As the holiday season slowly comes to a close, we have only one eventful evening left this year.

But before New Years’ Eve, we have decorations to pack up, presents to exchange, families to visit. Things can get hectic. Traffic is unpredictable. Leftovers will fail to satisfy. Retail stores will be even busier with frustrated gift recipients and even more frustrated sales folk. Has there ever been a better time to enjoy a drink? Luckily, in the bar and restaurant business, we have the capability to offer guests a direct link to abandonment and happiness…booze disguised in a delicious cocktail.

In the hospitality business, the holiday season equates to extra dividends for the staff, but can also create stress especially for the people who are working hard to create it. When an over-stressed guest seeks to drown his or her seasonal worries in drink, where does the responsibility land for drinking too much?

Without going into terrible possibilities, I will keep it simple. It is the bartender’s job not to over serve one’s guests.

The guests are not however helpless rabbits and can help by considering what their fate might be at the end of a wild night ahead. Granted, it is a great time to be alive when it comes to imbibing what with the plethora of cocktail choices available today. What better way to relieve holiday shenanigans, headaches, or simply things that are happening in the world on a daily basis than by saying, “Sure, I’ll have another Martini.” And that’s fine, but a simple thought of “Do I really need one more drink right now?” will do just as well.

Oddly, one thing nobody really ever talks about, perhaps because it is still taboo in our John Wayne-based cowboy society, is how to not over-indulge. Yes we want to scratch that itch, but why is there a need to scratch until it bleeds? The answer is simple really: It is fun. We don’t drink because it makes us feel bad.

We drink because it makes us feel good. We can forget about the problems and responsibilities of the world for awhile, and that is good. There is no reason to knock the whole practice out of existence. But one thing is true, drinking too much is not good for anybody.

So what is drinking too much? What does that look like and how do you avoid it? I think it is easy to define once it happens, but how do we start our day or evening strong and end smart?

My philosophy of drinking a lot is often very laissez faire, but I find a regimen of awareness is a better way to approach the party.

1. Get something in your belly other than a drink.

In the olden days they would have three teaspoons of olive oil to coat their stomach for a long night of drinking ahead. This allows the alcohol to be absorbed by the body more slowly, which is the same thing but more steadily, so you won’t be out of your mind before the party even starts. So have a bite to eat. P.S. Every restaurant has olive oil.

2. Watch what you drink and why; you will enjoy your evening more.

It is particularly important to take notice of your initial intake of drinks when you begin the night. If you plow down two big glasses of white wine in five minutes because you sense a driving thirst, it might be just that. You are probably thirsty and should drink a couple glasses of water. Drinking alcohol does not actually quench your thirst. This would require giving the body nutrients it needs to be not thirsty anymore. Water does this.

I find that sparkling water really does the trick for me. A good trick on yourself is to go ahead and splurge on a large bottle of sparkling water over dinner or when you first go out and drink the whole thing. You may say, “Bottled water in restaurants and bars is too expensive!” This adage may be true, but getting too drunk and spending an exorbitant amount of money doing so is way more expensive than driving anywhere under the influence. So best to hydrate early on in your adventure and you will still be making great time with all your friends as you sip a few drinks throughout the night and feel much more cheery in the process.

3. Call a cab.

We know there is still plenty of fun to be had, but when it is time to go home, get an Uber or keep a business card for a taxi with you. You can always get your car later.

4. Drink at home.

Yes, hanging with friends at your local is fun, especially during the holidays. But
hanging with friends at home solves plenty of problems. It doesn’t cost as much,
you can drink safely. and you can make sure your friends get home safely. If you
choose the final approach, offer these drinks for the night.

Location cocktail by writer and mixologist Josh Curtis

Location

Photo Courtesy of Josh Curtis

Location

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Boulard Calvados
  • 1 oz. Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Luxardo Apricot
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
  • bar spoon Pomegranate Juice

Preparation: Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add barspoon of pomegranate juice for color.


Kepler cocktail by writer and mixologist Josh Curtis

Kepler

Photo Courtesy of Josh Curtis

Kepler

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Monkey 47 Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Dow’s Vintage 1985 Port
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Preparation: Shake and strain over fresh ice. Add a piece of fresh sage as garnish.