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Hosting a wee bit of a party on St. Patrick’s Day

Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006

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This St. Patrick’s Day, whether you’re hosting a traditional Irish celebration or a modern-day party complete with green beer, be sure to encourage guests to designate a driver before toasting the patron saint of Ireland. To help promote responsible holiday revelry among adults, here are some simple tips to keep in mind:

* When serving alcohol beverages, serve food. - Offer a variety of good foods with your alcohol beverages.

* Offer non-alcohol beverages. - Have something for everyone: soft drinks or a non-alcohol beverage, such as O’Doul’s. Make guests feel welcome, regardless of what they drink.

* 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, don’t refresh unfinished glasses, as this makes it difficult for guests to keep track of how much they’re drinking.

* Serve “measured” drinks. - Beer and flavored malt beverages contain 4.2 to 6 percent alcohol by volume and come in standard-sized packages, so it’s easy to keep track of how much you are drinking. However, the alcohol by volume may vary dramatically in various hard liquor drinks due to the type of liquor used and the amount poured.

* 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. A 12-ounce glass of beer takes longer to be consumed than a shot.

* 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.

* Help your guests get home safely. - As a good host, encourage your guests to designate a driver when they arrive. And remember, if despite everything you do to ensure a responsible evening, one of your guests overindulges, don’t hesitate to call a cab or ask them to spend the night.

The good news is that designating a driver has become second nature to most adults, and millions will be celebrating responsibly this St. Paddy’s Day by “doing the ride thing.” According to a recent survey conducted by Data Development Worldwide, more than 146 million American adults have been a designated driver or have been driven home by one. In addition, nearly all those surveyed — 90 percent — believe that designated drivers help reduce drunken driving.

For additional information on how to prevent drunken driving, visit

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