Never underestimate buying calls or premiums, since they may save you a bad hangover. You'll get a feel for which brands and varieties make you feel like you've been run over by a trolley the next morning. Personally I love a good mid-grade vodka like Svedka or Finlandia. They've got the perfect clean taste without the prestige and marketing of Goose or Chopin. Never order anything involving whiskey unless you name your brand. The well stuff at most bars will make you sick faster than a carnival ride involving the words "whirl", "rip-roarin", or "death" in their titles. Y'know for that matter just stay away from wells. Get to know the budget brands that are respected.
You can never go wrong with a martini (not talking about the modern vodka and fruit/chocolate abominations), and most all Gins are tasty and unique. Drink a vodka martini if you must but please for the love of all that is holy leave out the flavors, unless they're IN the vodka. It's not entirely sophisticated but the Three Olives stuff actually comes in some pretty tasty varieties, just use your judgement. The grape tastes like cool-aid for example, amusing at first but a little disturbing to be drinking something that tastes like what you enjoyed when you were five.
Beware the scotch, lol. College bars aren't known for a great whisky selection anyway and if they do have a bottle they'll likely pour it on the rocks, which is stupid. Buy some bottles at home and drink slowly, neat but with as much water as you need at first to enjoy the flavor. You'll develop the taste and from there on you'll be proud to order a strong whisky (neat) on a date, and look like a big man
Don't forget to try a particular bar's specialty drink or even one that the bartender enjoys. If you're not in the mood for anything particular you'll find some interesting creations out there. Just make sure they aren't pouring super-premiums and trying to charge you fifteen bucks for it.
Oh and my favorite ****tail for when I'm already half trashed, just because it's impressive and tastes good when your 'buds are already dead. http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink13.html