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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

Colleagues and Cocktails: What to Drink at Happy Hour

The after-work happy hour usually ends a day that went something like this: You had a cup of coffee on the way to work, stuffed your face with a mini-muffin before the morning status meeting, barely touched your lunch because you were talking up a potential client, and grabbed a handful of peanuts from the conference room before heading to the bar. By the time the waiter comes to take your cocktail order, you've had a grand total of 35 calories the entire day.

Or, even if you were able to get in two square meals, the happy hour precedes a long night of work as you empty your inbox and prepare for tomorrow's board meeting.

The point is this: You’re not in college anymore, and you may need to re-think your drink of choice. You should look for a drink that is delicious, won't get you instantly hammered, is not a beer (stress + empty stomach + beer = increased chance of belching in boss's face mid-sentence), and isn't something you would normally imbibe at a bachelorette party.

Need ideas? Try one of these:

Classic Go-To Cocktails

Gin and Tonic

What it says about you: I'm sophisticated, and I'm probably wearing white and don't want to risk staining my blouse with something colorful.

Vodka Soda with a Splash of Cranberry

What it says about you: Hey, I like a little fruitiness, and that’s okay. I may put a Splenda in this drink when you're not looking. Deal with it.

(Variation: For something a little sweeter try a flavored vodka like Absolut like Citron or Raspberry)

Greyhound (Vodka and Grapefruit juice)

What it says about you: I have enough mental capacity to remember the name of a drink that has nothing to do with its actual ingredients. I've been here before. I enjoy a cocktail, but I'm not a lush.

Amaretto Sour

What it says about you: I am a responsible person and will be driving myself home later, thus I am choosing a cocktail with a mild liqueur and a non-alcoholic mix.

Trendy Go-To Cocktails


What it says about you: Sex and the City and the Cosmopolitan are so seven years ago, and don't I know it. I'm not afraid to hold something that comes with a cherry garnish, but I'm not going to order a daiquiri and sip it through a two foot straw on Girls Gone Wild.


Anything with an Unexpected Plant Ingredient, Like Basil or Cucumber

Example: Rhubarb Basil Cocktail from The Kitchn

What it says about you: I'm adventurous and assertive, and I demand that my traditionally feminine cocktail has a forward-thinking twist. Muddle, bartender, muddle!

Retro Drinks

Example: Tom Collins (Gin, Lemon Juice, Soda, Sugar)

What it says about you: I watch Mad Men. In a past life I may have operated a speakeasy, which accounts for my entrepreneurial spirit.

Cocktails to Avoid

Cocktails Named After Body Parts: Fuzzy Navel, Buttery Nipple

Cocktails that Reference Sex or Unsavory Historical Events: Sex on the Beach, Slow Comfortable Screw, Irish Car Bomb, Kamikaze

Cocktails that Destroyed You in College: Long Island Iced Tea, Mind Eraser, anything you set aflame

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