‘Tis the season for responsible entertaining

(ARA) – It’s the season for hosting holiday parties filled with family, friends, food and fun. So whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner party for family or a gathering for clients and colleagues, ensure it’s a fun, safe event by encouraging your guests to designate a driver before toasting the season. To help promote responsible holiday revelry among adults, here are some simple tips to keep in mind.

1. When serving alcohol beverages, serve food.

Offer a variety of good foods with your alcohol beverages.

2. Offer non-alcohol beverages.

Have something for everyone: soft drinks, coffee and other non-alcohol beverages, such as O’Doul’s, 180 or Monster. Make guests feel welcome, regardless of what they drink.

3. Serve each guest one drink at a time.

Spacing drinks throughout a party can help your guests stay within their personal limits. Never force drinks on anyone. If serving wine, do not keep refreshing unfinished glasses as this makes it difficult for guests to keep track of how much they’re drinking.

4. Serve ‘measured’ drinks.

Beer and flavored malt beverages contain 4.2 to 6 percent alcohol by volume and come in standard-size packages, so it’s easy to keep track of how much you are drinking. Hard liquor drinks can have dramatically different amounts of alcohol, as well as calories and carbohydrates. Many factors contribute to these wide variances: brands of liquor used, alcohol by volume in brands chosen, drink recipe, mixers and bartender’s pouring preferences. If you choose to serve hard liquor, use a shot glass or jigger to avoid making drinks too strong. If serving wine, remember not to use oversized glasses.

5. Consider how different types of alcohol are consumed.

The amount of time during which an alcohol beverage is consumed greatly impacts how alcohol is absorbed into the body. Beer is widely recognized as a beverage of moderation and versatility. It is consumed throughout a meal, a sporting event, at a bar or party with friends, or simply while relaxing at home. Even though a 12-ounce beer may contain the same amount of alcohol as a 1 1/2-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor, a beer is enjoyed leisurely, while a shot is usually consumed in one swallow.

6. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends.

Serve desserts and other foods, coffee and soft drinks. But remember: none of these eliminate alcohol from the body — only the passage of time will do that.

7. Help your friends get home safely.

As a real friend, encourage your guests to designate a driver when they arrive. And don’t ever hesitate to call a cab or ask someone to spend the night if they may have had too much to drink.

The good news is that designating a driver has become second nature to most adults. According to a recent survey conducted by Nielsen Media Research, 154 million American adults have been or have used a designated driver — that’s roughly half the U.S. population. In fact, thanks to increased awareness of the importance of designated drivers and stronger law enforcement, drunk-driving fatalities nationwide continue to decline. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 36 percent decrease in drunk-driving fatalities since 1982, including a 30 percent decrease in Christmas drunk-driving fatalities.
Adults can thank their designated drivers by visiting www.whosyourbud.com and sending an electronic ‘thank you’ card to show their appreciation for their ‘Bud.’

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