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Making the Most of Memorial Day

Drinking Games

There is no better season for drinking during the day than the summer.

Fine, spring is pretty great, too. And yeah, spiked cider in fall definitely doesn’t suck. But winter... all right, winter too has its perks. So let’s rephrase: there’s no better season for drinking and getting tan than the summer.

Traditionally, Memorial Day is when it all starts. Sure, maybe it’s not officially summer, but with a cooler of beer, good friends, good music and an entire farm’s worth of barbecue, it sure as hell does feel like it. Though like all good things, winning this glorious three-day jaunt requires some solid forethought. Luckily for you, we’ve done it already.

So settle in, crack open a cold one and listen up as we lay out the finer points of this weekend’s impending festivities...

The Setting Setting The key here is finding somewhere you can get both buzzed and bronzed simultaneously, so we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest somewhere sunny—preferably with a decreased level of clothing-swathed skin. It doesn’t have to be a sprawling beach house estate—a city rooftop will do—but definitely not some deodorant-brand-sponsored party, because Memorial Day is not about being seen. It’s about being relaxed. And, well, paying respect to the veterans.

The Company Company Like we said, this day isn’t about the social scene, so a few close friends is fine. But if you insist on throwing a rager, you should still choose the guest list discerningly. Think about who might look best in a swimsuit. Or who can man the grill while you take a quick dip. Also, since Memorial Day is strictly for lowering your blood pressure, try to avoid anyone that might act in opposition to that—which likely rules out the likes of coworkers, priests or family. Who wants to see family in a bikini? Hopefully not you, Norman Bates.

The Drinks Drinks Most would go with beer, because honestly, what’s more American than a cooler full of beer on Memorial Day? But maybe that’s not your jam. Or maybe you just want to save room in your stomach for the deliciousness emanating from the grill. In either case, some form of bourbon-based cocktail will complement the smokiness of the barbecue and keep your head in the right place. (That is, out of the office, if just for the day.)

The Food Food Hamburgers. Sausages. Maybe a clambake. Definitely some watermelon. Five points for anything that needs to be eaten with a bib. Pie. Basically, if it screams “America!” it’s fair game. Come on, next question.

Pacing Pacing This one’s a little trickier. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, so you don’t want to get sloppy early—or at all, for that matter. Likewise, a nice little rule of thumb is to accompany every drink with a few ribs or a drumstick. That way, if you’re full, you know it’s time to hold off on that next Corona. Or the next margarita. Don’t worry, we’re not judging.

Decorum Decorum As always, you don’t want to do anything that you wouldn’t do if you were dead sober. And with day drinking, this is especially pertinent: you don’t have the shroud of night to hide any embarrassment. So, easy on the staring, keep the heartfelt renditions of “Born in the USA” to a minimum (of one per hour, tops) and for God’s sake, wipe your face. Elizabeth Banks in Wet Hot couldn’t even pull off that look.

Possible Consequences Consequences There’s no such thing as too much fun. Though too much drinking can certainly have some less-than-ideal ramifications. Sun plus booze might equal you asleep by 8 o’clock. Or if not, you sunburned and hungover for work on Tuesday morning. But was it all worth it? Absolutely.

You’ve got the stomach full of sausage to prove it.