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Everything You Need to Know About Buying Liquor Online

Not even a pandemic can stop you from getting mega-hammered in the safety of your own home

When the going gets tough, the tough get sloshed. But in the midst of a deadly pandemic, going on a beer run can feel a lot more precarious than usual, which may explain why many Americans are choosing to avoid liquor stores altogether and ordering liquor online instead (apparently, canned cocktails, tequila and gin are especially popular among quarantined drinkers).

While technology makes many things simpler and more convenient, compared to leisurely strolling through the liquor aisle at your local supermarket, navigating the Land of Infinite Booze known as the World Wide Web can be beyond overwhelming. But you came to the right place, my parched companion, because I’ve made it my mission to teach you how to order liquor online. Come along now.

For starters, as I explained in my online beer-buying guide, there are some limitations to where liquor can be legally shipped around the U.S. There are several states in particular — Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah — that forbid the direct shipment of liquor to consumers (and therefore, are super lame). But the rules have been changing a lot lately due to the coronavirus — for example, you can now order cocktails for delivery from local restaurants in several states — so just check in with wherever you’re buying liquor online from before placing your order.

The other thing you need to remember before going on a liquor-buying bender is that the shipping cost for booze can be substantial, primarily because liquid is relatively heavy and requires careful packaging. You can see on the Liquorama online liquor store website, for instance, that ground shipping for a single bottle is almost $20 — and that goes up the more you order.

Lastly, you will need to show identification upon delivery, so yes, you still need to be 21 in order to purchase liquor online. Period.

Now that you know what to generally expect when ordering liquor online, here are a few recommendations, depending on what you like to sip on and when you need to sip on it.

Liquor Delivery ASAP

If you need booze NOW, your best bet is using an alcohol delivery app like Drizly, Swill or Saucey, all of which work by providing immediate — or at least, quick — deliveries from liquor stores in your area, rather than from a conglomerate of manufacturers around the world. They might not have a specialty selection or anything like that, but you can definitely expect to get your booze quickly, which can sometimes be more important than quality.

Liquor Subscription Boxes

If you can wait awhile and are in the market for something a little more interesting than your average swill, subscribing to a monthly box of liquor and other alcohol-adjacent goodies may be a wise choice. Flaviar is a good one for the adventurous guzzler, since they focus on providing their members with hard-to-find bottles and uncommon labels. There are also inclusive kits like SaloonBox or the American Cocktail Club, which send out specialty cocktail recipes as well as the ingredients — booze included — needed to make them. Lastly, there are subscription boxes like Mash & Grape, which lets you choose between six different spirit-themed boxes — bourbon, whiskey, scotch, gin, tequila and rum — then curates bottles from both big names and independent distilleries based on your preference.

Comprehensive Online Liquor Stores

If you know exactly what you want, are willing to wait and can’t find it on the speedy apps mentioned above, there are no shortage of online liquor stores that sell, well, basically everything: ReserveBar, Minibar, Uptown Spirits and Liquor Store Online are just a few prominent ones.

On a final note, while ordering liquor online can make getting drunk a whole lot easier, I should warn you: Don’t drink and shop. If you do, you may end up with a lot more liquor than you need (and yes, there is such a thing as too much liquor).