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Hosting 101: The Best Drinks and Cocktails for Holiday Parties

TLK: Any tips for pairing a cocktail with food?

TA: Great question. It is much easier to decide on what your culinary experience is going to be first and then pair the cocktail to it than to try and do it in reverse. What we like to do when we partner and do these major festivals is take the menu from chefs first, and then pair our experience to her or his menu. I suggest people at home do the same. Pick what your food item is first and then start to pair from there.

TLK: How many cocktails per person should a host plan for?

TA: Two ways to think about it. The first is if you are having a dinner party, you should assume three cocktails or alcoholic beverages per person. One before dinner, one with dinner, and one after dinner. The second is, if you’re not pairing your cocktails with a culinary experience, plan on one cocktail per hour. So you as the host or hostess aren’t responsible for people feeling the effect of alcohol. If someone wants to feel the effect of alcohol, they can absolutely continue their evening using a ride-sharing service or a taxicab out, paying for their own cocktails.

You’re there to give them one experience and the same is true for the alcohol. Providing three cocktails or alcoholic beverages over the course of a dinner ... or one alcoholic beverage per hour, is perfectly sufficient and that creates a good experience that everyone can remember and get home safely.

One other item that we like to point out is that whomever buys and serves the alcohol is legally responsible for doing so safely. I think it’s really important for people to understand that if you buy and serve the alcohol you’re responsible for your guests and your guests safely consuming it and getting home. So just be smart when you’re thinking through how to do it.

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