We are very much into the holiday season right now – and that means parties and gatherings of family and friends. This past weekend, my husband and I hosted our very first party in our new(ish) home, and it was such a great experience to bring our friends together, especially at this time of year. I’ll admit I was thinking a lot about all of the details. Everything from the music, to the food and drinks to even timing baking my classic chocolate chip sea salt cookies to right before everybody got there so that the whole house smelled delicious. It’s not about things being perfect – because trying to be perfect never works out, and is never really fun for anyone involved. I just want my family and friends to feel as welcome to my home as possible – not just during a party, but anytime.
Our guests ranged from toddlers to grownups, some of whom walked or took transit to our place, and some who drove. Given that – I knew one of the most important things to plan for the occasion was what I was serving to drink. I went to the LCBO to pick up a selection of wine and beer, plus had a bottle of champagne that I was looking forward to open. But it’s even more important to plan and serve non-alcoholic drinks. It doesn’t take anything away from the festivities to be a host that offers responsible options – and really, it’s your responsibility to do so – and your guests will be thankful that you did. Beyond the numerous safety reasons for drinking responsibly, I know that I personally don’t ever want to deal with a massive hangover for a day (or two) after a really fun night.
As always, the LCBO is encouraging everyone to drink responsibly this holiday season. That is why they have partnered with Flow Alkaline Water to encourage everyone to have holiday parties that you and your guests will never forget, and moments you'll actually remember (now that’s a great idea.) You’ll be able to find special LCBOxflow water handed out at LCBO locations across Ontario and at events throughout the city, reminding everyone to stay hydrated and drink responsibly.
Here are some suggestions on how you can do this when hosting at home:
· Take water breaks between alcoholic drinks! It’s so important for staying hydrated, and it probably means you’ll drink less alcohol overall.
· Make low and no alcohol options available. Besides lots of water, I think it’s great to offer one or two mocktail options. Pop and juice are fine, but I think putting some effort into a non-alcoholic makes your guests that aren’t drinking alcohol feel a little more special. I made a ginger lemon sparkling soda recently with homemade ginger syrup and a candied ginger garnish recently, and it was a big hit.
· Food – every party is different, but make sure you have food that lasts throughout the evening. I think something that has protein and fat will fill people up a little more than chips – so cheese and charcuterie platters, guacamole – all great. And of course, veggies pack a lot of water and help people stay hydrated as well.
· Dance break! A great excuse to put down your drink and move for a while.
· And the most important thing, OF COURSE, is to plan a safe drive home/make sure your guests have a safe ride home.
For more tips on how to keep all the fun and still host responsibly, LCBOxflow have more tips for you here at alwaystakingcare.ca. There are a ton of great food and mocktail recipes for entertaining at any time of the day. The New Old Fashioned looks incredibly elegant and will likely be a new favourite of mine.
Wishing you the Happiest Holidays, all the best for 2019 and please, always take care.