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Mind your Manners - the Etiquette of Alcohol

Mind your Manners - the Etiquette of Alcohol

Minding your Manners, the Etiquette of Alcohol

Mind your manners, is a phrase that brings back childhood memories of our parents scolding us into respectability. As adults, much of public behaviour has been modelled by the fear of reproach by the society surrounding us. However, did you know that there is acceptable etiquette for everything? There is etiquette that surrounds drinking that will set the mice aside from the men when it comes to behaviour around alcohol.

At meals

Pre-dinner drinks better referred to as an aperitif are usually dry alcoholic drinks such as gin, vermouth, arak, dry sherry, dry champagne or Campari because they are known to stimulate the appetite.

During a meal, hard alcohol should not be ordered or served as the correct drink would be a suitable wine during the meal and a champagne served with dessert.

In respect of wines, white wine is usually served with fish, pasta and salad, most commonly appearing as the appetiser and red wine with red meat or the main course.

The sweetest of wines, a traditional dessert wine can also be served with dessert.

Digestives are alcoholic beverages that are usually served after a meal and considered as assistive in aiding digestion, most commonly these drinks are made of alcohol that is strong and dark, such as Whiskey, Brandy, Dark Rum, Cognac, Grappa, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, as well as Tequila, Schnapps and Ouzo.

It is however not only the types of drinks that are ordered and when they are consumed, but also how, that will set the classes apart.

When served as part of a meal, beer and soft drinks should always be served in a glass or in some cases a mug.

Good manners, whether at a bar or at the table require that a drink must be sipped and certainly not gulped down.

At parties and the bar

Drinking any drink served with ice demands that the ice should not be crushed with the teeth with during after consuming the drink. For even the poshest of people, this can be a very difficult temptation to resist.

Did you know that when drinking a cocktail, the one item that should remain in the glass is the straw? Everything edible should be consumed. All other items such as paper umbrellas and swizzle sticks should be left on a plate or if one is not available on the table. It is considered appropriate at parties to hold these items in a napkin until you can dispose of them appropriately.

It may seem obvious, however, there are some that forget that it is exceptionally rude to take a sip of your drink while still eating. You should always finish what you are eating before taking your next sip.

In the world of the high flyers, nobody stains a glass with food or thick lipstick, it simply isn’t done. It is considered the right thing to do on these occasions to wipe away any residual left over with a napkin when it happens.

Apparently tilting your head backwards, is only for cowboys and the rough and ready. This is never done, not only in the average drinking establishing but certainly not when rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty.

Despite what you may see happening in the movies when you find yourself in the company of the upper crust, always remember to place your cutlery down on a plate before picking up your glass to drink.

With the rare exception of some cocktails, you should not drink through a straw. Most higher class establishments won’t even serve with a straw with some of the “traditional” beach style cocktails. Take careful note of where you are before asking for a straw.

An unwritten rule of exceptionally good drinking manners that if a gentleman offers his lady companion a sip of his drink and she prefers it to his, he is obliged to offer a fair swap and a courteous man will always stand at the bar making room for the lady to sit.

When paying and tipping

Paying and Tipping can be a very confusing area of etiquette. It is best to agree beforehand whether everyone will take a turn at paying for around, and how you will manage this, it is exceptional inappropriate to pay separately for a round of drinks within a group.

Tipping trends will vary from establishment to establishment, but it is very much the norm to tip every time you order a drink. Bartenders always remember good tippers and favour them during busy times and remember their drinks, particularly the ones that involve multiple ingredients.

So, bear in mind when out on that date, excellent etiquette will impress and even more so when you are confident with what to do, how to do it, at what moment, when surrounded by alcoholic drinks.


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