A good host should never be too generous

With the holidays on the horizon, Éduc’alcool issues “real” guidelines for responsible entertaining

A good host should never be too generous

Montreal, November 5, 2012 – Quebecers are warm and welcoming, with a well-deserved reputation as generous hosts. But sometimes, the commonly accepted “right thing,” such as making sure no glass is ever left empty, actually does a terrible disservice to guests.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and there’s a lot of entertaining coming up, which makes this the perfect time for Éduc’alcool to issue its new Hosting Know-How guide, containing the “real” rules for responsible hosting.

“It’s anything but easy to change long-standing habits, such as what people consider the right way to be a generous host. It takes time to alter old ways of thinking and establish a new culture of entertaining, but that is the challenge Éduc’alcool has taken on. This is yet another essential step toward improving the relationship between Quebecers and alcohol,” says the organization’s Director General, Hubert Sacy.

Unfortunately, the current entertaining culture in Quebec features different sets of rules for food and alcohol. For example, you’ll never see a host forcing seconds on guests who still have food on their plates. But why do so many people feel it imperative to refill a glass when only a sip has been taken?

The gesture is motivated by generosity, no doubt, but it is sadly misplaced. Éduc’alcool recommends that women have no more than two drinks a day, and men no more than three. But you have to give people a chance to count their drinks! A good host makes that easier by waiting until guests have emptied their glasses before offering a refill, as recommended in Hosting Know-How.

Water glasses, on the other hand, should always be kept filled. People need to stay hydrated, and the recommendation is one non-alcoholic drink—ideally water—for every alcoholic one.

Are guests enjoying their food? “Have more!” says the generous host, as another portion is served. But what works with food is a serious mistake when it comes to drink. “If people say they’ve had enough, the polite and attentive host does not insist. When it comes to alcohol, no really must mean no,” adds Hubert Sacy.

Among the other tips in Hosting Know-How:

  • Always provide non-alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol should never be seen as an obligation, and providing a variety of beverages shows respect for your guests.
  • Always serve food, even with cocktails. Never let people drink on an empty stomach.
  • Make sure guests have somewhere to set down their drinks. It has been shown that people tend to drink more when they have to hold their glasses all the time.
  • Hosts should not drink too much. Better to keep a clear head and stay in control.
  • Serve standard drinks (defined in the guide) and use a jigger for measuring. Never fill glasses to the rim.

The Éduc’alcool guide is full of helpful tips on the art of entertaining. It also indicates clearly what a standard drink is, provides information about permits and debunks various myths about drinking.

A light and funny movie summarising the publication’s advices, can also be watched on Educ’alcool website: www.educalcool.qc.ca

Hosting Know-How is available free at all SAQ outlets in Quebec. Copies can be ordered by calling 1 888 ALCOOL1 and a downloadable version can be found at www.educalcool.qc.ca.

“To ensure a successful event for hosts and guests alike, moderation is always in good taste,” concludes Hubert Sacy.