Since 21 is the legal age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages in the United States, anything that incorporates this new privilege is a good idea for those looking to start drinking responsibly on their 21st birthday. There are many great ways to do this, but drinking to excess is a real risk among inexperienced drinkers, especially on a 21st birthday.
A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology noted that 49 percent of men and 35 percent of women had estimated blood alcohol contents of 0.26 percent or higher based on the drinking reported on their 21st birthdays; this level of intoxication is associated with disorientation, coma and even death. It is common, for example, for party-goers to go "bar hopping" with friends or throw a very large party for a 21st birthday, but these two environments tend to lead to overindulgence because of social pressures. There is even a worrying trend in which newly minted 21-year-olds are encouraged to drink 21 drinks for their 21st birthday.
The key to a safe and enjoyable 21st birthday is celebrating in an environment conducive to moderation. Party planners should look for outings that emphasize savoring alcoholic beverages over consuming in quantity. One good idea is to visit a favorite fine-dining establishment and ask for wine, beer and cocktail pairings appropriate for a palate new to alcoholic beverages. Wine, beer and spirit tasting events are also a good idea, but a young person's palate may not initially appreciate the offerings there.
Proper drinking at a 21st birthday party helps set the tone for responsible drinking habits in the future.