Top 10 Ways to Serve Responsibly
When hosting an event where alcohol is served, take steps to keep your guests safe:
- First and foremost, when you plan a party, put yourself in the mind of a non-drinker, and reassure your guests who don't want to drink that they can still have fun. Don't force drinks on your guests or rush to refill their glasses right away. Some guests may accept drinks they don't want in order to avoid appearing rude.
- Always serve food, especially high-protein foods like cheese and meats that stay in the stomach longer, slowing down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Food causes alcohol to be digested slower, which is good. NOTE: food only changes the pace that alcohol enters your system; it has no effect on the pace that alcohol leaves your system.
- Don't mix alcohol with drugs. Both legal and illegal drugs may interact with alcohol. Be careful not to take even aspirin before, shortly after, or while drinking.
- Avoid mixing alcohol with carbonated beverages because carbonation increases the speed that the body consumes alcohol.
- Have non-alcoholic drinks available. Ideally, orange juice or tea. Carbonated beverages should be reserved for the non-drinkers. Remember it's not good to mix carbonated beverages with alcohol; however, it is better for drinkers to have an additional carbonated beverage than it is for them to have an additional alcoholic beverage.
- Stop serving alcohol two hours before the party is over, yet continue serving non-alcoholic drinks and food. FOR MOST PEOPLE, this two-hour wait will not be enough time for them to clear all the alcohol from their system, therefore be sure to find them a safe ride home via taxi or designated driver.
- DON'T LET PEOPLE DRINK AND DRIVE. Car pooling and cabs can save lives. It's the responsibility of EVERYONE (especially the host of the party) to stop drinkers from driving. Make sure to ask yourself this question: is it better to ask a guest not to drink and drive, or rather to live with guilt if that same friend died in a car crash because you didn't stop him from drinking and driving?
- Have jiggers or self-measuring one-ounce bottle spouts at the bar to measure alcohol for mixed drinks. Guessing the amount of alcohol for drinks can lead to excessive drinking.
- Of critical importance: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU INVITE. If you invite good friends who are mature social drinkers, you shouldn't have a problem throwing a safe and fun party. If you invite strangers, or people who are not responsible around alcohol, you are bound for trouble. If you have a friend who tends to lack control around alcohol, don't invite him, or invite him on the condition that he won't drink. Remember, parties are supposed to be fun. How much fun is it to argue with someone about how it's not safe for him to drive? Avoid this by only inviting people who you can trust around alcohol.
- Last, but far from least, make sure that all your guests know how you feel about drinking and driving. If they know that it concerns you, they will probably make an effort to be more responsible. Many people who would normally drink and drive will call a cab or stay the night if they know how much it worries you if they drive.
Take away the car keys. As the host of a party or event, you are responsible for the actions of your guests. The host of the party has a civil liability if either a partygoer is hurt or a third person is injured due to alcohol impairment. Remember, one does not have to be heavily intoxicated to be impaired. Impairment can begin with the first drink. Driving skills and abilities are impaired in most people long before they exhibit visible signs of drunkenness.
FACT: Coffee and cold showers do not help someone sober up--only time can do that. Arrange rides or taxi fare for inebriated guests or allow them to stay overnight.
Alcohol affects each individual differently. Even the best driver can be impaired after consuming just one alcoholic beverage. The same number of drinks may affect an individual differently at various times, depending on the person's mood, the time of day, amount of food in the stomach, how fast drinks are consumed, type of mixer used and reasons for drinking.
If you see that a guest is drinking too much, start a conversation with him or her to slow down consumption and offer a non-alcoholic drink or one made with less alcohol.
FACT: The alcohol content is the same in one 12-ounce beer (5% alcohol) as in one 5 to 6-ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol) or a 11/2-ounce glass of liquor (80 proof), even when mixed with non-alcoholic beverages. Each of these is a standard drink.
REMEMBER: Friends don't let friends drink and drive!