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Serving only beer & wine at a party.

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  • MrsT Nov 5, 2008 11:23 AM

We're having a holiday party in our home this year. I only want to serve beer, wine, and assorted sodas and juices. I have a friend who insists I should also serve mixed drinks and/or other spirits because not everybody wants a choice of wine or beer. I told her that I really don't want to spend extra money on alcohol and spend time mixing drinks. She said I was being cheap and should at least buy a bottle of vodka. Am I being cheap and petty?

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  1. You are not being cheap, by any means...you are providing a variety of refreshmenrts and a place to enjoy them. As for your friends suggestion of buying one bottle of vodka.....it will be consumed quickly and then the guests would comment on how only one bottle of vodka was available.....it's a cruel world.

    My take is if your friend feels so strongly about the choice of beverages you have selected to provide is inadequate.....tell her you will not mind if she is willing to supply all the hard liquor which she feels is appropriate....out of her own pocket as her contribution.

    1. Any gathering offering only beer and wine would seem to me to be very spartan.
      As host you need not be a mixologist.
      Put out a 1.75 of scotch, one of vodka, perhaps one of gin and asst. mixers.
      Guests can mix their own.
      If the xtra $100 in spirits is a budget buster wait till the cost is comfortable.
      Best.
      dick.

      1. 90% of the parties I've attended served exactly what you describe and I've never thought the host or hostess was cheap.

        1. I think it's totally fine not to serve hard alcohol. This probably isn't the case with everyone, but only one of our friends even drinks hard alcohol. I think most will be happy with beer and wine. I think if you let people know you are serving beer, wine & mixers, anyone that HAS to have a cocktail could figure it out and bring their own stuff.

          1. I wouldn't worry about it, unless you know that some of your invited guests only drink hard liquor. I've done similar parties where I only serve sparkling wine.

            1. When we have big parties (50ish) that's exactly what I do. I've also included some (cheap) magnums of sparkling wine if someone wants that. I don't consider myself cheap at all. As the host, I don't think it's any different than deciding what food I'm going to serve. I don't try to cover all bases. If I want to do hot dogs, I don't feel like I have to serve hamburgers also. I don't care for beer but if I went to a party that had only beer and sodas, I'd have a soda. We have a very well stocked bar but that doesn't mean we pour from it for every occasion. It's not the guests who should determine what gets served. The more I think about this, the more absurd it sounds. Where did your friend get her notion?

              2 Replies
              1. re: c oliver

                I like your hotdog/hamburger comparison. And don't forget even if you have a full assortment of sodas, you have to have Coke AND Pepsi in case someone doesn't like one or the other. Ridiculous notion.

                1. re: Sooeygun

                  Too funny, Sooeygun! I grew up in Atlanta, the birthplace of Coca Cola. I wouldn't buy a Pepsi for anything :)

              2. There is nothing wrong with beer & wine only, as long as you have non-alcoholic options. If your friend wants mixed drinks, she can bring her own.

                I'm actually planning on serving beer & wine at my wedding. Liquor adds so much expense and some people ain't pretty when pounding screwdrivers.

                1. Mrs T I think it's wonderful you're having a holiday party in your home this year - which proves you're NOT cheap or petty. You should serve what you want to serve. Beer and wine choices are enough and I'm sure you guests won't miss having hard liquor to drink.

                  If your friend thinks that mixed drinks and/or spirits should be served then she should host her own holiday party where she can serve them.

                  I hope you have a lovely party.

                  1. I see nothing wrong with that at all. It's your party, you can serve what you want to :)

                    1. I hosted my office party many years. I always served wine and beer, soft drinks and sparkling water. I made sure the wine was reasonably good and interesting- usually 2-3 different whites and 2 -3 different reds. No one ever complained- there was only one clod who attended one year and went into my kitchen and found a bottle of Makers Mark in my liquor draw and proceeded to get wasted. He didn't last long in our firm.

                      1. I confess that I haven't been to a house party with a full bar in years. Usually it's just wine, beer and maybe one cocktail offering, which is usually made up ahead of time, or really easy to put together. It's your party, offer what's comfortable for you.

                        1. No. But it would have helped if you had not tried to explain. I would have told her that I will arrange for a lovely iced tea and left it firmly at that.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Karl S

                            Sometimes I'm so taken aback by one's audacity (not to mention wrongness) that I explain when I shouldn't. Later, I go 'man, why did I do that???'

                          2. I usually have beers, some really nice Oregon Pinot Noir's and a few white wines. In addition I do keep a half of gin and vodka, one good scotch and at least one good wiskey. I have had these bottles of hard liquor for at least three years, I have had to replace one bottle of crown reserve. Most folks drink the wine, then the beer and a few get one drink of hard liquor and then switch to the wines with dinner.

                            1. As others have said, it's your party and you don't have to do anything . . . but when I (I who haven't consumed hard liquor in years - I just seem to have lost my taste for it) host parties, in addition to beer and wine and non-alcoholic drinks I do always have a bottle of vodka or two, and some tequila and jack daniels. No need to take up your time with a blender or fancy martini ingredients - people can mix them with the juice and soda that you're going to be serving anyway. Personally I like to have these on hand because I know a couple of my friends don't care for wine or beer. So it's not necessary, but it's appreciated, just like I appreciate it when I go to someone else's party and they have wine available even though they prefer mixed drinks.

                              1. I vote no. For one, you're never going to make everyone happy. Two, you're being generous opening your home and offering people a few different choices as it is. Three, there is no stipulation that you have to provide everyone with every choice at a party, you are not a bar. Plus i'd say if your parties are anything like mine, you've already put in loads of your time and a few hundred dollars on food, never mind alcohol.

                                Hey, you could ask your friend to donate something.

                                1. No, you're not. It's your party and you don't have to serve any alcohol at all if you don't want to - beer and wine is more than generous. If people really want mixed drinks they can bring those ones in a can.

                                  1. I would only add that if you were calling the event a "Cocktail Party" guest might assume you were serving cocktails, not just beer and wine. Cocktail Party = hard liquor in my opinion.

                                    1. No, you're not being cheap and petty. Just perfectly reasonable.

                                      Even if you did buy one bottle of vodka, surely there's more you need to provide with that, unless your guests are all Russians.

                                      When I entertain, it's just beer and wine. My friends likewise. With family members, they know enough to bring their own liquor and fixings.

                                      You have a friend who calls you cheap? You must be good friends.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: JamieK

                                        "unless your guests are all Russians." Oh my, this cracked me up!

                                        No, you do not have to offer hard liquor. Beer and wine are fine for any party, IMO. It's a holiday party, not a bar for heaven's sake! Offering alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is all people should expect.

                                      2. MrsT, with friends like this, you don't need enemies. How dare someone tell you what to serve at your own party! Pretty soon she'll be critiquing your food choices, holiday decorations, dress choice and probably desend into critizing your brand of toilet tissue.

                                        Now that I've calmed somewhat, let me say that I do not think anyone, invited under my roof, as a guest, would dream of critizing my choice of beverage(s). Whether or not I choose to serve the hard stuff is my choice. I may have a very good reason to limit my choice; and that's what it is -- my choice.

                                        You are opening your home for a holiday celebration and those who are invited will likely be happy to be included. Goodness knows that they can have their drink of choice in their own home, it is the people who matter most.

                                        Your so-called friend needs an etiquette lesson and you might think twice about offering her so much information now that you know it will be used against you.

                                        Have a wonderful time, do not look back at this nay-sayer and enjoy your own hospitality. Cheers!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Sherri

                                          She was out of line.I have a full liquor cabinet in my house but only because I live by a beach and I have a constant array of people coming and going. Seriously three SETS of guest in less than a month! Anyway I did not keep all this stuff on hand when I didn't have guest so unless you have a heavy drinker or entertain a lot it would be a huge expense.
                                          Aside from that when I hosted parties before I did beer, wine, one mixed specialty cocktail,water,soda (diet, regular,clear), ice tea,and coffee.I used to skip the coffee but someone always asks for it.
                                          I think the juice makes people look for the vodka.

                                        2. Absolutely not. There are a wide variety of options and if she doesn't happen to like the alcoholic ones, she can drink a juice or a coke. The only problems I ever have at parties is when the host goes overboard on alcoholic beverages but can only offer non-drinkers/designated drivers warm tap water as an option. As long as both drinkers and non-drinkers have an option, I think you're in good shape. There's nothing to say that there has to be as many options as you'd find at a bar.

                                          1. You're entirely reasonable to serve what you wish for whatever the reasons. You're being neither cheap nor petty and your friend was just out of line. I'd hope you'll be able to set aside what she said and enjoy your party.

                                            1. In todays litigious society I think you are being very very prudent! I would say it is a beer and wine, or feel free to BYOB spirits. Your friend was totally out of line, and maybe she should host her own party.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                How is serving beer and wine more prudent than serving liquor? One beer = one glass of wine = one shot of liquor. Alcohol is alcohol no matter in what form it's served.

                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                  I don't know about where you are, but very few liquor drinks consumed by my friends or poured at bars near me consist of only one shot. When I pour for myself or get a drink at a bar, it's probably at least a double (not that I order it that way. It's just how bartenders pour). And those go down a lot quicker than a glass of wine.

                                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                                    I've worked in bars and I know that most liquor drinks are more than 1 shot, usually by 1 count not 3, but at the end of the day I've seen just as many people completely drunk off their @sses on beer and wine as I have seen drunk on hard liquor.

                                                    To think your guest will have less a chance of getting drunk off beer and wine is naive.

                                                  2. re: KTinNYC

                                                    ""Alcohol is alcohol no matter in what form it's served.""

                                                    I have a reserve on that notion. What alcohol is to thirst, the thirsty goes overboard on the hard liquor.

                                                    Being a former bartender, I notice the mix drinker seldom orders double shot drinks right away. After about 3 mixed drinks, they want doubles, but get the door on my shift.

                                                    1. re: RShea78

                                                      "After about 3 mixed drinks, they want doubles, but get the door on my shift."

                                                      Wow, that's a bar I'd never return to.

                                                2. Tell your friend(?) to just do what I do. If I'm lucky enough to be invited anywhere, and I know it's a beer & wine only event; I just have a couple of cocktails chez moi and then go on to enjoy their wine/beer and hospitality. Or do as the other peeps suggest and BYOB (But, make sure you bring the appropriate mixers you'll need and don't rely on the host to supply it). Happy Holidays to you....(OMG is it the "Holidays" already??)

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: adamshoe

                                                    YES IT IS!!.....just got 3 party invites in the mail today!! I love this time of year but come Jan. 2nd, I am usually glad its over!:-)

                                                    1. re: nkeane

                                                      in the mail? like the real mail?

                                                    2. re: adamshoe

                                                      If someone showed up at my holiday party with a bottle of booze (oh yeah, and don't forget those mixers), I think I'd be inclined to take it from his/her hand, say thanks for the gift and put it away. It's MY party. I get to decide. Sheesh, Louise

                                                      1. re: adamshoe

                                                        BYOB? Totally inappropriate!

                                                      2. I think MrsT is being perfectly reasonable. Her friend is, apparently, a vodka drinker. Fine. I thinks it's permissible to send out invites that state "Beer, Wine and Mixers Provided" or something like it. By stating that the non-alcoholic beverages are "mixers", those who can't socialize for a few hours without hard liquor are given implied permission to bring their own alcohol.

                                                        What I don't know is how the liquor laws apply when someone shows up at your house with their own flask or bottle and get intoxicated on your 7-Up and their personal alcohol. I'm thinking it's a grey area, but if there are any brilliant legal minds who know better, I would love to know.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: chefbeth

                                                          "those who can't socialize for a few hours without hard liquor are given implied permission to bring their own alcohol. "

                                                          But, good grief, a host doesn't have to do that! A BYOB party is totally different than a party. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my vodka but I can certainly go to a party without it. If one CAN'T (separate that from "would rather not"), then perhaps there's some "anonymous" board where that discussion can occur. I remain astounded that any guest would presume to set the standard for a party that they always have the option to NOT attend.

                                                        2. No, you are not being cheap, or petty. It is YOUR party. If someone wants something, other than is being provided, that is their responsibility. My guests know that most functions at my home are going to revolve around wine.

                                                          Now, if I do a less formal event, and have a bartender, I do offer other options. Also, for my guests at more intimate events, I have a full bar and let them mix, as they see fit. I keep a couple dozen bottles of whatever, that I will never drink, and these are for my guests - 30 year old single-malt Scotch whiskeys, all sorts of vodkas and gins, and the necessary additional mixes, but the guests are on their own. I'll hand them the glasses, the shakers or point them to a free blender and let them have at it. If it's intimate, and they want more, there are several resorts in the area and I'll point them towards these.

                                                          It is your party and you are well within your rights as hostess to do as you wish. You are actually going beyond what I do, except for larger parties, by serving any beers, and I'm a fan of great beers. I just limit my events to wine and my guests know this.

                                                          State what will be provided in your invitations or in the telephone call, and let them sort out the differences. Maybe have the glassware and some mixes handy, but you have fulfilled your responsibility. Heck, with the different drink fads, who knows what each guest might think is the IN drink?

                                                          Hunt

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            Its your party, serve what you want. BUT just as a suggestion if you feel the need to perhaps serve something else, how about making up a spiked punch. You can do this relatively inexpensive and some punch recipes are quite tasty.

                                                            BUT again, its fine to have just beer and wine, this is just a side note to think about.

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              "State what will be provided in your invitations or in the telephone call"

                                                              This has been referred to in several replies and I continue to be amazed. When one invites people to a party, do you tell them what food will be served? And here I'm talking about a "holiday party" not six people for dinner. I sure don't. So why do that with alcohol? I know people who don't serve alcohol at all. Do people actually not go to their gatherings for that reason? Are we dealing here with people who weren't raised with good manners (the invitees) and also people who aren't confident enough of their own sense of right or wrong (again manners)? Does either party ever think that they could or would or should change?

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                Because most of my parties are themed, the answer is yes. If it's a large party, say 250 of my wife's closest friends, we explain the theme and give them an idea of what they will encounter - just like letting the guests know if the event is a "costume" affair.

                                                                For more intimate dinners, we'll also state the theme, especially as it'll usually revolve around wine, say a Rhône wine dinner.

                                                                Also, most people, who are on our guest lists, know that they are likely to have a wine-centric event.

                                                                If it's a Holiday "Open House," then there is likely to be less detail offered. Still, most of the invitees know that they will be served great wines at my home, regardless of the other details of the party.

                                                                Maybe I'm just too predictable, or structure my parties too much.

                                                                Hunt

                                                            2. This reminds me of the post regarding full bars at weddings. That was a long, thread, pitting the full bar advocates against the wine/beer only ones.

                                                              I'm with the majority here, provide what you want and be done with it. I think it is incredibly rude for your friend to say that you are being cheap and should "at least buy a bottle of vodka." Just offer the beer/wine as you originally planned and if your friend doesn't like the selection, she is free to take herself somewhere else to satisfy her need.

                                                              1. I have to agree with most on this thread, it's your party, serve what you want. I don't drink liquor much, just the occasional cocktail when going out. I do not keep liquor in my apartment. I love my friends, but I'm not willing to spend $100+ dollars on liquor to meet all their potential drinking whims. Of course, we all have our alcohol niches. At my place they expect beer, at another friend's it's wine, and at another's is mixed drinks. For a very large gathering we often co-host and each hostess contributes her beverage specialty.

                                                                1. Welcome to the world of parties at Casa Jfood. Beer and wine only. If people want to bring liquor, no problem, mixers are available. Food is available. Fun is available...

                                                                  Way too many other things in life to get worked up about or worry about.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    Hey, Casa Jfood sounds like a place that I'd like to party. Heck, I'll even provide the wines!

                                                                    Well said,

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      and if you bring flowers, jfood will grab a vase, arrange and open the great wine you would bring, only after you told him which dish and music to pair it with.

                                                                      Ciao

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        I'm with you, jfood! Does Mrs. Bill Hunt need a 251st best friend?!?

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          Thanks, but we found that our home could hold just so many folk. I think that had we added only one more, it would have slid off the mountain into the arroyo. At least, we now know the ultimate capacity! Also, I have to add that the lawn, where the caterer placed a dozen bistro tables is not a putting/chipping green, so we are probably down a few dozen from before.

                                                                          Jfood, I'll see your call, and raise you a couple of magnums! [Grin]

                                                                          As others have mentioned, I'd be honored to dine at Case Jfood, any day of the week. Or, we can meet at Brigtsen's and I'll treat, especially as my wife and I will be drinking the wines!

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            What if I brought fresh Dungeness crab? Oregon pinots?

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              With Dungeness crabs, I'd be looking to a white. I find the Caymus Conundrum to go nicely, but also like some other white blends, like the Murietta's Well Proprietary White Blend. I'd also look to a nice flinty Chablis. Even a younger white Bdx. would work nicely.

                                                                              I'm always ready to have an OR PN, but I'd hold that as an extra wine, and go with a SB-base, or Old World Chard first.

                                                                              Now, that's just me. Regardless, fresh Dungeness crab is always welcome, and whatever wine you wish to bring would be opened and consumed.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                Oops, sorry, my shorthand didn't work! I didn't mean crab with Pinot. Just trying to wrangle a spot on the putting green :) I'd bring both. Agree with SB-base. Mmm.

                                                                  2. Your friend can offer whatever she wants at her party. This is your party and you aren't required to offer anything you don't want to offer.

                                                                    I have parties all the time and they are almost always beer and wine only. I don't note "beer wine and mixers" or any such nonsense on my invitations, either. It would never occur to me to base my attendance on what's being served, or not. I find that my friends who have extremely high maintenance drink requirements tend to bring a bottle of their preferred tipple, which doesn't bother me one way or the other.

                                                                    We have had BYOB and BYOM (bring your own meat - we provide everything else) parties, but those tend to be casual get togethers with email invites.

                                                                    1. I'd say it depends on your age, your guests' ages and the size of the parties. When we first got married in our mid-twenties, my husband and I used to have blow-outs every year or so. We'd supply a keg and if people wanted something else, they brought it. As we got a little oder, we invited less people and switched from kegs to various cases of wine. Then a few years later we put out an assortment of liquor and regretted it. Even though we were in our early to mid 30's, and so were our friends, a few got really drunk. Then we had to worry about designated drivers, arguements, (NOT that trouble can't happen with wine, beer or just plain sober). But it changed the tone of the party. Too rowdy. We're beyond that now but i still never feel compelled to serve more than beer and wine. Damn, those parties were fun.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                                        You make a great point, and it's probably one that I have overlooked in my comments. I refer to my personal frame of reference, when a lot of that will not play to a much younger set. You prodded me to reflect to my youth, however long ago that was.

                                                                        Because I usually had a full bar, back in my youthful bachelor days, I never gave a lot of thought to it. I'd purchase some wines for my "rowdy friends," and some beer. Much of this was because I did not want them "wasting" my good wines and imported beers and not being able to tell what they were drinking.

                                                                        As time went on, the full bar slowly slipped into the background. I stll have the full bar, though I have to admit that the levels of offerings has gone up drastically, though I hardly ever drink any hard liquor. Unless we now have a couple of bartenders, my guests are one their own. Back in my youth, I'd spend too much of the evening mixing up the drinks that were requested. One day, I got tired of wearing an apron and just made sure that the guests had everything they could want at hand. I'd point to the bar, when they'd ask if I could get them an xxxx.

                                                                        I used to bring a bottle of wine for my host/hostess and one for me, and for my wife. It did not take too long for me to realize that MY wine was usually gone instantly, upon my arrival. Soon, I brought a bottle for the host/hostess, one for us and another 1-2 for the masses. I began hiding MY wine. Now, I call the host/hostess and help plan the event based on their menus and on my wines. BTW, the host/hostess still get a bottle, or two, just for themselves, though sometimes these get pressed into service also.

                                                                        I think that it was Lesley Gore, who sang, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to... " and to twist those words around a bit, "It YOUR party, and you should server what you want to... "

                                                                        Thanks for shaking up my perspective a bit. I needed that.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                      2. one good thing about beer and wine and no cocktails is that it is much easier to prepare- no ice, no pouring, no mixers. If you have a full bar, it takes people longer to make drinks and there can be conjestion around the bar. Beer and wine are easier to grab off a table, so it can keep movemenbt flowing in the party space, especially if you have a smaller place. Have a nice party!!

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: cassoulady

                                                                          Good point. Back when... and I did the bartending duties, it took all friggin' night. Now, it's "you make what you want," or I have bartenders to do it for them. Through observation and no formal polls, the guests have all been happy. Besides, if someone likes their martini a certain way, who better to make it, than them. I furnish a half-dozen gins, about as many vodkas, and vermouth out the wazoo, plus shakers, ice and all the little doo-dads that people often use, plus a couple dozen Riedel martini stems. Have at it. Now, it's a do-it-yourself function, or "tell Scott what you want. He can make anything."

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            Most everything we host is wine/beer. The people who know us feel comfortable asking for something else, and often when there's a new guest, we'll tell them, "Would you like a glass of wine or beer? If you'd like a cocktail instead, we can do that." Sometimes they do want one and it's no bother. But we don't leave a full bar out. Nobody seems to care.

                                                                            But I have to ask Bill this... having an idea of your tastes and what you might have in stock, does it drive you insane when someone takes the a really good bottle of whatever and then proceeds to step all over it with juices or mixers instead of taking a good brand name (e.g. not cheap well) and using that instead?

                                                                            A few years ago I returned from a long trip to Bulgaria with some different vodkas and rakias. Kept the vodkas in the freezer with the Stoli and Luksusowa. Had my family over for Thanksgiving. I offered a drink from one of my new purchases (unavailable here in PA) to my brother - straight - and he enjoyed it. By end of the weekend, the new bottles were near empty while my standard stock was still all there. Seems my SIL, who favors vodka and grapefruit juice, went to town.

                                                                            I suppose I should count my blessings she doesn't drink scotch.

                                                                            However, the best was a surprise birthday party when some friends of mine made a big deal out of bringing me a limited production bottle of Barbados rum as a present. Although my wife was throwing it, I ended up doing a lot of the hosting. By the end of the evening, the "present" was entirely consumed - by the friends who brought it. I never had the opportunity to taste a drop of it. They told me it was delicious.

                                                                            Unlike the SIL behavior, that bottle of rum has become a running punchline with my friends these past 20 years. The SIL I'm still pissed at.

                                                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                              Because I do not know my hard liquor that well, I probably miss a lot of the things that people do with it. From my personal bar, I try to keep what most of my guests like. I let them handle what they do with this. For catered events, there are usually several "levels" of liquor. I will give out the "secret handshake" for the good stuff to the people, who seem to know the difference. For the really, really good stuff, there is a secret handshake and also a password. [Grin] Not that long ago, we had a 30 year Macallan. I ushered the gentleman to the bar and had the bartender reach deeply to get this one. I then told the supervisor that I had instructed the bottle to be opened and poured for X guests, so he did not suspect the bartender of drinking it, or pouring it to someone, who might put Coke into it.

                                                                              With wine, however, I try to do similar, 'cause it would break my heart to have 7-Up mixed with Ch. Latour. I gladly share, but just hate to waste it. It would be like handing the keys to your new MB McLaren SLR to your 85 year old aunt to go to the mall, only a few hundred thousand dollars cheaper....

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                        2. Two many choices is a bad thing. Trust me. People will be perfectly satisfied w/ beer, wine and non-alcoholic choices. People are overwhelmed when given too many options - it complicates things. Go with your original plan and ignore your friend's pooh-poohs.

                                                                          1. At our parties we serve beer, wine and soft drinks only. Occasionally someone will bring a bottle of hard liquor but usually it doesn't even get opened. I've tried putting out iced vodka since a lot of our friends are Russian emigrés, but that tends not to get touched either. The exception is when we do a buffet-style dinner party with a taco bar, in which case I make a huge pitcher of margaritas, or just set out a mix-your-own margarita bar.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                              Yeah, I guess when we make the exception it's margaritas or mojitos.

                                                                            2. Your friends should be grateful for your hospitality. Liquor (or any type of alcohol) is not required.

                                                                              From a foodie POV (and yeah, I admit to being a foodie snob, not just a Hound) I'd MUCH rather drink a fun microbrew or interesting glass of wine than a boring mixed drink. And I think an interesting glass of wine can come from a 10 dollar bottle, no problem.

                                                                              Do what you're good at and what you'll enjoy.

                                                                              1. My mother used to say, "If you are invited to my house you be coming to see me, not to drink my liquor, eat my food or check out the drapes. If those things matter so much, I am sure there is a restaurant someplace that would take your reservation."

                                                                                I am a firm believer in the host's right to choose: what to serve, how to serve it, and to whom. It would be a cold day in hell when a guest who called me cheap got invited again.

                                                                                Your hospitality should not be questioned by a guest, let alone a friend. Beer, wine and soft drinks are more than plenty. In fact we recently went to a party that was called a beer tasting party. The host made a few hot and spice foods and had 5 kinds of beer to wash them down.

                                                                                He confided in me that he wanted to have a party, but couldn't swing his usual shindig, complete with full bar, multi-course dinner, etc. Chili, wings, some spicy satay, etc, and beer were half the cost of his usual spread.

                                                                                NO ONE complained about the party, everyone had a fabulous time, and left thinking it was a great idea.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: gardencub

                                                                                  that sounds like my kind of party, as well! In my family the credo was "serve whatever you can afford, but make it as good as you can." So for my niece's wedding she served cheese and crackers, champagne, and wedding cake. Period. But the cheese was great, the crackers very nice, the champagne was not cheap wedding swill and the cake divine. They just couldn't afford a formal sit-down dinner with the type of foods she wanted to serve. I loved her wedding. And they won't be paying it off until they're 50 years old, nor will their parents.

                                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                    We totally agree.

                                                                                    Graciously sharing the best you can afford with those whose company you enjoy is the definition of great entertaining. Graciously and gracefully accepting whatever your host offers without complaint is the definition of a perfect guest.

                                                                                    1. re: gardencub

                                                                                      Amen.

                                                                                      1. re: gardencub

                                                                                        jfood bows to perfect syntax.

                                                                                  2. I've always only served beer and wine. I provide several bottles of one white and one red (not super cheap bottles but medium priced), a few beer choices (regular and light), a few soda choices (regular and diet) and bottled water. I learned the hard way to have lots of bottled water -- that goes the fastest.

                                                                                    1. I don't think I travel in rarified enough circles, because I've never been to a house party with mixed drinks--even at holiday parties at my CEO's house. (Granted, he's a casual sorta guy.) It's always been just beer and wine and maybe the occasional hard liquor that a guest happened to bring.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: PegS

                                                                                        I know that we are unusual in our party throwing ideas but we tend to serve more mixed drinks than either beer or wine, in fact, we serve so little wine that I often forget to even take any out unless a quest asks.

                                                                                        With that being said, I still stand by my original comments that serving just wine and beer is more than fine. In fact, by my standards, some cheese, a few crackers, and a six pack are enough to make a party with the right folks. Conversely, a complete and well stocked bar, incredible food, and amazing music can add up to a horrible party if the host is nervous and stressed and the guests are boring and rude.

                                                                                      2. Beer, wine and assorted soft drinks is plenty. If you "want" to serve something alcoholic, how about a punch?

                                                                                        You are NOT being cheap and petty!

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: anni

                                                                                          Why didn't I think of that. A punch is a great idea if you want to serve something other than beer and wine. We have served a champagne cosmopolitan as a punch a number of times. Champagne, triple sec, cranberry juice, lime juice and a splash of club soda. Frozen Cranberries floating on top. The bowl empties many times, and you can make it with pretty cheap bubble, cava, or proseco. I have also seen Bloody Mary's done up that way as well.

                                                                                          1. re: anni

                                                                                            Actually, classic punches are making a comeback (a carryover from the renaissance of the classic cocktail). I'm not talkign the stuff from the 60s and 70s, but old recipes from the 1800s and earlier. We had a football watching party at our apt this past weekend and we had made a martha washington punch:
                                                                                            http://drinkboston.com/2007/07/10/on-...

                                                                                          2. She's the one who is petty, not you.

                                                                                            The purpose of a party is to enjoy peoples' company, not get plowed.

                                                                                            1. The reality is(and this is my business),the CHEAP way to go is with a full bar.A glass of wine or beer will cost you 2-4 dollars each and a cocktail will cost you less than a buck each.That is the final word on the subject from someone who actually knows.Take what you dont use back to the store.

                                                                                              1. I'm going to assume you know your guest better than anyone else, and are a better judge or what type of holiday party you want to throw than anyone here.

                                                                                                I love to drink - have a glass of Montsant in my hand right now - and have been to and enjoyed partied with no alcohol served whatsoever. I love to serve some form of alcohol when I host a gathering, but often just beer and wine is all I do.

                                                                                                When I got married, for example, my wife and I were very intentional about serving just beer and wine, and cost was not the issue at all. We wanted people to enjoy themselves, but did not want the heavy drinkers to get sloshed too early in the evening to take a spin on the dance floor. We went out of our way to pick out some great beers and wines, and to serve a good range of non-alcoholic beverages, and we got nothing but compliments.

                                                                                                If you want to compromise, some sort of alcoholic punch might be a nice thing at a holiday party, or a homemade egg nog. Or there is always the option of serving pitchers of one signature cocktail, or, of course, just putting out a few bottles as your friend suggested. But, in my opinion, there is no need unless you are inviting a crowd of notoriously hard drinkers and wanting them to drink.

                                                                                                1. I would find such a party frustrating, but only because I am unable - due to health reasons - to consume wine and beer. (It's hard liquor or nothing. I really miss red wine and beer.) I know others in the same predicament. I'm fine with not drinking, but if the majority of people are, it would be nice to have the choice.