Pre-drinking on a student budget

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By in Lifestyle. Updated July 2015.

It’s the conundrum to defeat all conundrums. You want to go out and party like a boss, but you also happen to be a cash strapped student.predrinking

Disclaimer: We acknowledge that lots of students do drink and spend a lot of money on nights out. This guide is about saving money and we encourage you to drink responsibly!

Also known by the dubious title of ‘prinks’, getting in a few beers/cocktails at home means you not only still get to hit up the dance floor like the coolest kid in town, but you also save a considerable amount of dosh while doing so. Stellar!

We appreciate the concept of drinking in a dingy student flat rather than a swanky cocktail club, as you usually do every Friday, can seem quite odd, so we’ve collated our top tips and tricks for having a truly top-notch time.

The rationale

While we are sure you get the gist of why pre-drinks are a wonderful money saving adventure, there’s no harm in re-enforcing the pros and cons for y’all.

Saving money

group_drinking_wine_7oxtPerhaps the biggest draw of having a few bevvies round your house first is the massive savings for your wallet.

While a small glass of vino might set you back the best part of a fiver out and about, you could nab a whole bottle of wine for the same amount (or less).

You still get to enjoy the experience of going out too, just after you’ve consumed some lovely, cheaper, beverages at home.

Actually socialising with friends

shine-night-clubWe have all had that irritating night club exchange.

You need to tell your mate something but he can’t catch a word you’re saying over the sound of Rihanna. And any kind of hand gestures just look like awful dance moves.

Staying in for a few drinks first give you the chance to, shock horror, actually converse with the people you call your friends.

Easy to over do it

drunk_personDon’t be fooled though; it’s not endless rainbows and sunshine in the land of pre-drinking.

Sitting down at your table with a bottle of gin in one hand and a tonic in the other does makes it ridiculously easy to over do it.

At the risk of sounding like your parents, getting drunk to oblivion never ends well and definitely won’t win you any friends (not any you want to keep anyway).

Remember, you do actually need to get in to the bar/club you’re planning on going too.

Breakages and spills

trashed-house-after-Facebook-partyFinally, the mere presence of both people and alcohol in your home increases the risk of breakages and spills tenfold.

No one wants to wake up to a scene from Project X in the morning, especially when you’re renting. You want that juicy deposit back after all.

Make sure to lock all your valuables away where they cannot be broken and stock up on plastic glasses and table cloths.

What to buy (the essentials)

Bring your own

018207-shopping-basket-of-wine-bottlesThe first rule of pre-drinks is that nobody talks about pre-drinks everyone brings their own booze.

No one wants to get lumbered with hosting a shindig and fund everyone’s drinking habits as well.

Simply ask everyone to either bring along whatever they intend on drinking, or if you’re planning on making some fancy pants cocktails, give everyone a designated ingredient or alternatively ask them to contribute.

Hunt out the deals

746-5051790965746-IDShot_225x225The whole idea of prinking – yes, that is a real word people use – is that you’re saving money.

Splashing out on brand name drinks can be costly, so don’t be afraid to downgrade to supermarket own brands.

Also make sure to check out what deals are on offer (our food and drink deals are a good place to start), and always check exactly how much you’re getting for your money.

Plastic fantastic

draft_lens17701257module148701758photo_1304006520Office_water_prankAs we touched on before, alcohol and nice things are just disasters waiting to happen.

Stock up on some plastic cups and bowls for your drinking and nibbles to avoid any unfortunate glass mishaps.

They may also come in use for a drinking game that we’ve mentioned below too 😉

Best pre-drink recipes

What’s a party without some lovely stuff to drink?

We’ve put together a few of our pre-drinking favourites here for you (aside from the standard beer or vodka and coke). But if you’re up for becoming a cocktail connoisseur then make sure to check out our guide to making your own cocktails.


photo-222158If you’re in the mood for sharing, then you can’t really go wrong with a good ol’ bowl of punch. Make up the recipe as you go and it normally turns out just dandy. Here’s a basic recipe.

  • White spirit – eg. vodka, gin, rum, schnapps
  • Fruit juice
  • Fresh fruit

Just add a smattering of your chosen spirit to a bowl and mix with a selection of fruit juices. If you’re feeling fancy add some chopped up fruit like oranges, strawberries or some fresh mint.


snakebite-L-eWBLCfA student favourite and ridiculously easy to make, snakebites contain only three vital ingredients:

  • 1 shot blackcurrant squash
  • 1/2 pint of cider
  • 1/2 pint of lager

Just pour all the cider and lager into a pint glass and finish with a dash of blackcurrant squash.

Careful though, this does have a tendency to be quite a potent concoction.

As an extra beer based recipe, if you’re into trying new things why not have 3/4 pint of beer + 1/4 pint of Dr. Pepper (don’t judge us until you’ve tried it).

Long Island Iced Tea

long_island_ice_teaYes, this is the cocktail where it seems like they use every spirit on the bar.

But before you try and make it yourself with everything you have in the cupboard, we thought we’d give you the actual recipe so it actually turns out drinkable.

  • 1/2 shot of light rum
  • 1/2 shot of vodka
  • 1/2 shot of gin
  • 1/2 shot of tequila
  • 1 shot of lime juice
  • Cola or iced tea

All you have to do is whack all your alcohol and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled of ice, give it a shake and voilà. Simply pour into a glass and top up with cola or iced tea.

Jammy Dodger Shots

shotNo list of drinks is complete without a shot on there, and we promise this will be the best shot you’ll ever have.

  • Chambord raspberry liqueur
  • Double cream (yes, really)

All you have to do is fill up your shot glasses to 3/4 full with liqueur and then just top it up with double cream. Really, it is the best thing ever.

Top drinking games

Finally, it’s essential to make sure you’ve got some entertainment to keep your guests amused, even if you do have a sparkling personality.

Drinking games seem to have cemented themselves as a firm favourite in student lore, but don’t ever feel pressured into drinking if you’re not up for it.

No one will ever know you’re drinking orange without the vodka unless you tell them!

“I have never”

woman-drinking-beerA great way to discover new and interesting facts about your drinking buddies. Simply take it in turns to say a sentence which starts with “I have never…”.

For example, you might say: “I have never gone without showering for three or more days”. If, however, this does apply to you, then not only are you very smelly, but you have to take a swig of your drink. So does anyone else who has done the stated thing.

Ring of Fire

download (1)Also goes by the name of Kings, King’s Cup and various other aliases, there’s nothing to add a bit of drama to a night in than a game of Ring of Fire.

Grab yourself a pack of cards and a pint glass and spread the cards around the glass, face down.

In a circle take it in turns to pick up a card and follow the instructions depending on the number of the card.

While there is often much dispute over what the official rules are, we can proudly present to you the Save the Student version. And ’cause we’re awesome, it’s all you’ll ever need.

Ace – Waterfall; One player starts drinking, allowing the player to their left to drink, and so on. Once the whole circle is drinking the person who started the chain may stop, but you cannot stop drinking before the person before you stops.

Two – You; nominate a person to take a swig of their drink.

Three – Me; take a gulp of your own beverage.

Four – Boys; all males drink.

Five – Thumb Master; when you put your thumb on the table everyone must follow. The last person drinks. You are the thumb master till someone else picks a five. Ooh the power!

Six – Chicks; all girls drink.

Seven – Heaven; last one to point to the ceiling drinks.

Eight – Mate; pick someone to be your drinking buddy for the evening.

Nine – Rhyme; start off a word, and everyone must think of an original rhyme.  The first to flounder drinks.

Ten – Categories; similarly, start off with a category and see who is the first to stumble.

Jack – Make a rule; make up a rule of your very own and it must be followed on penalty of drinks for the entire game.

Queen – Question Master; as with the five you have the power. If anyone answers a question you ask them, they have to drink.

King – Pour/Drink; the first three kings mean you have to pour some of your drink into the central cup. The last one means the central cup is all yours. Don’t get too excited now.

Also take care to not break the circle of cards, or the rules dictate you must down your drink. And who are we to argue with the rules?

Beer pong

beer pongFinally, a game for those who are interested in bringing technical skill into the equation.

Set up a table with plastic cups at each end, arranged in a triangle shape, a little like a bowling alley set up.

Players at each end must take it in turns to try and throw a ping pong ball into the cups, which we forgot to mention, are conveniently filled with beer.

If you get the ball in the cup, your opponent must drink it. First side to demolish the other sides cups wins.

Now all that’s left is to save money on your night out.

Do you have any top tips for pre-drinking games or cocktails recipes? Make sure to let us know.

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4 Responses to “Pre-drinking on a student budget”

  1. Gabriella

    29. Feb, 2016

    Sometimes you just need to play music 🎶 and dance with predrinks and then go out to have a great time with mates x

  2. Joe

    02. Aug, 2013

    Kings aka Ring of fire was already mentioned

  3. Matt

    26. Nov, 2010

    My favourite game is Kings, you need a deck of cards and lots of booze. Each card has a different action associated with it such as 5’s (guys) = all men drink.

    As the game goes on, people starting making mistakes all over the place and things get messy!

    Full rules:

    • Lauren Bailey

      28. Nov, 2010

      Thanks Matt!!
      I’ll remember this for our next drunken night in!


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