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Ways to Day Drink Without Getting Completely Wasted

Getting blitzed in the middle of the day, unless you meant to, can be far more unpleasant than getting accidentally hammered at night. This is because day drinking (usually) requires maintaining at least the appearance of real-world competence while you continue to challenge that competence with a solid buzz — for hours and hours and probably in the sun. Because that’s the real goal of day drinking: Maintaining a buzz without getting annihilated. It’s such a skill that there should be awards for being good at it.

First things first, though: Day drinking is a luxury and inherently better than night drinking because it feels like you’re getting away with something while most other people have to work.

However, it requires a little planning. At night you might be able to sit on your ass in one location and funnel booze without doing jack shit until last call. But during the day, most of us drink in settings that require some kind of alertness: At work lunches where we need to seem work-y; at music festivals where we want to stay awake for the headliner; or at sporting events and barbecues and beach treks, activities that involve competent shouting, competent eating and potentially even competent swimming. What’s more, these are all activities that involve friends we’d presumably like to keep.

Now, a few logistics: It probably seems like you’re less drunk in the day even when drinking exactly the same as you would at night, but it isn’t necessarily true: Nyree Dardarian, a professor of nutrition science at Drexel University, recently told New York magazine that your metabolism works the same during the day as it does at night. But she also notes that there are other studies that contradict this, with findings showing that either our circadian rhythms alter the way booze affects us at different times of day, or that the booze itself might affect your circadian rhythms, which in turn affects how you feel. In short, something somewhere is jacked up, but we aren’t sure what, where or when. Or how. Or why. Just… something.

Not helpful! So instead, consider these vaguely scientific factors when hitting the bottle before sundown.


You will be drinking all day, but more importantly, you’ll probably be drinking into the night. Whether to stop drinking midday and either take a nap or shift into any other activity is a highly personal decision, but many people find that once you’ve introduced booze into the equation, you either must stay on that train until it reaches its final destination, or suffer the dreadfully sleepy (and headache-y) consequences. For this reason, wear something that works during the day but will function well into night, which means at least put a jacket or hat somewhere.


Drink light, low-alcohol booze, like beer or bubbles.

Bloody Marys aren’t bad, since they also hydrate and offer some nutrients, but stay away from mixed cocktails with a lot of sugar and heavy liquors, unless you’re just trying to get nuts hammered on purpose. Shots may be used, but sparingly. (More on that later.)


Don’t skip any meals while day drinking. Dardarian mentions that booze actually causes your stomach to drain more slowly, which means anything you eat will sit in the stomach for longer. This, in turn, means that additional booze will take longer to get into your bloodstream, and that’s the point: You want a blotter to keep soaking up that booze so you can keep drinking and never get too drunk.

A little protein here and there mixed in with a few carbs is a good idea, too — tacos, brunch with bacon and eggs, a bag of chips, whatever. Obviously avoid foods that make you feel super full and barfy. Nor is a few slices of cucumber going to cut it: It needs to be just enough food to stay even-keeled, but not so much that you go into a food coma, or so little that you commit the cardinal sin of getting light-headed/ emotional/ weird/ horny/ angry.


Drink a glass of water at some point after every drink but before the next one.

Drink a glass of water at some point after every drink but before the next one.

Drink a glass of water at some point after every drink but before the next one.

Drink a glass of water at some point after every drink but before the next one.

Drink a glass of water at some point after every drink but before the next one.

Drink a glass of water at some point after every drink but before the next one.


Remember that you want a gentle, feelgood buzz all day long — the kind that makes you just witty enough and just uninhibited enough, but functional enough to have a good, loose time.

This means never letting the buzz falter, either back to sober-you, or into drunk-you. Whether you cracked that first beer at 9 a.m. for a festival or 1 p.m. for a barbecue, you’ll probably want to drink about one drink per hour, since this is how quickly the liver is able to metabolize the alcohol. If things seem a little too sedate, throw in a shot or two maybe throughout the day, but then cool your jets for a minute.


Not your friend. Limit exposure. As the director of Health & Safety at the American Lifeguard Association told us yesterday, “Sun and alcohol don’t mix. People don’t realize the sun amplifies whatever intoxication you’re experiencing.” Not only does it make you more dehydrated, but the heat mixed with the booze can also increase your risk of heat stroke. Plus, you’re not the greatest at keeping track of time right now, which increases the probability of sunburn.


If, in spite of doing all these things correctly, you still get too drunk or tired, and for whatever reason, you can’t nap or aren’t the napping type, you probably just need to introduce a little legal speed into the scenario: Caffeine can perk you up, or just chugging more water might reinstate some equilibrium until you can drink again.

What matters is that you can’t give up on this. Day drinking opportunities don’t come around often, and should never be squandered. You must do whatever it takes to get yourself back on course so you can simply keep drinking for another full six to 12 hours. This is the only way to live your life exactly as you always imagined it: With a mild buzz, during daylight hours, with no loss of honor.