Cold, hard fact: There's a much better way to consume your favorite alcohol beverages than what you're probably doing now. Prepare to never sip a glass of red wine or drink a beer outside the same way ever again.
1. You're not putting your red wine in the fridge. Karen MacNeil, the author of The Wine Bible, recommends putting red wines like pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon in the refrigerator. The colder you chill wine, the more it will show its freshness, whereas the warmer the wine, the more it will show its alcohol. The rule of thumb is this: Red wines taste best at about the temperature of an air-conditioned movie theater, or about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Liquor stores are usually fairly warm, so MacNeil recommends putting your red wine in the fridge for five to 10 minutes so it's at a cool room temperature. If your wine has been in the fridge for longer than that, let it sit for about 15 minutes before drinking it.
2. You're opening your sparkling wine by twisting the cork instead of turning the bottle. The right way to open a bottle of champagne is to first remove the foil from the cork. If there's a cage, leave it on to help with your grip, then place your thumb on the cork. Next, angle the bottle and twist the bottom of the bottle slowly. The cooler the bottle is while you're doing this, the less pressure there will be, which means it won't make a mess.
3. You're drinking beer from bottles instead of cans when you're outside. Jeff Alworth, the author of The Beer Bible, says that sun and even artificial light will skunk a beer. This means that as soon as your beer is exposed to light, a chemical process converts compounds in the beer into an aroma that smells exactly like skunk. And once a beer is skunked, you can't un-skunk it. Glass = transparent = exposes beer to light = skunk. You might think that a can is inferior to a bottle, but actually, a can is pretty good at protecting beer.
4. You aren't filtering your cheap vodka in a water filtration device. It seems like a college myth that putting your vodka through your Brita makes it better, but there might actually be some truth to it. MacNeil says that by putting vodka through a filter, it will achieve a sense of neutrality, making it taste smooth. In a test by America's Test Kitchen, filtered vodka showed an improvement in flavor. The rule of thumb is to run it four or five times to get a noticeable difference in taste.
5. Your motto is, "Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, in the clear." Yeah, that's bullshit. It doesn't matter what order you consume your alcohol—what matters is how responsible you're being with the alcohol you are consuming. Pace yourself, drink plenty of water, don't get hammered, and you probably won't get sick.
6. You're not putting opened bottles of wine in the fridge. MacNeil says that you should cork your bottle when you're finished and store it in the fridge, even if it's a red wine. Since the cold is a preservative, it will inhibit spoilage. That way, you get the most out of the wine for at least three days after it's open.
7. You put your "cheap" bottle of wine in a blender before drinking it. The Internet will tell you to do crazy things, like filter cheap wine in a blender. MacNeil says you should never do that. People think that doing this will help the wine open up and create more flavor, but a blender moves so quickly that you end up discombobulating the wine. The wine won't taste better or smoother, it will just taste like nothing.
8. You're drinking your alcohol warm instead of chilling it in a salt and ice bath for 10 minutes. Yes, desperate times and all that, but 10 minutes is not a long time. Fill a bucket with equal parts ice and water, add a handful of coarse salt, and place the bottle in the bucket up, making sure the ice mix goes up to the bottle's neck. The common mistake MacNeil says people make is only having the bottom of the bottle on ice. If you do this for 10 to 20 minutes, your alcohol will be as cold as it would be after two hours in the fridge.
9. You're buying flavored vodkas instead of infusing booze yourself. Use a fruit of your choice and place it into a container along with the alcohol. The more fruit you have, the stronger the flavor will be. Let it soak for at least a day to get the full taste of the fruit.
10. You're chasing your tequila. Tequila is actually meant to be sipped, not taken with a shot, and chased with salt and a lime. If you're drinking good-quality tequila, you won't need to chase it with anything at all—it will taste great on its own.
11. You're filling your wine glass to the brim. I'm not saying that you don't deserve all of the wine, but instead of one glass filled to the top, have two glasses. MacNeil says the less wine in your glass, the more it's able to open up with the air, and it will taste better.
12. You think you can't open your beer bottle without a bottle opener. You don't need a bottle opener at all, actually. When in need, use a house key!
13. You're not swirling and nosing your wine before drinking it. Believe it or not, swirling and nosing wine isn't just something that looks cool, it actually enhances the flavor and aroma—which is important, because the smell of wine is considered the most appealing part of the experience. MacNeil says when you swirl your glass of wine, the molecules of oxygen mix with the wine and all of the flavors will open up. Professionals constantly swirl their wine, they swirl it with every sip. MacNeil says if you don't swirl, you are getting about 50 percent less of the aroma and flavor of the wine than you would be if you swirled. So there you go, doing this will make you look fancy as hell and have the best wine experience.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.