Ask Marge

Help! I’m Having People Over for Dinner, but I Don’t Drink. Do I Have to Serve Wine?

published Feb 15, 2020
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Dear Marge,

I do not drink alcohol but if I am hosting a dinner, am I required to serve wine? 


Hi Wineless!

You know what one of the best things about hosting is? You can do anything you want. So no, you are not required to serve wine. You’re not required to do or serve anything. Hell, you don’t even have to provide napkins if you don’t want. (Although for the sake of your chair cushions and table, I’d advise against that.)

What really matters is what you feel comfortable doing. 

A good host is a considerate host, but that means considerate to both your guests and you. If being around alcohol makes you uncomfortable, by all means don’t serve it. And by the way — don’t feel obligated to tell guests in advance. When they arrive, offer a choice of the drinks you are serving or point them to the table where your drinks are set up. Tell the oblivious guest who asks for vodka on the rocks that you don’t have any, but that they might enjoy… and then list all the beverages you are serving. 

Many guests who normally drink are in the habit of having a glass in their hands as they circulate. Serve a creative alternative, such as chilled hibiscus or ginger-chamomile tea served in wine glasses; non-alcoholic sangria; or any of these great mocktails

On the other hand, if you don’t mind being around alcohol, but don’t want to actually serve it, you can let guests bring their own. When you invite them, tell guests that “Non-alcoholic beverages will be plentiful; you are welcome to bring any alcohol you would like to drink.” 

Either way, it’s your party, and you can be dry if you want to.

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