Simple Tips to Avoid Overdrinking

Written by Zach Grossfeld

Drinking too much can turn a great night into a slurred slopfest. No one likes the person who repeats themselves every four minutes and can’t hold their booze. Since leaving college, I’ve reevaluated my drinking habits and shifted the focus towards engaging conversations and productive next mornings. Here are a few tips that have helped me embrace more enjoyable nights out without overdrinking:


I live in Brooklyn New York, a place where drinking permeates the culture.

Like many other metro areas, NYC makes it easy to overdrink and hard to cut back on alcohol.

From brunch spots to bars, the pace flows from place to place as the drink orders pile up and cognitive ability weakens. 

In college, being belligerently drunk was no problem. On some levels, it was expected. The body was young and bounced back from three days of intense partying.

From Thursday night through Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t uncommon to spot students throwing up outside dorms and walking in crooked lines towards the dining hall. I lived the campus culture for four years, and since graduating, I realized how unsexy and time-wasting it is to be the drunk idiot in the real world. 

Excessive drinking saps time, energy, and money out of the evening.

Although binge drinking may sneak back into my life on rare occasions (like the bachelor party I’ll be at this weekend), I now find it much more enjoyable to have a couple of drinks, participate in engaging conversation, and not pay for it the next day.

Here are a few tips that have helped me navigate the watering hole of NYC nightlife and avoid overdrinking:

Order waters or seltzers with limes in between alcoholic beverages. 

When the juices are flowing, five to six drinks can fly by in the blink of an eye. Instead of trying to keep pace, I order seltzers with limes or oranges in between my alcoholic beverage choice for the evening. 

For example, a typical night on the town without drink replacement could look like this:

  • Vodka Soda

  • Vodka Soda

  • Vodka Soda

  • Tequila Shot

  • Bud Light

  • Vodka Soda

Last weekend, my drink layout for the evening was as follows:

  • Seltzer and Lime

  • Vodka Soda

  • Seltzer and Lime

  • Vodka Soda

  • Seltzer and Lime


When I drink a non-alcoholic beverage between alcoholic cocktails, I maintain a pleasant buzz, but I never reach the slurring stage where you repeat how you landed a new job four times to the same person.

Also, nobody notices that you’re drinking a seltzer lime. You can satisfy the fixation of walking around with a drink in hand without drawing attention.

When you’re ordering a non-alcoholic beverage, like a seltzer lime, the charge will either be free or a few bucks. The bartender won’t like the lack of tip that comes from the person that orders seltzers the whole night.

Because of this, I usually give the bartender $10-$20 upfront, depending on the fanciness of the bar, and let them know that I’ll be ordering the occasional seltzer.

This down payment gives the bartender incentive to pay attention to your order still while you save money in the long run. The average vodka soda in NYC can run around $17 with tip, so a few bucks to keep the bartender happy is well within your means.

Don’t Pregame. 

This one took some getting used to. In the university heyday, pregaming was not only an event, but it was also a lifestyle.

Avoid the pregame if you can.

Showing up drunk to the bar ensures that you’ll blow past the limit you’ve set for yourself.

Also, the earlier you start drinking alcohol, the earlier your body will start shutting down.

Replace the 2-3 apartment beers with some water and coffee. You’ll arrive at the bar feeling energized and aware rather than drunk and already craving that next drink. 

Sure, pregaming may save you money that you would have spent at the bar. But if you go into the night planning on having two to three drinks total, then you’re already saving money.

Plus, overdrinking almost always ensures a 4 am food binge, which cuts deeply into the wallet and destroys long term fitness goals. 

Avoid Shots.

Except for special occasions, I stay away from shots. Shots are like the edibles of the alcohol world: you forget about them until the intoxication sets in. 

Friend 1: Dude, I have no idea how I got that drunk. I only ordered like four drinks the whole night. 

Friend 2: You don’t remember? Jimmy bought like six rounds of fireball shots. Shit tastes gross, but it goes down so easy. 

A shot may be over in two seconds, but your body doesn’t forget. Let everyone else take shots while you sip on the vodka soda.

At the end of the night, you’ll be taking home the girl they were too incoherent to close.

Shots may make for an aesthetic music video, then again when has Lil Jon ever given solid life advice?

Well, he did say Make ya knees touch ya elbows, so he values a healthy range of motion.

Perhaps Lil Jon would make a fantastic yoga instructor.