The Responsible Host

Serving Alcohol at Parties

Everyone likes to share good news and good times with friends. But when an occasion calls for a party, it also calls for a responsible host. In planning your party, you could consider having a party where no alcohol is served; if you do decide to serve alcohol, here are a few tips to ensure guests have a good time and get home safely. 

  • Serve high protein foods - Foods containing protein and starch, such as cheeses, meats, seafood, and raw vegetables with dip, delay the absorption of alcohol. Minimize salty foods because they make people thirsty. Make sure snack trays are well stocked throughout the party.
  • Have non-alcoholic beverages available for guests  - Many guests don't want to drink alcohol. Remember some people can't have alcohol at all for medical reasons or because they are recovering alcoholics. Have soft drinks, coffee, or a non-alcoholic punch available for them. Also, find out from your guests who will be the designated drivers and offer them non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Measure drinks - Provide shot glasses or self-measuring one-ounce spouts on bottles so that standard amounts are used in drinks. If possible, tend the bar yourself to ensure standard measures are used, or, assign a responsible bartender.
  • Don't force drinks on your guests - Respect the right of guests not to drink at all, or to control their drinking. Don't rush to refill guests' glasses the minute they are empty. Many guests accept drinks they really don't want, just to be polite.
  • Plan activities - Plan activities for your guests so that drinking is not the main focus of your party.
  • Stop serving alcohol about an hour before the party is to end - During the last hour of your party, serve coffee or some non-alcoholic beverage as well as a light snack. By doing this, you give your guests extra time to reduce the alcohol level in their blood before driving home.
  • If a guest drinks to excess - Either drive the guest home, arrange for a sober person to drive them home, call a cab for them, or offer them the spare bedroom or sofa. Remember that if a person leaves your party intoxicated, you could be held partially liable for any harm they cause to themselves or to others.

Only time can reduce impairment

The only thing that can sober up an intoxicated person is time. Black coffee, fresh air, exercise, or a cold shower won't do the job. Entertainment is an art and a responsibility. Your duties as host extend to being aware of the alcohol consumption of your guests. In so doing, you will make sure that everyone has a great time from beginning to end.

How much is too much?

Under normal circumstances, the body can safely handle about one standard drink per hour. However, your size, how fast you drink, what you've eaten, how you feel, and whether you are a woman or a man affect how alcohol affects you.

A 5-oz. glass of wine, 12-oz. bottle of regular (5%) beer, and a regular 11/2-oz. serving of hard liquor have the same alcohol content. No matter which you drink, it's all the same to your body.

Cardinal Punch

1 can frozen cranberry juice
3 cans water
2 cups orange juice
2 oz. lemon juice (the juice of 2 lemons)
4 litres ginger ale
Combine juices and chill.
Pour into punch bowl over block of ice and add ginger ale.

Hot Buttered Apple Juice

2 sticks cinnamon
8 whole cloves
12 ml sugar
4 strips lemon rind (1-inch)
12 ml butter
1 litre boiling apple juice
sprinkle ground nutmeg
Put 1/2 stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, 3 ml sugar, a strip of lemon rind, and 3 ml butter in each of 4 large mugs.
Add a little of the hot apple juice to each mug, stirring to blend well. Let steep 1 minute.
Fill mugs with remaining apple juice. Sprinkle with nutmeg

Fruit Smoothie

1 litre skim milk
2 ripe bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries (sweetened or unsweetened)
Combine ingredients in blender or food processor and whir until smooth.

Virgin Caesar

1 cup clamato juice
1 shake salt
2 drops Tabasco sauce
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch pepper
Fill a large glass with crushed ice. Add clamato juice to fill, then add remaining ingredients.