How to Day Drink Without Overdoing It

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Warmer weather and boozy beverages go hand-in-hand. A beer on the beach, a mojito by the pool, a hidden flask at your niece’s graduation—day drinking hits different than your glass of wine with dinner.

I say this as healthily as possible: I love drinking during the day. We’ve written before about the virtues of using jam to make any booze morning-appropriate, as well as how to make the perfect backyard drink. You never know when a chill outdoor hang might transition into a full-on “darty” (day + party). (Not to be confused with the far inferior portmanteau “dage”; or day + rage.)

Like any endurance event, day drinking is all about strategy. My college-era strategy of self-induced vomiting and then “rallying” is not what doctors would call “sustainable,” “advisable,” or “good.” Here are our tips to help you stay safe and make the most of your sunny, boozy day.

Pace yourself

This is a marathon, not a sprint. The number one piece of guidance that informs all the tips below is to pace your drinking. Don’t assume your tolerance for multiple drinks in rapid succession at night will work out for you at your neighbor’s afternoon barbecue.

We’ll get into the need for eating and drinking while day drinking, but it’s also important to be mindful about the volume and type of alcohol you’re drinking. Summer cocktails can be dangerously refreshing—pay attention to how much and how fast you’re sipping them down. (To really stay on top of it, here’s the easiest way to calculate your bev’s ABV.)

It’s no secret that nursing a beer or two over an hour is a whole lot easier to manage than sticking a straw in a margarita pitcher. An age-old tip is to incorporate a glass of water between every boozy beverage. On that note…

Refuel and rehydrate

Alcohol dehydrates you. When you drink during a summer day, this dehydration risk is increased due to your enemy the sun. And while you don’t need to worry about “breaking the seal,” you still need to pee more when you drink, which means you’ll lose more water than you’re taking in. It’s always important to drink water while consuming alcohol, but you need to be even more on top of your hydration efforts when you drink on a hot day.

Hopefully you had a hearty breakfast and didn’t begin drinking on an empty stomach. Luckily, one of the biggest perks of day drinking is that it usually comes with barbecue and cookout snacks along the way. Food slows down the absorption of alcohol, so it’s in your best interest to snack away.

Take breaks from the heat

Sun exposure amplifies the dehydration that comes with drinking alcohol. As a safety tip, it’s best to avoid alcohol or keep it to a minimum on the hottest days. Dehydration can make it easier to get heat illness, which in extreme cases can be life threatening.

Additionally, as alcohol impairs your judgment, you make yourself all the more susceptible to nasty sunburns.

Be extra careful on the water

If you’re on a boat, first, I’m jealous. Second: Be careful. If you’re drinking around a body of water, understand that alcohol increases your risk of drowning in many ways. In fact, as we’ve previously covered, 70 percent of drowning deaths related to outdoor recreation involved alcohol. Even strong swimmers who jump or fall in the water while intoxicated are at risk. (Another good addition to any water-based day drinking event: A life jacket.)

Be smart

The daylight might give you the illusion that you have your wits about you more than when you’re drunk in a dark bar, but alcohol is still a sedative. It impairs your judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time.

As you get drunker throughout the day, typical midnight shenanigans might go down at 3 p.m. Put your phone somewhere safe—away from potential water damage and your temptation to send drunken texts that will look a whole lot worse in the light of a sober day.

And if you had a rip-roarin’ good time—which I sincerely hope you do—here are the best hangover cures at your disposal.

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