. You can continue your buzz, maintain control and spend a lot less if you don’t try to get drunk at the bar. Just show up a little later already at your perfect level.

Here are my top three ways to maximize your pre-game skills:

Betty White Vodka Hobby

1. Know Your Limits: The last thing you want is to go too hard, before you get the chance to have a fun night out, and end up puking your guts out in the Uber, on the side of the road, in the bar or (god forbid) before you leave your house. It’s important to learn how your body functions with different types of alcohol, how much your body can handle and how much/what food will do to your system.

2. Don’t Only Take Shots: By only taking shots, you add t00 much alcohol to your system too quickly. Measuring how much control you’re going to have within the next hour is more easily done when you have a combination mixed drinks, cocktails and shots. Keep your pace steady, and you will be guaranteed to have a fun night.

3. Drink Water: I know this sounds like a bitch-baby move, but drinking water helps regulate your body. Not only will you be able to last longer at a party, but you won’t wake up the next morning feeling like you were trampled by a horse. Water can, and will, make your night on the town a thrilling success.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wine

I’m going to preface this post with a disclaimer…

Disclaimer: Don’t expect me to tell you how to get good wine for cheap- you get what you pay for. And, after you’ve had a few, taste doesn’t matter as much anyways… once you’re taste buds are drunk they probably can’t tell the difference between a bottle of Dal Forno Valpolicella (I dare you to pronounce that correctly) and a bottle of Barefoot Merlot.

Wine-FountainNow that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about what really matters- wine.

Saying that wine is your favorite way to drink your alcohol is the “classy” way of saying you like to have a good time- collegiate socialites are ALL about that classy drunk life. Having a long stemmed glass of wine makes thinking you’re better than everyone else a lot easier. Let’s be honest- believing in yourself is the first step to having everyone else believe it too.

We go to college to learn. Part of every college curriculum should be learning how to go from being a wine drinker to a knowledgeable wino.

Categorizing wine isn’t as easy as white or red- there is a whole spectrum of wine. In fact, there are hundreds of types of both red and white wine grapes (called varietals) contributing to the diversity of wines. Since this is a beginner’s guide, here are some general categories to help you impress your friends and show them you aren’t just a boozhee college bitch:

Sparkling: Sparkling wine ranges from very dry to very sweet, and generally contains less alcohol than other table wines (boring, right?!). You’ll usually find that sparkling wine is either white or rosé.

  • Pair with: Poultry or seafood, a creamy sauce, cheese, or enjoy on its own.
  • When to serve: Celebrations and parties

Betty White WineWhite: With white wine, grapes are separated from their skins and made into juice before fermentation. They’re not all light wines. They can be light-, medium- or full-bodied, which represents how thick they feel in your mouth. Sweet wines like Riesling tend to be on the lighter (thinner) end while Chardonnay is at the fuller end, with a higher alcohol content, and a rich, creamy flavor.

  • Pair with: Fish, salads, and meals with sour flavors like lemon, as well as desserts.
  • When to serve: Light whites for summer events, or fall for full-bodied whites

Rosé: If you’re looking for an in-between selection, Rosé is a good option.It is a versatile wine that can be paired with many dishes. It’s typically made from black grapes (red-wine grapes), giving it subtle color. Like white wine, it’s best served soon after its release for optimal flavor and aromas.

  • Pair with: Most cheeses, pasta dishes, as well as any spring or summer meal.
  • When to serve: Spring and summer events and parties

Red: Red wines have bold, complex flavors, but it’s hard to generalize them because they have so many flavors and aromas. These are most commonly paired with red meat. When choosing the type you want to pair with your meal, consider the meat you’ll be serving. The bolder the wine, the richer the meat should be.

  • When to serve: Great year-round, but should be your go-to for fall and winter dinner parties and gatherings.
  • Pair with: A main course that includes red meats, strong cheeses or salty foods

Dessert: Made from naturally sweet grapes, these wines are the sweetest. These always taste delicious alongside fruit, chocolate and other desserts. Remember that you want to serve one that’s sweeter than the dessert, so the food doesn’t take away or change the wine’s flavor.

  • When to serve: After the main course in any meal
  • Pair with: Other desserts, or salty foods

WINE TASTING TIP

Wine TastingThe key to successful wine tasting (and avoid looking foolish) is developing your palate (something I’m still working on). The easiest way to start is to begin with what you smell and taste – from there, you’ll unearth the many aromas and flavors that go into your first sip. Wine can have aromas ranging from fruit to herbs to smoky scents, and over time you’ll pick up on the different hints of each.

 

How to Save Money at Starbucks

Coffee optionA large cup of coffee has been one of the most consistent fashion accessories for years. How can it not be when celebrities and high class socialites are constantly being photographed with them. When you carry a cup of coffee with you, you carry the nectar of the gods. It makes the statement that you are strong, powerful and have a lot of important shit to get done.

Starbucks is my go to place to receive my daily dose- you could say I have an addiction. If you, like me, have the need to feed your inner white girl with a latte, macchiato or frap then your credit card probably lets out a small whimper every time you enter the store or drive through. Well, tell that little bitch to shut up- I have some great tips to cut down on how much you spend on each cup (which just means you can get multiple doses each day now)!

Order basic menu items and get creative: While Starbucks baristas will whip up nearly any combination of flavors at your request, by understanding what goes into many drinks you can get creative and save a lot. It’s all about ordering a basic (and cheaper) menu item and adding free ingredients such as creamer, milk or vanilla flavoring to get it closer to your favorite but high-cost drink. This will significantly cut what you pay while getting you essentially the same beverage. Here are two easy examples of substitutions that are much cheaper.

Order an espresso with room instead of a latte: The basic ingredients of a latte are espresso and steamed milk, while an Americano contains espresso and water. By opting for an Americano with extra room in the cup, you can add your own milk at the store for free. An Americano is priced similarly to drip coffee, so this Starbucks menu hack represents meaningful savings relative to a latte.

This substitution makes even more sense in the summer when you’re ordering your drink on ice. An iced latte is just espresso and cold milk (not steamed), so order an iced Americano or a double-shot espresso on ice and add milk yourself to get essentially the same end result for a fraction of the price.

Order a chai tea instead of a chai latte: This is a similar idea to the substitution suggestion above: Opt for a chai tea with plenty of room in the cup and add your own milk. You can save significantly because the cost of hot tea is dramatically less than the cost of a chai latte. In this case, the drink has some other differences from the original chai latte and won’t taste exactly the same, but it’s close enough and the savings are worth it.

Join the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program: Starbucks has done a great job of making its loyalty program both easy to use and a helpful, money-saving tool. You can easily sign up through the Starbucks site and get a membership card, and manage your rewards account through the My Starbucks Rewards app. The app includes features that allow you to order ahead of time, pay electronically at the store, quickly reload gift card balances and more.

Most importantly, your My Starbucks Rewards membership will qualify you for plenty of free giveaways. For example, you get a free espresso drink on your birthday, plus you will receive regular offers for discounts and other giveaways. You’ll also get freebies if you’re a frequent Starbucks customer. After you have made 30 purchases in a year, you qualify to receive a free purchase for every 12 items you buy. If you follow Starbucks on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can be alerted to coupons, free drink certificates and other promotions.

Find Starbucks deals online: Similar to the offers you can find on social media sites, Groupon is often a great way to save money at Starbucks and its online store that sells its signature brand of coffee and related items. While these deals are not always available, when they do show up they can lead to significant savings.

Know Starbucks policies: Starbucks offers a few simple ways to save money, but only to those who know to ask for them. For example, if you bring your own mug, you save 10 cents on your drink order. By using your own mug, you can do something for the environment and save a few cents along the way. If you are a Starbucks regular, this can add up to real savings over time.

Another policy that is not widely broadcast is Starbucks’ refill policy. If you are drinking drip coffee and want a refill during the same visit to the store, you will be charged only 50 cents (unless you’re a Starbucks gold member- then refills are free). This couples well with the free Wi-Fi, making Starbucks a great place to settle down and get some work done.

10 Tips for Getting Free Drinks- For Women

You don’t have to look like Blake Lively, have ASS-ets like Beyonce or be funny like Amy Schumer to get drinks bought for you when you go out (it does help though). As a college student, going out to the bar is tough because we can make drinks at home for a fraction of the price. But- if you’re like me and enjoy meeting new people, dancing to big bass and flirting with strangers, going out is the best way to have a great weekend.

I want all the alcohol-gifAs the title would suggest, this post is for my ladies out there; the same tricks that work for straight women aren’t necessarily going to work for men (whether they’re gay or straight). Without further ado, here are the top 10 tips I have for getting free drinks at bars and nightclubs:

  1. Don’t travel in packs. It’s a lot less intimidating when there are less of you. Pick a cute friend to be your partner in crime the rest of the night. This is a good trick because even if the guy is interested in your friend and not you, odds are he’ll buy you both a drink- it’s the decent thing to do.
  2. Look hot but innocent! Know what your best characteristics are, and show them off in something sexy. Flipping your hair, popping the booty and flashing a flirty smile worked for your mom- it’ll work for you too. Don’t forget the cleavage.
  3. If you’re sitting down and chatting with a friend and a guy comes over to talk to you, just smile and say, “Aren’t you going to buy me a drink before you start hitting on me?” He will take this as you flirting with him and he will always agree.
  4. Pretend it’s your birthday. If you’re brave enough, wear a crown. You will probably get a drink on the house from the bartender, and several of the guys around the room will also offer.
  5. When you arrive, situate yourself in an area with lots of guys. As an attractive girl, you’ll be noticed immediately and it won’t be long before you’ll be sipping on margaritas the rest of the night.
  6. FLIRT! Don’t forget about what your mojo can get you. Flirting is by far the easiest way to get people to buy you drinks, and it’s amazing what a good 5 minute conversation can get you.
  7. Become a regular. It’s much easier for regulars to receive free drinks because the staff and customers are all potential buyers. Focus your efforts on one or two places and you’ll be more likely to reap quick rewards.
  8. Befriend an older man at the bar. Um, hello… old fashioned manners. He’ll have to offer and it would be rude not to accept.
  9. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversation. Being strong and independent is seen as flirty and sexy. Trust yourself, you’ll immediately go up a couple of points on the hotness scale.
  10. Always go out with your gay friend. They will do most of the flirting for you. You will always get free drinks AND he’ll make sure you get home safe (I know this from personal experience because I do this all the time- works like a charm).