How to Host a Responsible House Party Where Alcohol Is Served

Any party with adults over age 21 in attendance is bound to involve some alcohol consumption. And when you decide to host such a party at your house, you assume responsibility for the safety of your guests. If you want to know how to host a responsible house party where alcohol is served, the following tips can help you.

Don't be a pusher Sure, you want your guests to have fun at a house party where alcohol is served, but that doesn't mean you need to push drinks down their throats or rush to refill any glass that appears less than half full. Some typically light drinkers may perceive this as pressure to drink more and may consume more than they planned upon as a result. Remember, having some sober folks at your party isn't a bad thing; they can help you keep an eye on the folks who aren't! If you're serving mixed drinks, measure out the alcohol portions carefully; just eyeballing it could leave you with a house full of tipsy party guests in no time flat.

Serve food -- not drugs or soda No need to make it a four-course dinner party, but when you're hosting a house party where alcohol is served, it's a responsible choice to also serve some food. The best appetizers include basics like meat and cheese trays or anything else high in protein, because protein takes longer to digest and thus slows down alcohol absorption. What you don't want to include on your snack table is carbonated beverages, which can speed up the body's alcohol consumption. However, having some other non-alcoholic beverages -- like bottled water, orange juice and tea -- on hand is a great idea, because this supports responsible drinking and keeps your designated drivers from feeling excluded. And, of course, you know that leaving out the illegal drugs is a no-brainer, but even aspirin and other over-the-counter drugs can interact with alcohol, so be careful of these menacing mixtures.

Establish a "last call" Decide when you want your soiree to end, and stop serving alcohol two hours prior. This helps keep your guests from getting too tipsy and allows them start sobering up for the trip home. Continue to serve nonalcoholic drinks and food after last call, both to speed up the sobering and to keep your guests happy and engaged. But note, two hours isn't long enough for most people to sober up enough to operate a vehicle, especially if they've been drinking heavily, so this doesn't mean all your guests will be good to drive home. Rather, this step is more about ensuring things stay under control in the final hours, so that you can help everyone find a cab or designated driver without any drama.

Just say "no" to drinking and driving You're always going to have at least one or two party guests that insist they are able to drive home when they clearly shouldn't be getting behind the wheel. Remember, if you allow them to drive, they'll be putting more than their own lives at risk, so stand firm, even if this doesn't make you the most popular host. As the host of a house party where alcohol is served, it's more your responsibility than anyone else's to make sure your guests get home safe. More than likely, they'll appreciate your tenacity in the morning.

It also helps to be clear about your "no drinking and driving rule" up front by including a short note on the invite or making an announcement at the onset of the party. You might even collect keys from your guests as they arrive. Then, be sure to give your guests plenty of viable alternative options for getting home, including cab services, designated drivers or the option to crash at your house until the morning.

Create your guest list carefully Have a girlfriend who is known for drinking until she blacks out or a co-worker who always gets aggressive when he drinks? Unless not inviting them is going to end a friendship or create major tension at work, keep these types of problem drinkers off your guest list. The same goes for strangers, because you have no idea how they'll react to alcohol. If you simply must invite someone who you know can't handle their liquor, have a talk with them up front about taking it easy or even ask them to be one of your designated drivers. In general, a short guest list is better than a long one, because the fewer people you have to keep track of, the easier it will be to remain a responsible host.

As you can see, when you host a house party where alcohol is served, you assume a great deal of responsibility. Hosting this type of party can still be fun, especially if you follow these guidelines, but it's generally more work than play. Hopefully, however, your guests will return the favor, and next time it will be your turn to cut loose a little while someone else takes on the worry.

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