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Aug 7, 2013 05:40 AM

Question on politeness

Today at work a friend of mine asked me if I'd like to join her and her boyfriend for dinner at their apartment tonight. We often do these kinds of impromptu dinners and I typically bring a bottle of wine. Whether it's a host gift or a "my contribution to a shared meal" given the nature of our friendship is pretty either/or.

During the invite today, she mentioned that it would be nice if I brought a bottle of white as it's hot. Given my schedule today, I don't have time to get anything prior to going over to her place and knowing my options of where to buy wine - what this means is that the chances of me getting a chilled bottle of white are really small. I mentioned this, so she said that a light red would also be nice.

Given the heat where we live, I think white wine sounds far nicer than red. I could get a bottle of white, and we could stick it in the freezer for a bit - but I was wondering if there's a good way to call and ask the following, "With the bottle of wine, do you want me to bring it for cost reasons or time to go shopping reasons? Because if you pick up a bottle of white on the way home and then chill it before the meal, I'm more than happy to pay for it. If it's time/shopping reasons - I'm still very happy to pick up a bottle."

Does that request alone sound fine? We are close enough and have done more obvious shared meals (where we divide ingredient lists in half), so talking about who pays for what isn't completely out of the blue for us. But there is something that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable abotu the request.

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  1. My local liquor store has both a wine chiller machine that chills a bottle of wine in minutes and a selection of about 10 or so white wines in a cooler already chilled. So, maybe you can call around in your area and find a retailer with wine pre-chilled or a chiller and purchase there. In terms of your question to request the host pick up the bottle and you reimburse them, I probably would never ask someone unless it was a close, close friend or family member that it wouldn't offend. I find that if someone invites me over for dinner, then I need to make a little effort [and that is how I would see the specific request to bring a bottle of white wine].

    3 Replies
    1. re: hawkeyeui93

      I don't live in the US, so wine chillers/blast chillers - I'm 99% sure that's not a possibility.

      1. re: cresyd

        I don't know if you're in the UK, but for others who may find it useful: apparently, some Waitrose branches have wine chiller machines now.

        1. re: cresyd

          I know this second option may be a swing and a miss [that is, if you cannot procure a small bag of ice at your retailer], but I have also bought a small bag of ice and a bottle of white wine and cut a small slit into the bag big enough to put the wine inside it [and it was chilled by the time I got to where I wanted to go with a chilled bottle of wine].

      2. I would just get a bottle of white and put it in the freezer or bring a light red as she asked. It is clear that she prefers that you take care of it (because she mentioned it in the invite).

        I invite my neighbor over for impromptu dinners all the time, as well. We are good friends, we share ingredients, no one keeps score, etc. I like her to bring the wine because it is a way for her to contribute easily and it is just less hassle for me. I would feel weird if she started asking why and making any sort of "deal" out of it...when the purpose of the request was to make things easier. Maybe that is why it feels strange to you. It was just a simple request and not a big deal, so I would just go with the flow.

        5 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          Thanks - as far as friends go, we have the most informal relationship that I have with anyone I know. Including my parents - once she called me to ask if I wanted to do dinner that very night, suggested I host it at my place, that I buy the main ingredients, she would partially reimburse me and she would do the majority of cooking - and none of this felt rude or awkward. So it is definitely a different relationship regarding etiquette and manners, but something about this just felt off to me.

          1. re: cresyd

            Well that sounds like you can be pretty honest like in:
            "Hey Sue, I might have trouble getting something cold. If you're hitting the store can you pick one up and I'll reimburse you? Get a nice bottle. "
            Or, if she can't...
            "I'll be running late so it might not be chilled. We can throw it in the freezer for a bit" (or in an ice/water mix. It will chill in no time).
            It's good to have such casual friends. Takes a lot of the pressure off.

            1. re: bobbert

              Normally yes - but I think in this case it was also a situation where a question popped in my head that I wouldn't think of asking anyone else ever, but might have asked her.

              In retrospect, I'm sure I also thought of the question because recently a friend hosted a goodbye meal for a friend where all guests were going to bring different dishes, wine, etc. The guest of honor was running late, but also wanted to pick up some "special" items to treat the rest of us. Her intended kind gesture resulted in her arriving an hour and a half late leaving us a) hungry and b) wishing we'd had the extra time with her. I know had she called me and asked me to pick up her items (to be reimbursed or not), I would have been very happy to in order to spend more time with her.

              Ultimately everything worked out last night, bottle of white went in the freezer.

          2. re: sedimental

            +1 - it doesn't seem as if it's a cost thing - but one less thing for her to think of as host. Since you mentioned the issue with chilling the white, and she suggested an alternative, I'd definitely not press the question to her - as she's made her request known. Personally, I'd bring a white & a light red - chill the white as soon as I got there.... and also have the red on hand if someone wanted a drink asap. Even if you open the white when it's not fully chilled, it should be fully chilled by the time you'd pour it again.

            1. re: The Oracle

              This. Asking another question about it is inviting her to say, oh, just never mind, I'll get it myself. Which is irritating. Just get a light red. You'll live. It's not as if drinking the white is going to instantly just make you so, so much more cooler that it seems 100% important that you get a chilled white and only have that to drink. If you WANT one, I would do what Oracle says and get a bottle of white AND light red so tehre's somethign immediately to drink, and stick the white in the freezer when you arrive.

          3. Your friend has a freezer with ice in it I hope. Buy a non chilled bottle of white. When you get to your friend's place, find a deep bucket/pot/whatever and fill it with ice and water. Put the bottle in and give it a twirl every few minutes. Should be chilled enough to drink in 10 minutes or so.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bkeats

              Add salt to that bucket of ice and water and it'll chill even faster!

            2. If your relationship with your friend is close and casual enough for "do you want me to bring it for cost reasons" not to be misinterpreted, go ahead. Those are the words that I'd think could be "uncomfortable".............. depending.

              1. I think your solution is reasonable and if you backed it up with please choose a white wine that you like, it might even be an incentive. I would not do this unless it was a really close friend.