Just because you’re working exclusively with lowest-shelf
alcohol and off-brand sodas, your fellow bartenders are quickly getting drunk,
and you’re behind the dining table your roommates dragged outside doesn’t mean
you’re anything less than a mixologist. You’re a crafter of dreams, a nurser of
egos. You feed good times to the sober and liquid courage to the horny, all at
the biggest volume possible for the cheapest price – but you can still mix with
panache and garnish with dignity.

Rum and Coke

Nothing in the college bartender’s repertoire screams
“masculine” and “well-traveled” or “even though I’m a woman I drink cool drinks
too” or “I don’t know or care what you have, I just need to order something”
quite like the offhand request for a rum and Coke. Some people who have never
been to one of these parties before will ask for a Jack and Coke; don’t correct
them. Prestige doesn’t yet make Jack Daniels, but it’s not your job to shatter
the illusion.

1 part rum

4 parts store-brand cola

Garnish with a cultured, manly nod


The college party equivalent is mixed with orange soda. It’s
essentially the same, but instead of the fruity dance of citrus across the
palate there’s the magical, nutritionless tang of cheap orange candy. Use it as
a selling point; it’s like the screwdriver’s tacky robot cousin. Fun!

If anyone asks for one of these on purpose, they are probably a
child that found their way in. Pour light on the vodka.

1 part vodka

4-15 (if suspiciously young-looking) parts orange soda

Someone wants an actual fruity beachy mixed drink ““ like a
Tequila Sunrise or a Sex on the Beach

This doesn’t really happen, but if you find yourself wanting to
impress a prissy woman or a particularly hard to please effeminately gay man,
you have the tools at your disposal for something passable ““ no need to tell
Dorothy she’s not in the club anymore.

2-3 parts rum and/or tequila*

Liberal parts orange, pineapple, lemon-lime, and/or strawberry

Garnish with a waggle of your eyebrows and a knowing glance
about your skill in the game of lying to yourself

Handy tip! Drunken bustle behind
the bar at this point might cause you to spill a couple ““ but no need to
sacrifice the mystique. “The ridden chooses the rider,” you could say as
you spill a third drink all over the table. “It’s just not your time yet.”


1 part hand them a can of beer

Keg Stand

Even if they seem to be upside-down and not listening to you, instruct
your drinkers in the best way to drink beer to fully appreciate its flavor.
Only by drinking in slow sips can one experience the layered notes in Natty
Light: metal, frat house floor, shitty beer, mistakes.


Shots are a party-starter, and as a bartender you’re
instrumental. You show off your precisely-crafted place in the background of
their precious-memory life snapshots – or at least that’s what you’d do if they
didn’t demand them right goddamn now.

1 part vodka/person

Like a dozen cups per group of girls

Vodka Soda

It’s in this classic’s genes to be a fizzy delight to the most
ticklish of senses. It’s for drinks like this that you tend bar: pure, innocent,
crisply flavored.

It’s probably also at this point in the night that whoever
bought the alcohol explains frantically that you need to start pouring light on
the everything, because you’re running

1 part pretending you’re pouring vodka

Splash of lemon-lime soda

Garnish with pretending you’re busy somewhere else before they
can complain

Pouring alcohol directly into their mouth

A testament to Prestige’s cockroach-like existence, cups and
chaser often run out before the liquor. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying
your craft – Include some ice if they’ll let you, instruct them to allow the
drink proper time to breathe, and the playful addition of the lemon lime soda
before they swallow will make them hardly notice there isn’t a cup at all.
Also, still do your best to make conversation.

*Only the truly committed agree to drink Prestige tequila.