How To Accommodate Drinkers And Non-Drinkers At A Party

Planning the perfect bash involves numerous considerations: the guest list, setting the ambiance, selecting music, preparing snacks, and, of course, choosing beverages. Offering a range of options that cater to those who prefer fizzy and celebratory, fruity and refreshing, or bitter and complex doesn't mean they all have to contain alcohol. A great party host ensures there are choices for both drinkers and non-drinkers, and nonalcoholic drinks don't have to be a bore. Plus, having some fun and hydrating options is just as important for those who choose to imbibe as for those who do not.

Fernando Sousa, bar manager at Diageo North America, is a proponent of responsible drinking and recommends resources like DRINKiQ. He also shares his own tips, saying, "When hosting, always provide water or even better, elevated fruit-infused water for your guests so they can moderate their drinking and hydrate throughout the celebration." Consider using fruits that are especially hydrating, such as watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, or pineapple, and infuse them into a large carafe or pitcher of ice water.

Offer alcohol-free choices like sparkling waters with unique flavors, alcohol-free aperitifs, and tasty non-alcoholic beers. Additionally, shrubs — vinegar syrups made with fruits, herbs, or spices — can be mixed with soda water for a complex and sophisticated zero-proof beverage or spiked with alcohol for an instant cocktail.

A great party goes beyond the booze

Accommodating both drinkers and non-drinkers goes beyond beverage choices. Fernando Sousa emphasizes that hosts should also consider snacks, as having a spread to munch on is "a great way to show hospitality" and "essential to slow down alcohol absorption for those who choose to drink."

Don't rely solely on a couple of bags of potato chips; ensure you offer more substantial options that remain enjoyable at room temperature, allowing your guests to snack throughout the event. Consider options like mini sandwiches, wraps, empanadas, flatbreads, pizzas, Vietnamese-inspired summer rolls, quiches, or a cheese board with accompaniments such as hearty hummus, blanched vegetables, and seedy crackers.

Sousa also suggests curating a playlist that encourages dancing or providing games to keep party guests engaged and entertained. This way, they have more to do than simply sit around and drink. Additionally, always make sure to check in with your guests regarding designated drivers or rideshares to ensure they can safely get home from your party.