Food & Drink

What’s The Booze Etiquette At Parties?

What's The Booze Etiquette At Parties?
Photo: Naomi Giatas

The sun is shining which means that one thing: summer party season is upon us. But what’s the booze etiquette? Never fear, Tash Stoodley is here to advise on the (drinkable) gifts to bring to your next summer party.

Undo your belt and take off your tight pants, ‘tis the season to be jolly. Jolly full of social engagements, backyard barbecues, sunshine and sore heads. ‘Tis the season to keep your stretchy pants handy in preparation for excessive eating, excessive drinking, and excessive calendar commitments.

With endless parties, gatherings and get-togethers, your Facebook notifications are going off. Even Great Aunt Sally is throwing a summer bash at her local community club – and you’re invited. Of course you have to go even though you’d rather be at home playing UNO with your cat.

You’re told not to bring a thing. So what do you bring? You can’t show up empty handed. Regardless of the occasion, it’s polite to take a gift for the host. If you believe the advertising, take a box of Cadbury Favourites. If you’d rather put your money on me, I suggest a bottle of something.

For the hardcore host preloading from mid-arvo, that bottle should be full of tomato juice. Chuck in some tabasco sauce and a bunch of celery, they’ll be grateful the next day when Bloody Mary gets them back on that horsey. For the annoying host you’ve only met twice who absolutely insists you must attend? Skip it. Just don’t go. Put on your big boy pants and explain your dance card is full. If you can’t do that, lie. For a no-questions asked excuse, say you’ve got gastro. Nobody wants to talk about that shit… pardon the pun. Normally I’d suggest sending a bottle in apology, but meh. Don’t do it, or you’ll need a new excuse to avoid their next shindig.

Gifts for family can be tricky. Consider a bottle of cheap sauvignon blanc for your mother-in-law. It will be sharp and acidic, just like her tongue. You can’t go past a bottle of sherry for Great Aunt Sally’s bash. Pour a hefty drink upon arrival, and keep her glass topped up. After an hour or so she’ll drift to the land of nod, and you’ll be safe to escape before the next round of bingo.

For the extended family function, take a good bottle of wine. And by good, I mean expensive. Choose one in a gift box, leave the price tag on if possible. Carry it in your arms like a newborn child, ensuring every last grandparent and second cousin twice removed gets a good look. You don’t need your children and your children’s children to hear about that time you took Uncle John a bottle of cheap plonk, after he’d spent hours slaving in the kitchen to make the perfect pavlova.

Always remember to be a good guest. When the invite says BYO booze, do the responsible thing. Calculate what you think you will drink, then take twice as much. Share the love. Leave your unopened bottles for the host. And regardless of the social situation, if you reach in the Esky and all you find is melting ice and a bottle of moscato, it’s time to call an Uber.

Check out more words of wine wisdom from Tash – wine that tastes like arse? 

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