A Girl's Guide to Beverages: How To Navigate The Bar Like a Pro

STEP AWAY FROM THE CHARDONNAY! While you're at it, put down that Cosmo too. We know it's been a long day and you need to unwind but that's not excuse to drink like your mother. You're a woman - not a lady - so we've come up with some spirited alternatives to get you through happy hour, cocktail parties, summer bbqs and more...

If you're at a summer barbeque...
No sweetie - you're not confined to drinking warm budweiser or heineken all summer - read this guide and learn How To Choose a Real Beer.

If you're out on the town...
Don't be the gal who orders a cosmo or rum and coke and chews on the garnish all night. Impress your drinking companions by ordering a whisky - learn how to order and what to drink with with the Six Whiskeys You Should Know.

If you're making drinks at home...
Try the Marie Claire Cocktail. David Wondrich, a cocktail guru and author of Imbibe!, whips up the must-have drink of the season.

Shake well with ice:
1 oz gin
1/2 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
2 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with cold brut champagne. Garnish with a long lemon-peel spiral.

Also - please, please, whatever you do - don't be that bill-waving hussy at the end of the bar. Follow our tips on how to sit and sip in style.

Q: I need a drink, and I need it now, so how do I get the bartender to pay attention to me?
A: Patience! Stand halfway down the bar and catch his eye. Then, wait for him to acknowledge you and make his way over. "The first mistake is that people don't make eye contact with the bartender and just start rattling off their drinks. I tend to ignore those people," says Jason Kosmas, coauthor of You Didn't Hear It From Us

Q: If I accept a drink from a random guy, what do I have to do in return?
A: Nothing-you're not a prostitute. But a nice guy should send it through the bartender so you can easily accept or decline the offer. Plus, that way, you know he didn't slip anything into it.

Q: Do I really have to tip the same amount for a bottle of beer as I do for a more elaborate cocktail?
A: It's based on price. You should give at least $1 per drink, but at a swanky restaurant or lounge in a major city, that jumps to $2. If you run up a tab or order a round, 20 percent of the total is appropriate. And always tip on a free drink. "Trust me. Every bartender knows how much money the customer left," says Zaric.

Q: Ugh, this wine is too fruity. Can I send it back?
A: No. The purpose of sniffing and sipping is to make sure the wine isn't skunked-not to see if you like it. If you don't, well, that's just too bad.

Need help choosing a wine list? Check out: How to Decipher an Intimidating Wine List

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