Single Girl Diaries: Eurotrip: The idiot’s guide to drinking alcohol

Columnist Ellise Verheyen explores UK drinking laws.

Disclaimer: Grandma, don’t read this. Mom and Dad, viewer discretion is advised.

I like to think that my parents lied about the date of my birth.

I like to think I’m too mature to only be 20 years of age. I mean, come on! I’m allowed to live on my own, take out thousands of dollars in loans and fly across an ocean for four months in London. But I can’t walk into a bar in Columbia.

I’ve had the unfortunate fate to be the baby of the grade. I beat the school cut-off by no more than 10 days back in kindergarten, making me months younger than the majority of my peers.

This never affected me until I was 15 and all my friends were 16 and had their driver’s licenses. Then again at 16, when I couldn’t see R-rated movies without an ID. And again at 17, when my friends were 18 and could buy lottery tickets/order Pillow Pets from the shopping network.

Now, here I am, 20 years old and all my friends are 21. For the last six months, I felt left out a lot. Now, I’m not a big drinker. I didn’t care that I couldn’t partake in getting wasted in public on Thirsty Thursday, but it wasn’t fun knowing that my friends were all out together sans me because my mom waited to give birth to me in July.

All of this changed one short month ago when I moved to a country where the drinking age is 18, and the favo(u)rite pastime is going to the pub.

Before my adventure to London, I could count the number of times I’d actually had alcohol (aside from sips) on three fingers. (And two of the three times consisted of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I’m obviously an alcoholic that needs to be stopped.)

I have absolutely no problem with drinking. I’m the mama bird that takes care of everyone. And now that I’m actually in a place that I’m legally allowed to drink, I’ve learned to appreciate a good cider (my drink of choice because it’s literally apple juice) and good people.

This past weekend, I went to Edinburgh, Scotland with a friend for a short trip. (Sorry for blowing up your newsfeeds.) Friday was our first full day to explore the city, and it was truly amazing. But our night out really took the doughnut.

My gal pal Sophia and I went to a really great Italian restaurant (I know, Italian while in Scotland is probably a sin). Sophia is slightly more experienced in alcohol than I, so she suggested a Sauvignon Blanc with dinner. I’d never had it and was feeling daring, so I ordered one. I’m not much of a wine connoisseur by any means, but I really liked it.

After dinner, we decided to check out a pub that had been in Edinburgh for 499 years called The White Hart. We got there fairly early, so it was very relaxed. It was nice to escape the constant chaos of maneuvering the city and breathe.

I started with my go-to: a Strongbow cider (i.e., apple juice). I felt completely sober at this point, but I’d never tested my limit. I’d never been drunk.

After we each finished our ciders, Sophia decided she wanted to try their Scottish ale. At this point, I thought, “Why not?” I felt fine and one beer wouldn’t hurt.

(Something to consider is that alcohol in the UK is just a little (lot) stronger than in the US.)

At the halfway point, a bartender we had befriended suggested we try the jelly doughnut shot. How could we say no? (It tasted exactly like a jelly doughnut.)

Therefore, I discovered what it takes to get me drunk. And I’m a giggler.

Please note that drunk doesn’t mean I was unable to function and slurring my words. I was completely articulate and could walk in a (mostly) straight line. My head was heavy and I laughed about it, but that was the extent.

My night of slight intoxication was fun, and I understand why people drink, but I also discovered that it’s only something I would want to do in comfort of good company and good drinks.

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