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Are festive....err....alcoholic beverages part of your daily life? [moved from Not About Food]

The child's birthday party thread prompted this thread.....do you typically have an evening cocktail, or a beer or wine with dinner, etc.

And if that is your "norm" vs. those who are infrequent drinkers or don't drink at all, is there a different expectation or what is considered "good manners" when hosting an event?

We are daily drinkers.....after work cocktail, wine with dinner, etc. and when we host there is an expectation that will be be providing good cheer along with food and that is typical for our social circles.

If someone does drink for religious reasons, personal moral code or is a recovering alcoholic I certainly would not expect them to provide for me, but if it's because someone is saving $$$$ my opinion gets murkier.

How about you?

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  1. Typically yes, we have a glass of wine or a cocktail while making dinner. In our social and family circles, this is the norm. If we have a social gathering, wine and beer is available and most will have a drink or two.

    I also agree that I would never expect anyone with religious, recovery/addiction issues or other personal reason for not consuming alcohol to provide alcohol at any social event. If the host/parents are truly non-drinkers, it is their choice to not pay for booze.

    But if, for example, someone in our circle (people I know enjoy an alcoholic drink) would host a dinner at a restaurant and didnt' provide modest wine or beer because they needed to save money, I would find that odd. Just cut the guest list or have a home gathering instead.

    If the hosts are trying to change habits just for one night to avoid the cost of hosting, my opinion also changes and not for the better.

    1. We don't drink regularly. My wife drinks only occasionally and I gave it up, for the most part, as I got older (I'll have a couple of drinks a month, maybe more in the summer). No abuse or tolerance issues, just lost my taste for it. But that makes us the oddballs among our friends. For entertaining we have nearly every type of liquor and lots of beer and wine, because we like to be good hosts, but I can't recall the last time either of us had a drink when it was just the two of us alone.

      1. Hey --- we're not alcoholics, we're drunks. J/k.

        At our weekly jour fixe at a local Sichuan BYOB, we often end up with several 6-packs folks have brought, prompting us to leave the leftover beers (if there are any) with the kitchen crew.

        We also very often host get-togethers at our house where various alcoholic beverages are available as well as soft drinks for the odd couple who doesn't drink -- pomegranate juice, ginger beer, stuff like that.

        While my man and I don't tend to drink during dinner (soda stream bubbly all the way), we often have wine after dinner just hanging out.

        A game of poker without beer/wine/scotch? Not @casa lingua, and not with our group of friends.

        1. My husband and I very rarely have a cocktail with dinner but we always have wine. If we go to someone's house for dinner, we always bring a bottle of wine. I do not form an opinion about someone based upon whether or not they provide alcoholic beverages.

          1. I have a glass of wine before/with dinner 3-4 times per week, and generally provide and expect to be provided with alcoholic beverages when entertaining (with exceptions you noted above).
            You mentioned a child's birthday party as what prompted this thread; I wouldn't expect to be served alcohol while attending a child's birthday party unless all of the parents present have socialized together in the past, and there's a knowledge and comfort level present with all involved. If I was inviting parents I didn't know well, I might worry about alcohol related issues, such as driving under the influence, inappropriate behaviour, etc.

            1. I'd say I have a glass of wine 1-3 days out of the week, and my husband might have one drink a month. So we are in the "not-daily" category.

              That said, I would never throw a party where some sort of booze wasn't offered. It just seems cheap/bad manners because so many people expect it, especially when an event is festive. The abstainers can abstain and the drinkers can drink.

              1 Reply
              1. re: danna

                Like you, danna, less often during the week (school nights)...maybe once or twice, but on occasion, nothing until the weekend. But on weekends, yes, as I'm often either cooking or eating out.

              2. I enjoy wine with dinner and would LIKE to have it nightly, however due to weight issues I try to keep it to the weekends.....

                1. I frequently have something alcoholic with meals.

                  I was raised in a family where food was a major way that love was shown. This probably is why I take pleasure in trying to ensure my hosting anticipates what ever my guest might want. I also notice details and remember who detests pineapple, who likes a particular salad dressing.

                  But, I don't expect others to have made note of my preferences or to have the same style of hosting.

                  Maybe it is from being in the South or maybe it is from always being at the lower spectrum of the wage range, but with most of those I know the unspoken agreement has always been that you provide your own "vice" in most casual circumstances.

                  If I'm a guest I happily will accept the offerings provided. If there is wine, thank you. If there is just ice tea, etc. I can live with that!

                  About the only time I would experience regret would be something like the wine pairings at Town House - they were so perfectly matched that the outstanding meal became even more so. In a situation like this I would first see what the hosts lead was .If they didn't order the pairings (and I knew wine was acceptable to them) I would offer to do so as my treat.

                  In any situation it is all about reading the group correctly and not putting anyone in an uncomfortable position. My desire for an adult beverage will always be outweighed by my desire to be a good guest and enjoy the occasion fully.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: meatn3

                    ::::::sniff:::::::: Town House ::::::::sniff::::::::::

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      I'll share my kleenex with you...we probably should share a drink too!

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Oh no! I hadn't realized they had closed. I've only been there once, but what a treat! It makes me sad knowing it's not out there anymore. Pass the wine, please.

                        1. re: mountaincachers

                          I think I've been actually grieving about their closure.

                          Sniff - cork pops - passing it too you.

                          I guess cheers are in order that we did make it out there!

                          1. re: meatn3

                            We were going for my birthday this year :-( Now, we aren't.

                            We stayed at their farmhouse also and that was great. Ordered some of their stuff for Christmas presents (best trail mix ever).

                            Now, it;s gone. Boohoo!

                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                              I've been periodically doing searches on the Shields, hope they reappear someplace accessible for us! Perhaps they will be cooking again in time for your birthday...

                              I would rate my meals there as the best dining experiences I've had. Perfect on every level (except the drive)!

                              1. re: meatn3

                                We were lucky....we went there from Blacksburg (we were at a Va Tech football game) and stayed the night.

                                It was an incredible experience.....like you I'm keeping an eye out for the Shields as well.

                  2. It could e simply that they do not want to finance the drinking because it changes the behavior of the crowd. I know in both of our families, there are/were drinkers who, once started, get argumentative, and some downright unruly or loud, or know EVERYTHING. Quoting 2 brothers in the family, both gone now 'Shites sake, don't tell me...I KNOW!!' We've used that quote for years in jest, but when it happened, it made all uncomfortable.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Nanzi

                      I would put this into the category of (near) addiction issues and would understand if a host didn't have alcohol because of problem drinkers attending.

                    2. I invariably have a beer or two after work, and then depending on the meal, may have a glass of wine with dinner. And I have a nightcap martini before hitting the sack.

                      My wife will frequently have a glass of wine before dinner and sometimes a glass with.

                      1. Typically we were not. Growing up during the week my parents would sometimes split a beer with Italian food. They did drink on the weekend. When SO and I first met he rarely drank and although I was a recent college grad I had had my fill of the party scene and heartily believed in the you don't drink alOne stance. Now after spending 5+ years together he ha gotten into beer pretty hard core (especially the darker foreign beers). We may have one beer or wine during the week and one night out on the weekend where we share a bottle of wine. We almost never drink hard liquor especially not at home though we have a stocked bar.

                        I would not expect alcohol to be included at every event I attend. His family does not drink at all for religious reasons. I would expect to be notified of a cash bar though. I have been to many weddings with no alcohol for budget reasons.

                        1. We'll open a bottle of wine at home when there's time to enjoy it, perhaps once a week? I don't ever expect to encounter the full array of liquor choices when I'm dining at someone's house, not like in my parents' generation/entertaining--if we're offered beer or wine, okay, if not, okay too. I do love a good Manhattan and H loves a good martini, so we tend to have those when we're dining out somewhere with a good bartender.

                          1. Beer and wine is available and consumed at virtually every dinner I have, be it at home or dining out. I often also have beer with lunch. Whether or not harder alcohol makes an appearance generally depends on the flow of the day/evening.

                            When I host I always have at least some beer, wine, a bottle of clear liquor and a bottle of brown liquor available.

                            When I attend parties or meals others are hosting I fully expect alcohol to be on hand. Of course, I do not begrudge those who abstain for religious, medical or other reasons, in which case I am happy to enjoy the food, company and non-alcoholic beverages that are offered. That said, alcohol is nearly ubiquitous at gatherings of my friends and family, and I expect it to be present at nearly every get-together I attend. Of course, I always bring an appropriate case of beer, some wine or a bottle of liquor if I am attending an event hosted by someone else.

                            1. I don't typically consume alcohol with meals, but since getting a SodaStream, I've grown accustomed to a nightcap after dinner. Being in my 20s in NYC, I know few people in my social group whom I would describe as "infrequent" drinkers, though we are hardly alcoholics... well most of us anyway.

                              That said, when hosting guests, I do think it is always good manners to offer company a drink and naturally food as well. Case in point, although I am abstaining from alcohol for Lent, I recently had unexpected visitors pop by whom I entertained with a bottle of champagne I keep in the fridge for just such an occasion. The bar in the living room is also open for anyone who'd like to fix themselves something a little stronger.

                              1. Yes, I do imbibe daily, and always have something on offer for guests. My boyfriend rarely has a drink with me at home, though. He will nearly always choose a beer, or a cocktail, when we are at a restaurant, or a dinner party, but doesn't like drinking at home unless we have company. His parents are the same, save for when we dine at their home, we are only very rarely offered something alcoholic. Unless someone happens to pull out a pack of cards after dinner. If there is card-playing, there is always beer. And my mother's side of the family is much the same way (my mother herself, though, does always provide something when entertaining). Tempers can flare during a game of euchre, and the beer helps the players communicate with their partners in a more jovial fashion, I think.

                                That said, I am not troubled if someone does not provide alcohol for me at a gathering. I don't see it as bad hosting, especially at a family event such as the one in question. When I am a guest, I am always aware that it my responsibility to accept what is offered, and enjoy the occasion for what it is.

                                1. I used to drink on a daily basis, but my cardiologist told me to stop for a while. Some other health reasons have kept the adult stuff at bay, but I am hoping to be able to enjoy again soon, though perhaps not on a daily basis (5 times a week)?

                                  If I have a guest over, I always am able to offer a wide variety of wines or spirits, though mixers are usually limited.

                                  Most friends provide wine or cocktails if I am the visitor, and I know which ones are challenged in that department. Some don't have the money to buy decent wine, others lack the knowledge. In either of these cases, I would offer to bring a bottle or two.

                                  1. In a word, no. I wind up cooking more with wine than drinking it. Beer? If I buy two six packs a year, that's alot. After coming from a family steeped (no pun intended) in a high alcohol consumption rate, I guess I don't want to succumb to what I see as a weakness in my genetic code. But that's just me.

                                    1. Wine is definitely an important part of every dinner. When I'm cooking at home, and the recipe calls for wine, I'll often pour my first glass from the bottle I'm cooking with. That might or might not be the same wine that's served with the meal.

                                      When we go out for dinner, we often choose BYO restaurants (we live in southeastern PA, where BYOs are plentiful). And when the restaurant isn't BYO, we order wine off the wine list. I think wine enhances the meal (and the meal enhances the wine), the conversation and the whole dining experience.

                                      As for cocktails -- yes, but at home we tend to have them more in the summer than the rest of the year. Or, if we're in the city and have time before a dinner reservation, we'll stop in somewhere for a cocktail.

                                      1. Yes, though I wouldn't be offended if wine weren't provided at a dinner party. I usually offer to bring a beverage, whether I'm drinking wine, or not (I'm not drinking right now due to pregnancy, and so I bring with me sparkling waters and juices.

                                        1. We have a nice wine cellar, and have a bottle once every couple of weeks. We bring wine to friend's houses when invited over for dinner or socializing. Whether or not they open it is up to them as it is a gift. We don't bring wine over to non-drinkers (whether ex-drinkers or non-drinkers). And I won't serve wine to anyone when the guest list includes some very specific guests -- those guests who lack control or who are "ugly drunks" for lack of a better term. I've had those guests bring wine over for dinner, and I always set it aside and thank them kindly. Some of these guests get very, very anxious when they see we aren't serving any wine let alone their gifted wine, which makes me confident in my decision as it makes me nervous as a host to have people over who can't leave the wine/alcohol alone for 2 or 3 hours.

                                          1. I like wine, and have a glass with dinner a few times a week.

                                            There are a few members of my family that keep dry homes, and when visiting them I respect that. And I wouldn't dream of drinking while sitting for my nieces, or if a close friend of ours who is now 8 years sober came for a visit.

                                            But I do enjoy wine responsibly at home and in restaturants and offer it to my guests, who can choose whether to imbibe or not.

                                            1. I don't drink regularly, but have nothing against it. Most bottles of wine that I open end up being used for cooking later, unless it's opened when I have guests.

                                              What I've found I do have a problem with is going out with people who insist upon a cocktail or two first, wine with dinner, then a digestive afterwards, no matter where we go, even Outback! It adds time and cost that's not always necessary, and limits where we can dine. The per-person tab for alcohol can easily exceed the cost of any entrée on the menu in those situations. Habitual drinkers should be considerate of the light or non-drinkers in the dining party as well, but I don't often find that to be the case.

                                              I've over two cases worth of booze at home, and could mix up almost any drink within reason. Some of the bottles are over 15 years old though, I drink so little. Still, it's there for the sake of hospitality, and you may have as much of it as you'd like. But I've also had weekend guests who can single-handidly finish off an entire handle in 3 days—I think that is taking advantage and shows poor manners.

                                              1. Not daily life, but I definitely am a drinker, as is most of my social circle. Going out for drinks is as common as going out for dinner and when entertaining, the alcoholic beverages are given as much thought as the food (I'm generally more into cocktail pairings than wine pairing, but there's always plenty of beer and wine around).

                                                It would be strange for me to go to certain events (weddings, barbeques) and not be offered an alcoholic beverage. No, I wouldn't leave or make a fuss or actually say anything, but it would be uncharted waters to say the least.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                  I remember planning our daughter's wedding and when determining the budget a well-intended friend suggested we could not offer alcohol or just offer beer or wine. We knew that our friends and family would expect a full open bar and also I knew my husband, father of the bride, had to have his gin & tonic that night.

                                                  Fortunately the venue we used charged by the hour, not by consumption :-)

                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                    Our family are all drinkers but at our wedding reception we freely poured champagne and had a lemonade bar for the non drinkers -- that was it, and nobody complained. (It's hard to complain about champagne!) My dad did get a scotch (our reception was at his house, so it was his prerogative, and pretty much everyone in attendance knew it was better not to withhold scotch from my father.

                                                2. I usually have a glass or wine or two a couple times during the week with dinner. On weekends or when going out I'll usually have at least one beer, glass of wine or cocktail.

                                                  Most of my family and friends drink socially so if I were hosting a party/get-together or going to one I always make sure to have/bring something. I can't afford to have a full-stocked bar but I would certainly make sure there was something for everyone.

                                                  1. I rarely drink. I enjoy the taste of alcohol but it doesn't always agree with me. High cost of drink+upset stomach=wasted drinks. So I've pretty much taken over the role of dd. Which is fine because I would rather spend the money on food. At home I'll ocassionally drink wine when we have it, beer while wacthing sports, cocktails by the pool, a glass of single malt when cold, etc. But it's not a daily thing.
                                                    The BF grew up in a family that drinks more so he'll have a beer or two per night and the ocassional rum and coke after dinner (when we have coke). He is trying to cut back to loose weight. Which is hard since we are homebrewers.
                                                    Although neither of us are big drinkers we have a well stocked bar and will try to stock some mixers when guests are expected.