6 Tips for Serving Alcohol Safely At a Dinner Party


As many of us know, the one common staple in social gatherings or outing events is alcohol. It can be used as a social lubricant to break the ice in conversations, used to accommodate a meal, or anything else in between. In some cases, alcohol is a necessity at these events. However, along with serving alcohol comes responsibility. 

Worth noting, responsibility is assigned to both the drinker and the server. According to Whiskey Watch, “Without getting into details about what irresponsibility with alcohol can lead to, simply put, it’s important to establish reasonable serving rules that you can feel good about.” In extreme cases, it can mean the difference between being in real trouble or not. 

That being said, understanding the importance of responsibility is not to scare you away from serving alcohol as much as it is a guide on how to do it. Especially at an event like a dinner party where there might be minors, there are several factors to address. Overall, it requires finding a balance between being fair and strict with who and when to serve. 

If done correctly, you can expect to be invited to host or join other similar events in the near future. While that might not necessarily be a goal of yours, the point of serving alcohol responsibly is to minimize liabilities and ensure a safe environment. With this in mind, let’s go over six tips for serving alcohol safely at a dinner party.

#1: Serve Interesting/Creative Non-Alcoholic Options 

If safety is your number one priority, why not consider serving non-alcoholic drinks at your dinner party? This tip can eliminate any troubles that might come as a result of over-serving alcohol. However, if you want to implement this tip, make sure to serve interesting and creative drinks. 

Not making an effort to provide your guests with fun “mocktails” can reduce the excitement associated with attending social gatherings. Serving drinks such as a virgin margarita or cold brew julep can add some creativity to your event without having to worry about alcohol responsibility.

#2: Hire a Certified Bartender

As far as proven methods to serve alcohol safely at a dinner party, it doesn’t get more responsible than hiring a certified bartender. Not only are bartenders trained to avoid over-serving, but they also have additional benefits such as spotting minors, alcoholics, and other similar hassles that might cause a disturbance in your dinner party. These are the reasons why clubs and bars use trained and proven bartenders at their events. By all accounts, they are worth every penny it takes to have them at your dinner party.

#3: Use Narrow-Based Beer & Wine Glasses 

One sneaky way to avoid over-serving alcoholic drinks at your dinner party is to use narrow-based beer and wine glasses. Doing so allows you to serve more quantity of drinks in a way that doesn’t encourage trouble. These glasses keep portions smaller without making it obvious. They are even more effective if your dinner party is serving stronger drinks that can easily cause some disturbance. In the end, these sneaky qualities will leave you with an impression as a master server.

#4: Find the Right Food Pairings

Another somewhat sneaky trick to serve alcohol safely is to serve the right foods that can counteract the effects of alcohol. For example, foods that fall in the category of carbs and proteins can be effective in staving off drunkenness. Do a little research to find foods and hors d’oeuvres that complement the drinks.

#5: If You Serve Liquor, Only Serve Singles 

As mentioned before, most of the troubles that come with alcohol can easily be avoided by serving creative non-alcoholic drinks. However, in the case your dinner party must have alcohol served; a good tip for serving alcohol safely is to serve single shots only. This mostly serves the purpose of avoiding drinkers manipulating your bartending rules as a way to get an extra drink. 

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book that surprisingly still works today. Nonetheless, also make sure that your rule on servings is clear and bold. As an overall rule, only serve one drink to whoever comes to ask for one. Never let more than one drink leave the bar. After all, people can always come back for seconds. 

#6: Only Give Refills, NOT New Glasses

Similar to serving only singles, only giving refills and not providing new glasses helps in avoiding drinkers manipulating your bar rules. In addition to that, it helps regulate your bar so that it keeps a steady workflow. This includes avoiding disadvantages such as running out of glasses or having to shut the bar down earlier than expected.

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