Revamp Your College Mixed Drinks Into True Cocktails

My first drink as a 21-year-old, legally imbibing citizen was an Amaretto sour at one of the popular college bars on Pearl Street, in Boulder, Colo. I remember it tasting like sugar, and I remember liking it. I have pictures to document it. And perhaps unfortunately, it was possibly the most dignified drink I had as a new 21-year-old — but I digress. 

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Now, a few years out of college, I've hopefully reformed my ways. I've jumped on board the craft cocktail scene faster than a bro can shotgun a beer, no looking back now. And now, friends who want their cocktails to match their food aspirations ask me how to make a better cocktail. I say: take those same drinks from your college years and make them better. 

Yes, it is in fact possible to revamp some of those cocktails that you couldn't get enough of in college into true, classic cocktails. In fact, many bartenders are already taking that challenge head-on. Amaretto sours, apparently my kryptonite as a 21-year-old, usually made with syrupy-sweet sour mix, are now being made right; Long Island Iced Teas are void of sour mix; and Cosmopolitans (another weakness of sugary drink lovers) are being made with real fruit juice. Yes, it is in fact possible. Whether you're a college student looking to dive headfirst into mixology (bravo), or are simply nostalgic for the days of Long Island Iced Teas and monkey juice*, you'll dig these "grown-up" versions of your favorite college drinks. Click ahead for revamped "college cocktails." 

*There is no craft cocktail equivalent of monkey juice. Sorry to disappoint.