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Offering wine to friends?

I really enjoy wine with meals or while relaxing in the evening, but my husband doesn't drink and because we live in the "Bible Belt", indulging in a drink isn't as commonplace as it is in some other areas.

What is the best way to offer friends/new acquaintences a drink in my home or order drinks in a restaurant when I don't know if they drink or not?

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  1. Well, they can always say "no".

    Sorry about where you're living, tho -- that's gotta be tough.

    1 Reply
    1. I don't understand why you can't just offer. Would it offend them to be offered a glass of wine?

      6 Replies
        1. re: BethanyRose

          Tough titties for your friends. It's only common courtesy to offer a beverage. I suppose you could simply ask if they would like "something to drink" without specifying whether the devil alcohol is an option.

          That way, they're idiotic sensitivities are spared, and you don't have to deal.

          1. re: linguafood

            "It's only common courtesy to off a beverage."

            You're right. That helps, honestly.

            1. re: linguafood

              would you like something to drink? an adult beverage perhaps?

            2. re: BethanyRose

              That seems bizarre to me. I don't think I would deal well with such delicate flower-types.

              1. re: LeoLioness

                Haha, believe me, I don't deal well, but I'm trying! :)

          2. "could I get you something to drink? Iced tea or maybe some red wine?"

            8 Replies
            1. re: boogiebaby


              Just throw the wine in the list of options - Coke, Iced Tea, Water, Kool Aid, Wine.... etc.

                1. re: dave_c

                  That's what I was going to say as well.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      That is what I was going to suggest also.

                    1. re: dave_c

                      Be careful with the kool aid. Mustn't drink it yourself.

                    2. re: boogiebaby

                      What booglebaby said is right on. I remember when I first moved to the neighborhood and I had people over on Halloween. I knew one of the adults was raised a member of a very conservative church in the area, and it was really all I knew about him. So I listed off, "apple cider, coke, diet coke, ginger ale, and we do have some beers too." I was pleasantly surprised when he said, "I could really use a beer, sounds great!" Because all the other adults had taken the apple cider and I thought, "phew, now I can have a beer too!" :)

                      Not that I typically feel I HAVE to abstain around others that don't drink, but I was the new one on the block trying to get to know everyone so . . .

                      Anyway, it is polite to offer a beverage. If you don't know if they drink alcohol, offer several options and see what happens.

                    3. Try this exchange:

                      Host - "Would you like a glass of wine?"

                      Mrs Harters "Thanks. Do you have a Prosecco?"

                      Mr Harters - "Thanks. I don't drink but I'd love a Sprite or something."

                      That conversation happens all the time with us.

                      1. Just be sure, after you give the list of options, to ask: "Would you like that SuperSized?"

                        Just kidding. Offer, but in a way that makes clear wine is not the only option, as it "Would you care for some wine, or something else?"

                        1. I've lived in the heart of the Bible Belt and have experienced the "horror" expressed by some. The manager of my apartment complex offered me a soft drink when we were signing my lease papers. It was a root beer in a brown bottle. She insisted on covering the bottle with a brown sandwich sized paper bag when I left with the half empty drink - she was worried someone might think we had been drinking! Very strange...

                          Just offer your guest several beverage options, just as you would if you lived anywhere else. If they are offended that alcohol is offered that is their problem. Personally I look at this as a quick method of self weeding - If they are that rigid and judgmental then they aren't really going to be a good fit in my social world.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: meatn3

                            Meatn3: I thought the original question was bizarre until I read your post. Explains a lot.
                            Here in NYC we take a lot for granted.

                            1. re: Motosport

                              I've met people who won't use their open style recycle bins because they don't want their neighbors to see alcohol bottles. My area is switching to covered, larger bins on wheels so perhaps those fearing censure will be able to recycle without fear!

                              Directions are often given by which church to turn at rather than by street name. My ex's mother was incredibly offended when I acknowledged that I lacked the interest in knowing the name and exact denomination of every church in town. Inadvertently set the tone with that woman which just infuriated and insulted her...

                              1. re: meatn3

                                Oh goodness, you should see our recycling bin each week. I felt a little awkward about it until I started noticing that the neighbors didn't look all that different.

                            2. re: meatn3

                              Haha! Thanks so much - it is very, very strange. O_o

                              1. re: meatn3

                                LOL -- because a brown glass bottle in a brown paper sack NEVER looks like an alcoholic beverage. O.o

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  I know! It was a very odd introduction to that particular mindset.

                                2. re: meatn3

                                  That's so funny...covering the bottle with a paper bag makes it look like you were definitely drinking!

                                  I grew up in NC and have friends whose parents completely abstain, but most in my age group(~30) seem to enjoy a drink here and there with no worries. Even the most conservative of them seem to partake these days.

                                  I just offer several options, including wine/beer.

                                3. I think this is a problem of perception for the OP, nothing to do with the Bible Belt. I've lived here all my life and am Southern Baptist, and it would never cross my mind to worry about someone being offended by being offered a drink in my home. They can say "no" if they don't drink.

                                  That said, it is certainly polite to offer another option in case the person is religiously opposed, or dieting, or pregnant, or like my husband just doesn't like the taste of alcohol.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: danna

                                    It varies greatly from one synod to another.

                                    We lived in a town for a while that was heavily Southern Baptist, and there were regular scandals about people having wine bottles in their trash (usually politicians) and the absolute horror when it was report that the car of a forty-something city councilman was spotted outside the home of his thirty-something girlfriend AFTER 11 PM (both of these folks were single, by the way)...local parents were shunned by the community for having had a dance for their daughter in the basement of their own house. (DANCING...)

                                    I won't name the town....but there are some pretty close-minded people out there.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Did a young Kevin Bacon and a pre-Dextor John Lithgow live there?

                                      1. re: lbs

                                        actually, the dance thing happened just a few months before Footloose came out...we didn't think it was so weird -- we were living it! (never did find a pair of those red boots, though)

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        I had to look up synod. thanks for the new word. i assume you're using that in more expansive way than the actual definition, otherwise I'd say "well, everybody in an area surely doesn't go to the same church".

                                        Anyhow, you don't have to convince me there are people out there who would refuse the drink on religious grounds, I just don't know any that would be *offended* by the offer.

                                        I was once in a restaurant w/ my cousin. We were of age, but just barely. I ordered iced tea and she a beer. Right afterwards, our minister walked in and was seated next to us. My cousin called the waitress over and asked to have her beer order canceled and replaced with tea. I switched mine to beer.

                                        Come to think of it, I amend my statement to say the actual minister of church with a specific no-booze policy might be offended. Sorta like offering the local PETA chairman a burger. :-)

                                        1. re: danna

                                          there were people in that town who not only would have been offended to have been offered a drink, but would have gotten up and left because they had been sitting in the home of a sinner, and if the Rapture came, they'd be caught right there in that sinner's house.

                                          I cannot make this up.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            "I cannot make this up."

                                            I'm sure you're right but I'm sitting here trying to take this all in. One drink and it makes a person not a good person or not bible worthy? Do they look @ the person who's offering the drink as a sinner and therefore is offended by them? If I know, for sure, there is a person entering my home who doesn't drink, for one reason or another, then I would not offer them such. I would never intentionally be rude to anyone I knew had a problem with alcohol. However, am I to assume everyone in the bible belt is a nondrinker?

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              Not everyone in the bible belt is like this! But those of this ilk are pretty hardcore.
                                              You usually get a hint of it since a major "getting to know you question" is which church do you attend. Not IF you attend mind you.

                                              I once had an acquaintance stop by briefly to return a cake pan. She had a friend in tow. The friend took one look at my dinner preparations and saw the bottle of Marsala on the counter and turned around and walked out without a word. I got a chilly reception from some of the townspeople after that.

                                              For what it's worth I've experienced this more frequently in small towns. It probably occurs in larger areas too, but with a wider slice of humanity to even it out I haven't noticed it as much.

                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                And these hardcore people really do breed hypocrisy. I remember a Sunday night gathering at my uncle's house in Alabama, at which he served booze. Lots and lots of booze. They hosted this gathering because we were all going to their club for dinner and didn't want to be seen ordering alcohol. My California-native husband and I (long-time New England dweller) cluelessly ordered beers at the club and got lots of eye-rolling. One of my uncles actually winked at friends at a neighboring table and told them we were "yankees." And yet, we'd had no alcohol at the pre-dinner booze fest and they were all hammered.

                                              2. re: latindancer

                                                Yep...they're the first ones in line, jumping up and down for the chance to cast the first stone.

                                                and meatn3, it's usually phrased "So, where is your church home?"

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  I guess I'm running so fast that I miss the nuances! Kidding...you have the phrasing down pat. I'm just glad I'm in an area now where I don't encounter this view point very often.

                                                  Now my VSM (very Southern Mother) always taught us that it is best to not discuss religion, politics and sex.

                                              3. re: sunshine842

                                                I found this thread a week before my - wow, how did THIS happen - 50th highschool reunion. Small town, lower Midwest. I had gone to the 25th, good turnout. 40th, though, not so much, but I'm thinking, well, it's not a "major" date. Turns out it was because they held it in a private room at a restaurant/motel in the county seat and the restaurant adtually SERVED ALCOHOL, and several people would not attend.

                                                So Saturday night, our reunion will be at the Baptist church's educational building.

                                                I expect a fine turnout. I am not one of those folks who need alcohol to have a good time, but I am thinking I won't be staying 'til the last dog dies. Of course, the dog will probably be on a ventilator by, oh, 8:30 or so.

                                                1. re: lemons

                                                  LOL....yeahhh....it happens, doesn't it?

                                                  You might, if you're an organizer type, get a hold of the local Holiday Inn or whatever and see if they could accommodate all of you who are willing to hold a proper wake for that poor dog.

                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                  I don't live in the bible belt and I absolutely understand what sunshine84 is talking about.

                                                  There are a lot of large conservative Christian churches in my area, not Baptist or other "traditional" mainsream churches, most are independent. My former job put me in daily contact with this community/culture. Saying how they abstained from alcohol and preaching/educating people against their will about the sins of alcohol is often (if not always) front and center of the conversation. Who you were voting for in the next election was next.

                                                  Like another poster mentioned, I was raised that is wasn't polite to talk about religion or politics outside of your immediate circle so it was a shock to me when I first encountered it. I learned quickly to redirect the line of questioning.

                                              4. re: sunshine842

                                                What century did all of these occur in?

                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                  1983 for the specific incidents above.

                                                  But it still happens right now in 2014.

                                            2. In my home, I offer guests what I have--and 99% of the time that includes wine.

                                              If they don't drink alcohol, they will chose another option.

                                              However, if I know that a person doesn't drink, whatever the reason, I don't offer. But in your case, you don't know. So if they are offended at your offer, then they are the ones being rude.

                                              1. You need to make friends with the Irish Catholics (like me)......we never turn down a drink or 5 lol!

                                                In all seriousness, just offer them an "aperitief", before or after dinner, I think any offer is the nice thing to do. Also, if you say "may I offer you an aperitief?", even if they say no, you sound proper and unboozy!

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: Insatiablegirl

                                                  It's impossible to offer an aperitif after dinner since by definition, it is taken BEFORE dinner. A digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal.

                                                  1. re: ChillyDog

                                                    You are very right.......you killed my funny :( BUT either or is good! :)

                                                    1. re: ChillyDog

                                                      digestif is also fancy sounding! so it works either way...."just sound fancy"!

                                                      1. re: Insatiablegirl

                                                        For the average person in the Bible Belt, if you offer them a digestif, you will mostly get dumb looks and a "Huh?"

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          I think that applies for most of the country, not just the Bible Belt/South.

                                                    2. re: Insatiablegirl

                                                      "we never turn down a drink"

                                                      Actually, I am sure you turn them all down, emptying down to the last drop.

                                                      1. re: Insatiablegirl

                                                        Italian, Québécois (French) and Irish here... I'd send people on a mission to that so-called "Bible Belt" with Jesus and friends Wine and Fish suppers.

                                                        ps, it is aperitif. Apéritif in French, but accent not needed in English.

                                                      2. Wow I have never experienced this!

                                                        I tend to say "What can I get you to drink? There's tea, coffee, 7up, gin, wine, beer...." then just trail off. I always make sure we are equally well stocked with soft and hard so there's no pressure on anyone to drink one or the other. Am very much a believer that if you fancy a glass of wine if you're at mine in the afternoon then you should have one, but if it's a Saturday night and you want to stick to cola then that's ok too!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: feggy

                                                          I don't usually stock soft drinks (other than bubbly mineral water, and of course fruit juice) but do buy it if I know a non-drinker will be coming. It is a matter of courtesy to have alternatives. Remember that some people enjoy coffee, tea or herbal tea as social beverages.

                                                        2. Wow, I've never encountered this at all. Crazy stories on this thread. Interesting.

                                                          For my part, I always have water, coffee, diet soda, beer, wine and whisky on hand. If I'm expecting guests, though, I'll usually pick up some regular soda, as well as vodka and gin to offer.

                                                          It could just be someone just dropping something off first thing in the morning - after inviting them in, I always make the same offer, "Would you like beer, wine, whisky, Diet Coke, coffee, water?" Always start with the alcohol first...

                                                          1. Just hope that they're members of one of the religions that believe in transubstantiation and claim it is extra holy

                                                            1. You need to find yourself some hypocritical Methodists (like me--I rarely say no to a glass or two), Catholics, or Episcopalians.

                                                              But if you don't know your guests very well, do what we do and say, "What can I get you to drink? We have Coke, Sprite, fizzy water, wine and beer." Then let them pick. To cut down on awkwardness and maybe causing an alcoholic to go off the wagon, I don't drink alcohol unless my guests are. To make up for this sad deficit, I usually have an extra piece of cake.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                I grew up Episcopalian(-ish). My dad called them Whiskey-palians!

                                                              2. I grew up in the bible belt and spent a fair amount of time in church on Sundays at your typical southern baptist churches. If you have alcohol on your home, they would look at you as a sinner that needed to be saved. So while they may not take offense, watch out where the conversation goes as they may ask if you have taken JC as your personal savior. Now that I'm apostate, I offer plenty of wine and booze and don't spend much time with those who view me as a sinner because I choose to have a drink. I find this view of alcohol indicates a closed mindedness that is tiresome for me.

                                                                1. Simple, I always say "What would you like to drink? We're having Bombay Sapphire martinis up with an olive, but I can always make you something stronger if you like."

                                                                  1. I don’t understand this stance of abstinence, if these bible belt folk really believe in God, Jesus etc. surely they have read that Jesus turned the water into wine?

                                                                    On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
                                                                    “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
                                                                    His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
                                                                    Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
                                                                    Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
                                                                    Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
                                                                    They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
                                                                    What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

                                                                    - six jars of thirty gallons? sounds like a real set of piss heads.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: davidne1

                                                                      According to my Pentecostal mother in law, they had to drink wine because water was unsafe so culturally it was different. Now we have safe water, soda etc. so we must abstain.

                                                                      I don't know about you guys but I'll be putting the dangerous wine into my body before I put in the safe soda.

                                                                      My husband typically hides all our booze before his family comes over. They are very weird about it and say things like his beer fridge could sure hold a lot of soda. Awkward.

                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                        If that were the case, He could have simply purified the water. They obviously enjoyed it.

                                                                      2. re: davidne1

                                                                        I live here now, grew up here as well, moved away for a number of years, but I grew up Catholic and all I could figure was that they had a different Bible than we did.

                                                                        However in light of the OP I can understand the delemma. There are those who are offended by the very presence of alcohol. I'm offended by soemone trying to force their beliefs on me. A friend of my daughter got married but her future grandparents-in-law refused to come to the reception if they were going to serve alcohol of any kind. They would have died if they had known there was wine in the Priest's Challace. Anyway, this was the shortest reception I've ever been to. If you want to keep a wedding recption down to 15 minutes, don't serve alcohol, everyone will leave quickly.

                                                                        1. re: davidne1

                                                                          Duh... the stance of abstinence comes from the effect liquor and wine have on your body. Not everyone gets a sugar high from wine, they get a sugar dead, or sugar lull.

                                                                        2. Didn't jesus turn water into wine as a kind gesture? So who in the bible belt could possibly be offended by what Jesus did?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                            Are there not some who regard this as a mis-translation and that he actually turned water into grape juice, not alcohol.

                                                                            As someone who has no religious faith, I like to think of it as a nice story whichever.

                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                              I'm not remotely religious, but it is a nice parable.

                                                                              Let the Good Times roll!

                                                                          2. You offer a drink, just like you'd offer any other drink whether it's lemonade, soda, iced tea, etc..

                                                                            I offer it this way, "What would you like to drink? We have Yellow Tail Merlot, Iced Tea, Coca-Cola, Or I could squeeze some fresh blood orange juice." (we have a tree)

                                                                            1. Well, if their "friends" then you should know them well enough to know what they drink, or at least if the inbibe alcahol, otherwise you possibly haven't known them long enough to actually classify them as "friends".

                                                                              Acquaintences on the other hand, that's a little tricky. I don't typically have social intercourse at my home with acquaintences and in your situation I understand that some people take a very strong and disparaging view on alcoholic consumption. My advice is to get to know them better before you invite them to your home. I don't care if my friends dirnk or not, but I do care how they view if I drink or not. I won't force any of them to drink and I don't want them to pressure me or be offended if I choose to drink. In otherwords, if you intend to inping on my rights, you won't be invited back.

                                                                              If your in a restaurant with a group of acquaintences and they gasp at your drink order, their probably not your friends.

                                                                              1. I don't drink, and neither do most of my friends or about half of my relatives. My husband doesn't drink and neither do his relatives. And if we were offered wine or some other alcoholic beverage, we wouldn't be offended. We'd decline and choose something else if we were thirsty. End of.

                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                  you are in the majority, I'm afraid.

                                                                                  Thank you for being accepting others and not being judgmental. There's an amazing number of teetotalers who choose to not only decline, but to judge and convict in the same breath.

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    Sunshine - I think you possibly meant to describe describe LMAshton as in the "minority".

                                                                                    Although I hope you are wrong and that most of we teetotallers are not judgmental. My decision not to drink is a matter for me and not something to inflict on others.

                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                      Yeah, I have to say, *most* of the people I know who don't drink don't seem to have any problem with the fact that I'd like a glass of wine every now and the next 10 minutes. And I don't mind that they don't drink. I wouldn't think of questioning their choices and I would assume (usually correctly) that they wouldn't question mine.

                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                        LOL -- yes, I meant minority.

                                                                                        I have run across some bitterly toxic people who use the situation as an opportunity to proselytize any of several different belief systems (not necessarily religion).

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Some people are just congential arsewipes.

                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        That sort of judgement would make me write that person's opinion off, so it's zero-sum.

                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                          oh, yes, I do my best to avoid them -- but sometimes you can't...Nobody at my home has engaged such behaviour, but I've encountered what seems to be more than my fair share at events outside my home.

                                                                                    2. We often host LSD families, so have options. We drink wines with almost every dinner - at home, or away, and have no issues with imbibing, while others drink, say sparkling water. So long as I know the predilections of the guests, I will have the wines available, but will not offer such.

                                                                                      Now, as we host many wine-centric dinners, the guest list will always favor those, who enjoy wines with the meal, and we work very hard to pair the wines with each dish.


                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        Are you referring to Latter Day Saints? I think they would prefer to be identified as Mormons or LDS.. LSD is not within their protocol.

                                                                                        1. re: Plano Rose

                                                                                          Aw, give the dude a break! He'd just wrapped up one of his delicious wine dinners! ;)

                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                            I'm now imagining just how interesting it would be to have an LSD family to dinner. Probably more interesting in retrospect (or one's imagination) than in reality. But funny as heck to think about.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              It would probably be 2 courses that lasted 16 hours. Instead of dessert everyone would stare at the ceiling.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  Me too, I'd like to be a fly on the wall. Like a Cheech and Chong movie.

                                                                                            2. With new friends we almost always will meet for dinner at a restaurant prior to inviting them to our home. At the restaurant, we'll have our normal cocktail before dinner and a glass or two of wine with dinner. If it becomes obvious that they don't drink, we always ask to have all alcohol put on a separate check (or ask them if they prefer having separate checks for the entire meal). Also, it's pretty easy to judge if they are uncomfortable with us drinking…something very rare indeed in our part of the country. In most instances there is no issue whatsoever, so when we have them over, we have our normal cocktail and wine, and make sure that we have a nice selection of non-alcoholic beverages to serve to them. If indeed we met folks who were uncomfortable with our drinking, it's very unlikely that we'd become friends, but if so, I guess we'd limit our interactions to doing things where we would not normally drink.