What you're drinking: Pick your poison. Actually, scratch thatthe poison is pretty consistent on Tequila Wednesdays at Al's and Vic's. It's tequila. Specifically, Espolon brand tequila, which produces three lines of juice: unaged Blanco, aged Reposado and barrel-finished Anejo. The bar's Tequila Wednesdays menu deploys them in a Real Margarita (premium Anejo X on the rocks), a Negroni Jalisco (Anejo, Campari and sweet vermouth), a Ginger Margarita (Blanco, lime, agave and ginger beer), a Mexican Toddy (Anejo, agave, lemon and hot water), a Paloma (Reposado, agave, muddled lime and grapefruit juice), and the cocktail I had: the Spicy El Nino (Reposado, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, lime and agave, served with a lime round and a ring of jalapeno). My iteration was pretty mild on the heat meter, and I'm a spice wuss. You might profitably ask your tender to dial it up a touch.

Why you're drinking it: I don't know why you're drinking it, but I drank it because it was my birthday and I was feeling celebratory and and a little salty at the same time. Which I guess means I could have just had a shot with the traditional preparatory salt lick. But last time I found myself shooting tequila, I perhaps not coincidentally found myself stumbling blind down the alarmingly undulatory corridor of a dorm that may or may not have been mine. One good thing about getting older: If you don't get dead, you tend to eventually wise up. Drink the good stuff, and drink it smartly.

What it'll set you back: The El Nino costs $6.50 and it's worth every penny, even if you're not drinking free on your birthday. Plus, if you stay away from the shots, you might even save yourself a splash of pride.

When you're drinking it: Wednesday nights after 8 p.m. at Al's and Vic's, 119 W. Alder St.