Trying an alcoholic drink is the ultimate goal when you come of age (or a bit earlier than that if you’re a rule breaker). For many people, alcohol is synonymous with having a good time and venturing into adulthood. However, you have to remember to be careful when you drink, especially if it’s your first time. What starts as a fun adventure can quickly turn into the worst time of your life (think all the unpleasant side effects of alcohol) and put you off ever drinking it again. When going to a pub like Gigi’s Hoxton and drinking for the first time, you should avoid drinks with high alcoholic contents.

But fear not, all you have to do is know which alcohol to avoid. Below is a list of spirits that aren’t beginners friendly. 


Absinthe used to be seen as a psychoactive drug and hallucinogen as it contained the chemical compound thujone, and remained banned in the USA and Europe until the 1990s as a result. It doesn’t come as a surprise that it made it to the top of this list as its alcohol content can be up to 74% and the lowest starts at 45% – a recipe for alcohol poisoning. It might look inviting with its vibrant green colour but you’re better off choosing another drink. 


Tequila is a ticket to having a good time pretty much straight away, that is unless you’re a first-time drinker. While it’s described as fruity, sweet or earthy, many will agree that its strength makes it tricky to separate any kind of flavour from the burning sensation it offers. Made from the blue agave plant, its alcohol percentage can be as high as 55% (Terralta Blanco tequila is definitely the one to avoid).


Vodka is one of the most popular party drinks that’s typically distilled from potatoes, sugar beet molasses and cereal grains. While its average alcohol percentage is 40%, it’s usually drunk straight. One shot can easily turn into another and another… especially if you’re with friends who are more experienced drinkers. If this isn’t enough to put you off, it has a strong, bitter flavour. You might want to find something more pleasant to honour your first drinking session.


Whisky’s alcohol content is required to start at 40% by law which already should be a red flag for first-time drinkers. It’s distilled from fermented grain mash with a flavour that varies from fruity and floral to spicy or dry and smoky. Whisky is best enjoyed drinking slowly and on the rocks – not exactly the party starter you might be looking for. 


Even though it’s made from distilling wine (that doesn’t have a high alcohol content), brandy can contain from 35 to 60% alcohol by volume. You might say that mixing it with another beverage should solve the problem but brandy has a nice, fruity flavour on its own and doesn’t have to be complemented by anything else. It’s best to wait until you can fully appreciate it. 

Now you know which alcoholic beverages are best to stay away from. At least for now. 

As long as you remember to drink in moderation and have some food before drinking, you should be fine. Stay safe and stay hydrated.