Tips on Sipping and Serving

The holiday season is just around the corner. That usually means parties, get-togethers and celebrations, and many of them will involve eating and drinking. It’s your responsibility as a guest or a host to manage each event without putting yourself or your guests in jeopardy. Here are a few tips on how to be a responsible host and keep your guests safe:

Hosting a Youth or Young Adult Event:

  • Do not serve alcohol or allow alcohol to be brought in if your guests are under age 21. It’s that simple. It’s illegal to serve alcohol to anyone under 21.
  • Plan the event with the youth so they can choose the food and non-alcoholic drinks they would like to have.
  • Themes often make a party more memorable and can help when picking out decorations, food and activities.
  • Assure other parents that the event will have adult supervision and no alcohol.

Hosting an Adult Event Involving Alcohol:

  • Serve non-salty food before people start drinking. High protein foods and carbohydrates are best because they will fill people up and slow the absorption of alcohol. High protein snacks include cheese, meats and unsalted nuts; carbs include crackers and breads, pasta and fruit.
  • Drinking should not be a primary activity, and no one should be pressured to drink alcoholic beverages. Have non-alcoholic beverages available, attractively displayed and easily accessible.
  • If you are serving pre-made drinks or punch with alcohol in it, label it as containing alcohol.
  • Ask friends and family (or employees if it’s a business function) to volunteer to be designated drivers in advance.
  • Do not encourage or tolerate excessive drinking. Don’t forget that anyone who serves alcohol to guests, employees or customers is liable for any consequences that may occur because of intoxication.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the end of the event to give guests time to sober up. Only time will allow someone to become sober. Contrary to popular belief, coffee, exercise and cold showers do not sober someone up more quickly.

When You Are the Guest:

  • It is always okay to abstain from drinking alcohol, especially if you will be driving. Do someone else a favor and volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • If you usually drink, there are certain times when you should choose not to or at least drink less. Any time you drink, you should consider the following:
    • Body size: The smaller you are, the more impaired you will be after drinking because alcohol will affect you more.
    • Gender: Women experience greater impairment than men, especially around your period.
    • How fast you drink: Try to never drink more than one drink an hour. It takes your body about an hour to metabolize an ounce of alcohol.
    • Tired or sick: Alcohol will have a greater impact on you if you’re tired, sick or just getting over being sick.
    • Medications: Alcohol can interact in serious and negative ways with many medications. Check with your pharmacist to find out whether this is the case with any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take.
    • Empty stomach: Food slows down absorption of alcohol. Eat high protein foods like meat, fish or cheese before drinking.
    • Pregnant: If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it is best not to drink alcohol.

National studies estimate that one out of every seven drivers on a Friday or Saturday night are impaired, driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. This number increases over any holiday period. Almost half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Make sure you do not contribute to these statistics.

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