02/19/2014 07:00 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2014

A Guide To Drinking: The Appropriate Alcohol For Every Kind Of Occasion

Whether it's Sunday brunch or happy hour, a first date or a wedding, it's always a good time for a drink. Everyone has a favorite beverage, but with so many choices out there, sometimes it can still be hard to choose. When you're faced with that difficult dilemma -- a gin and tonic or a beer, a whisky on the rocks or neat -- the options can feel overwhelming and you might end up making the grave mistake of ordering something you'll regret. (You never want to waste the opportunity for a good drink, after all.)

To help you rise to the occasion, we've charted out your go-to drinks for any situation. Don't know what to order? Don't panic. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, so go ahead, grab a drink and find out what the best choice is for any scenario.

  • Sunday Brunch
    Brian Macdonald via Getty Images
    A Bloody Mary. You know you want one. You might actually need one. You probably don't need one quite as elaborate as this one, but you definitely do need a good Bloody, or seven. That mimosa or bellini might look good, but so do those pancakes. And you know you ultimately don't want something sweet -- you want something salty, acidic, and strong.
  • High School Prom After-Party
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    Warm beer, hidden in your friend's basement.
  • First Date
    Rob Lawson via Getty Images / ultramarinfoto via Getty Images
    If you're meeting for drinks on the first date, start with a simple mixed drink, like a gin and tonic. If you're having a second drink, order a beer. You don't want overdo it, but you might need something a little stronger to start with to ease the inevitable awkwardness. Your next date? It's coffee time.
  • New Year's Eve
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    Champagne. Duh.
  • Frat Party
    -Oxford- via Getty Images
    Beer in a Solo Cup. Preferably after a game of flip cup on the beer pong table. Come on, guys. Let's be real here.
  • Your Birthday
    Getty images
    When in doubt, get a margarita on your birthday. No matter how bad your birthday might be, it's impossible not to have fun with a margarita in your hand. It's festive and if you drink enough, you won't remember how old you're turning.
  • A Night In
    fStop Images - Marc Volk via Getty Images
    Whether it's a romantic night in, or you're home wallowing in the pain of a break-up, red wine is your friend. Your ever reliable, soothing, good friend.
  • A Bachelorette Party When Your Sole Mission Is To Get As Drunk As Possible
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    The biggest bang for your buck (and a guaranteed full day hangover)? Long Island Iced Tea.
  • The Bridal Shower You Really Didn't Want To Attend
    Getty Images
    Mimosas. All the mimosas.
  • The Office Christmas Party That You Got Too Drunk At Last Year
    Jeremy Hudson via Getty Images
    Soda water and lime. No one will know the difference, but you won't be puking in the office bathroom the next morning like you did last year.
  • Meeting The Parents
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    Whatever they're drinking.
  • You Just Got Promoted!
    CWP via Getty Images
    A martini.
  • You Just Got Laid Off
    Getty Images/Getty Images
    Two martinis.
  • A Wedding
    Blend Images/Trinette Reed via Getty Images
    Whatever they're serving, and as much of it as you can.
  • Spring Break
    Lauri Patterson via Getty Images
    Tequila shots. Many tequila shots, and then never again.
  • The First Day Of Fall
    Michelle McMahon via Getty Images
    Hard cider. If you're a skeptic, you've probably just tried the super sweet varieties. The world of hard cider is bigger and way more awesome than you think, and the fall is a great time to try something new. If you're already on board, good for you.
  • The First Day Of Summer
    Ellen van Bodegom via Getty Images
    Sangria or a cold, refreshing beer. Or both! It's summer!
  • College Graduation
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    Scotch. You're an adult now.

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