Legal Drinking Age Day: July 21, 2023

legal drinking age day


July 21st is Legal Drinking Age Day in the United States. This day is used to draw awareness to the legal drinking age in the United States and encourage safe drinking in moderation. If you are over the legal drinking age of 21, then you’re able to purchase and consume alcohol in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean drinking is always appropriate or legal in every setting. 

There’s a lot of debate over how much alcohol you can consume before safely getting behind the wheel of a car, but the correct answer is none. If you are pulled over driving under the influence, you will be charged with a DUI if your percent blood alcohol content (BAC) is at 0.08% or higher. The actual consequences are dependent on what your exact BAC is and how many DUIs you’ve gotten in the past. 

There’s no legitimate way to make sure you’re under 0.08% BAC because alcohol affects everyone differently. The same person could even drink the same drink on one day and then have a different BAC than when having the same drink the next day. The only way to ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of everyone else on the roads is to not drive if you’ve had any alcohol at all. 

If you made a mistake, got behind the wheel after drinking, and now you’re charged with a DUI, call the Kellis Law Firm at 215-977-4183 for a free case consultation with a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer.

Why July 21?

Why is Legal Drinking Age Day celebrated on July 21? There are two main reasons.

U.S. Congress Passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act

legal drinking age congress

On July 17, 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, making the minimum drinking age 21 across all 50 states. Prior to this law being passed, different states had different legal drinking ages, making underage drinking laws inconsistent and difficult to penalize. 

Ernest Hemingway’s Birthday

legal drinking age hemingway

The reason Legal Drinking Age Day is celebrated on July 21st rather than July 17st is because Ernest Hemingway’s birthday was on July 21st. Ernest Hemingway was a great American writer who was known for “writing drunk and editing sober.”

A frequent and heavy drinker, Hemingway’s life was a cautionary tale of how drinking too much is dangerous. Although famous and talented, he struggled with alcoholism throughout his life and risked his health in the process. We celebrate Legal Drinking Age Day on Ernest Hemingway’s birthday to remind Americans to drink in moderation, not in excess.

Ways to (Safely) Celebrate Legal Drinking Age Day

Drinking safely and in moderation is okay if you are over the legal drinking age. Here are a few risk-free ways to celebrate Legal Drinking Age Day this year:

1. Toast to Yourself and Reminisce on Your First Legal Drink—Just Don’t Get Behind the Wheel

legal drinking age day toast

Many people remember their first legal drink like it was yesterday, and want to commemorate their first alcoholic beverage as a right of passage. On Legal Drinking Age Day, pour yourself your favorite drink (or the first legal drink you ever had for nostalgia) and toast to yourself.

Having a cold drink with friends or family after a long day can be relaxing, but don’t get behind the wheel afterwards.

If you need to get home after drinking, call a shared ride service or a sober friend to drive you home. Even if you’re thinking “but I only had one drink,” you should still avoid driving.

The convenience of driving yourself home is never worth risking the lives of others or risking your driving privileges being revoked. Plan to stay home or take an Uber to where you are going to reminisce on your first legal drink in a safe way.

2. Teach Your Children to Drink Responsibly and to Never Drive Drunk

When your children are in their teen years, teach them about drinking laws and the risks of underage drinking. One of the biggest criticisms of the U.S. minimum drinking age being higher than in many other countries is that it encourages secretive drinking and hiding signs of drinking.

Explain to your children that it is not okay to drink underage, but that if they are ever in a situation where they’ve drunk alcohol, they should call you or a taxi for a ride home and not risk driving home just to hide the fact that they broke the law. 

Drunk drivers often kill themselves or others on the roads, leaving family and friends heartbroken and grieving. Teach your children that driving after even one drink is never worth the risk.

Also discuss any family history of alcoholism with your children so they can be aware if they’re at a high risk of developing a drinking problem. Discuss the importance of drinking in moderation and explain the health risks and negative consequences of frequent drinking and binge drinking.

3. Try a Hemingway Daiquiri, But Take an Uber Home

legal drinking age day hemingway daquiri

As the story goes, Hemingway stopped into a bar in Havana, Cuba, and saw the bartender making daiquiris. He asked for the same drink but with none of the sugar and double the rum. 

From there, the Hemingway Daiquiri was born. This drink is strong and tart and certainly not for everyone, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try one out on Legal Drinking Age Day. See how to make one here.

The most important step is to call for a ride home after drinking a Hemingway Daiquiri. If you’re going to drink, always get a ride home from someone who hasn’t been drinking. Never drink and then get behind the wheel of a car.

Kellis Law Firm Encourages Safe Drinking Habits

The Kellis Law Firm isn’t here to tell you not to drink alcohol, but we are here to encourage safe drinking habits. Alcohol diminishes your judgment and reaction time, making it very dangerous to operate a motor vehicle. Driving after drinking can kill you and others on the road, so you should never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

If you got into trouble with the law for drinking and driving, call 215-977-4183 for a free consultation with Mr. Kellis, the Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. Have a safe and responsible Legal Drinking Age Day!