I always forget Americans can't drink till they are 21, I'm so glad it's 19 in Ontario. I would recommend scotch whiskey, but it's a bit of an acquired taste and you may need to dry a couple of labels till you find one you like. Some taste more like bog then others. Personally i would recommend Aberlour, it's relatively inexpensive for a scotch and has pleasant taste and odor .
If you want to get drunk, but not sick, stick to clear spirits, and drink it neat or on the rocks. No citrus, no sugar, no brown sauce.
Alcohol is overrated.
Baileys or a nice whiskey.
Drinking age is 18 here in the UK. I was burned out on alcoholism by the time i was 21. I see no reason to drink cans of lager or any of that shit anymore. A nice home made beer is a different story though.
A good triple filtered Vodka in smooth natural orange juice over ice is cheap and trashy but oh so nice.
Non-bottom of the barrel generic beer. Non-bottom of the barrel wine. When you're at the liquor store, find the cheapest items they have in wine or beer section and direct your gaze away and towards the next step up in price bracket. You will leave with reasonably drinkable product. It may not seem like there would be a difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $15, and sometimes there isn't, but it's a good general rule if you don't know what you're looking for. Same with the $8 six pack of beer vs. the $12.
Leave the stronger stuff for later. You won't have developed the palate for it yet. Good quality bourbon or whiskey will probably be lost on you if you're not comfortable with alcholic drink just yet. Would be waste of money.
Good introduction to cocktails is maybe the classic screwdriver (vodka + orange juice).
edit--- Oh! About tequila, there is a major canyon of a quality gap between cheap shit and high quality tequila. Good agave tequila is my favorite hard liquor.
I would skip beer totally at your age, unless you like having a full stomach and pissing all night. Excluding Ciders, good Stouts & ale of course.
Few glasses of decent wine would get the same effect as several pints of piss fuel.
Jägermeister would be a good first drink. Tastes like licorice cough syrup for kids, doesn't make you cringe like similar priced spirits, but it's not as sweet and revolting as most pre-mixed stuff.
1/3 wray & nephew overproof, 1/3 canada dry, 1/3 gosling's ginger beer. I would not recommend drinking the wray & nephew by itself unless you enjoy the feeling of impending doom. Last time my friend drank Wray & Nephew straight he puked all over someone's floor and then spent the rest of the night sleeping in the bathroom (and by sleeping I mean dying).
Personally my liquor of choice is Irish whisky. Good taste with a clean finish.
If you want something lightweight and easy to handle, Southern Comfort or Captain Morgan are decent choices. I don't prefer sweet liquor, but you might. They're also a bit lower on the ABV list, so you'll be able to drink more without getting as drunk.
Other recommendation to avoid would be any kind of serious liqueur. Jagermeister, amaretto, schnapps. That shit will fuck you up, and by fuck you up I mean you'll be praying to God for your life to be taken swiftly, just to end the suffering. I've honestly had better luck surviving 9 shots of whiskey or rum than surviving 5 shots of amaretto.
My drink of choice is a Moscow Mule with some kind of fruit juice in it. Whichever, I'm not fussy. A Moscow Mule is essentially vodka and ginger beer, and sometimes a lime. Shouldn't be a too bad first drink, just a hint of alcohol in something that tastes pretty good.
Don't go crazy dude, you want to start real slow the first couple of months, and only drink stuff that tastes good. Drinking to get drunk is goddam stupid.
My beer is choice is Golden Sheep, but I highly doubt you'll see it outside of the North of England. If any of the Hobgoblin, or the Brewdog stuff gets anywhere near you, it might be worth a look.
Don't waste time with beer - it can taste good but is generally low in alcohol and you'll have to drink pints and pints of fluid to get a buzz. Also I hear that americans have some pretty fucked up ideas about beer, such as thinking Stella Artois is quality european lager when over here ithas a similar reputation to pabst blue ribbon.
If you're in a situation where you have to order something in pint form then go for a strong cider, they taste great and can be upwards of 7%- living in south west england there are plenty of great ciders to choose from, I don't know what the cider is like in the US though so maybe this is not a good option.
Spirits are the proper way to drink - my preference is gin, either with tonic or bitter lemon or if cocktails are an option than a dry martini. Personally I think if you're mixing your spirits with soda or energy drinks then you are doing it wrong; if you find something unpleasant enough that you need to cover the taste with sweet sugary drinks then you are drinking the wrong thing!
Lets not talk about alcopops (I don't know if they're called this in US?) - these are children's booze and should only be consumed by teenagers who don't know any better.
May I also take this opportunity to mention that American drinking laws are super nuts. You can drive, vote and die for your country at 18 but you can't drink until 21? Nonsense.
I'm generally a beer guy, but when I go hard I tend to go Hennessey (in bars; for home use, the more budget friendly Paul Masson).
I'm also a huge fan of Chartreuse. It ages like Scotch, has the same kick and yet tastes like a fruit drink, like a Capri Sun almost. Perhaps I'm such a big fan as it's such a polar opposite to brandy-based drinks.