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New2Whiskey
02-23-2008, 06:13
Just for emphasis, I never 'enjoyed' spirits like I have for last 3 to 4 months. I am learning (and tasting) everything.

My question is this:

Say you have a guest call. They come over to your house to visit. With them they bring a bottle of (spirit)...or (beers).

Is it customary to serve that immediately? The reason I ask is because when I was growning up, and my parents would have company, they would bring liquor. However, all that liquor is still in my parents cabinets. Because.....they really don't drink. But is it a custom to serve it? What is the proper ettiquete regarding this matter?

ratcheer
02-23-2008, 07:48
My inclination would be to offer to open and serve it, but I am unsure what etiquette would call for.

Tim

bluesbassdad
02-23-2008, 09:20
I have no idea in regard to what I might call traditional etiquette. However, I think consideration for others is the key.

In that (ahem!) spirit I would cheerfully offer the guests a choice.

"I was thinking about opening this bottle of Elmer Van Russell's Special Old Kentucky Nectar 10 year-old, but this Old Bird Feathers is interesting, too. Which would you prefer?"

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

T47
02-23-2008, 09:32
I remember when I first got married, my wife and I had a dinner party for her parents and their friends. I went to the library and was looking up information from Emily Post or someone like that, on how to set a formal table, how to offer or serve drinks...
Now my memory sucks, but I recall that in offering the Hostess gifts, the giver should not be intending to have the bottle or gift opened at the event. In the event it was a small wrapped gift, and if they asked you to open it, you should do it in their presence away from other guests who might not have brought something.
That's the "formal" etiquette I recall...but I imagine the "rules" are different depending on the type of party? I am always open to learn more and be corrected. I am not in a business type job where entertaining is part of my "work", my entertaining is much more casual.

:toast:

New2Whiskey
02-23-2008, 10:15
I was thinking like this:

I invite someone just to invite. Sure...I'll offer dinner.

Now they come with a few beers. Or a bottle. So my as the host, do I ask them if that is intended to drink during our association?

cowdery
02-23-2008, 12:24
The official etiquette is as Todd described it. Here it is in a little more detail.

When you are invited to someone's home for dinner, it is customary to bring a hostess gift. Although a hostess gift can be anything, wine is customary and spirits certainly are appropriate.

The key word here is "gift." A gift becomes the property of the recipient and its use is entirely at the recipient's discretion. People who are offended if their gift is not immediately served are simply wrong, etiquette-wise. The reasons should be fairly obvious. The hostess (please excuse the implicit sexism, but this is how most etiquette books are written) has planned an experience and unless the event was billed as a pot-luck, all aspects of the experience are at the discretion of the hostess. If she wants to serve one of more of the gifts she has received, she may do so, but she is under no obligation.

This is why, for example, it is considered bad form to bring a dessert or something that more-or-less has to be served. A guest should not impose him or herself on the experience planned by the hostess.

Dr. François
02-24-2008, 08:57
I do all of the cooking in my house and have a small (50-60 bottles) collection of wines. I have read and heard that when one brings a gift of wine, the host has the option of opening the bottle for dinner or reserving for future consumption.

The reason is culinary: the host may have cooked some aspect of the meal with a particular wine in mind. Thus, the guest adds a bottle to the collection of the host for future consideration, and the guest gets to experience the meal as the host intended. I usually keep note of which bottle came from which couple so I can make the next dinner based on that bottle (at least for one course). Guests seem to appreciate that quite a bit.

My wine collection started when a couple brought a bottle of 1997 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet to a dinner party. I instantly recognized that this bottle would have been decent that night, but would be spectacular in 10 years. So, I laid it down in the cellar. If we still talked to that couple, I'd invite them over to drink it. I meant to open it for my doctoral hooding ceremony, but I forgot.

As a secondary point, is "host" now gender neutral, like "actor"? If so, please mentally revise all above mentions of "host" to appear as "hostess/host."

jbaker
02-24-2008, 12:45
This is all very good to know and is all very logical.

T47
02-24-2008, 14:05
I think being a good host is an art. Knowing your crowd, setting the tone, making introductions, making sure your guests drink is refreshed. Being a good host should be passed down, like teaching your kids to carve a turkey, to make a toast, how to mix a drink, how to set a table and when "ettiquete" is important.
I think one of the biggest lessons my Mom passed on to me was to enjoy serving people, enjoy creating an atmosphere where people are going to have a good time. Some times using the proper ettiquete makes it all easier.
And we never stop learning, I have picked up more than a couple good ideas from this forum on liquors to have on hand an how to serve them.

:toast:

cowdery
02-24-2008, 22:01
I had a friend back in Louisville who was the consummate hostess. I learned so much from her. It really is an art and when you have the opportunity to observe a true hosting artist at work, don't miss it.

It's one thing to have the food and beverages working, but her great thing was picking and mixing the people, making sure everybody was in the mix, and nobody sat on the sidelines.

And her most amazing talent of all? Making it look effortless.

gr8erdane
03-01-2008, 03:35
As I've never been invited to a formal dinner party (at least to my recollection at this time) I have to fall back on less formal occasions. When I bring a bottle of wine or bourbon to a friend's house, it's usually meant to be a gift, but usually it's discussed before I get there and the wine is usually my contribution to the dinner. I say this because I usually know ahead of time what is being served and pick the wine to go with the meal myself. Not that I'm snobbish about it, but that so few of my friends actually have any stock of wine to choose from. Myself, I only have a dozen or so bottles at any given time.

BTW, which Boones Farm goes with caviar anyway?

bluesbassdad
03-01-2008, 10:29
Dane,

It depends.

Is it sturgeon caviar or flathead caviar?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Gillman
03-01-2008, 12:44
As long as someone else is serving it, I'll take either.

Gary

cowdery
03-01-2008, 14:49
As Dane so often does, he raises a good point in the midst of a joke. There's certainly nothing wrong, especially with close friends, about consulting in advance about how you can contribute to the event and, in that case, anything is fair game.

Although wine has become the traditional hostess gift, sometimes it isn't appropriate, such as when you know the hosts don't drink. Bringing an unsolicited dessert or other perishable is a no-no for the reasons listed above and some of the knick-knack items that may have been suitable in the past, like a set of napkin rings, can be problematic for other reasons.

One thing I have had success with is flowers. When you are bringing flowers, as opposed to sending them, they don't need to be in a vase or other container. Much like with wine, they can go on the table if the hostess so chooses, or they can brighten another part of the house otherwise. I usually pick up a seasonal bouquet at the grocery store. Nothing too fancy, as it's mostly about the gesture anyway.

WineGuy
03-25-2008, 03:43
The official etiquette is as Todd described it. Here it is in a little more detail.

When you are invited to someone's home for dinner, it is customary to bring a hostess gift. Although a hostess gift can be anything, wine is customary and spirits certainly are appropriate.

The key word here is "gift." A gift becomes the property of the recipient and its use is entirely at the recipient's discretion. People who are offended if their gift is not immediately served are simply wrong, etiquette-wise. The reasons should be fairly obvious. The hostess (please excuse the implicit sexism, but this is how most etiquette books are written) has planned an experience and unless the event was billed as a pot-luck, all aspects of the experience are at the discretion of the hostess. If she wants to serve one of more of the gifts she has received, she may do so, but she is under no obligation.

This is why, for example, it is considered bad form to bring a dessert or something that more-or-less has to be served. A guest should not impose him or herself on the experience planned by the hostess.

I remember from French class it is very insulting to bring a bottle of wine when invited to dinner. The reasoning is the host has invested time in creating a complete dinner including drinks, and by bringing a bottle the guest is saying the host is incompetent. That's how the French do it as explained by the textbook.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21837019/page/2/

Rughi
03-25-2008, 08:05
I found this interesting tidbit in the referred web article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21837019/page/2/


2. Bring low-maintenance flowers but not...anything yellow (which suggests the hostess's husband is unfaithful)...

I'm going to Texas in the next week (!!!) and it makes me think: is that the meaning of "Yellow Rose of Texas?"

I'm shocked... :shocked:

Roger

cowdery
03-27-2008, 20:23
I remember from French class it is very insulting to bring a bottle of wine when invited to dinner. The reasoning is the host has invested time in creating a complete dinner including drinks, and by bringing a bottle the guest is saying the host is incompetent. That's how the French do it as explained by the textbook.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21837019/page/2/

Is anybody here French?

Certainly different cultures have different ideas and the rationale is similar. Perhaps they don't really have any kind of hostess gift tradition, which I believe is something we got from the English. Anyway, Miss Manners and those sorts of authorities are my sources.

Maybe we should have asked if the person who made the original query was going to dinner in France. If I was going to dinner in France and wanted to bring a gift, I'd probably bring bourbon.

OldJack
05-15-2008, 20:35
I found this interesting tidbit in the referred web article:




I'm going to Texas in the next week (!!!) and it makes me think: is that the meaning of "Yellow Rose of Texas?"

I'm shocked... :shocked:

Roger

The "Yellow Rose" was a hooker who kept Mexican President Santa Anna drunk and distracted the night before General Sam Houston's troops charged the encampment at San Jacinto. When the Texans routed his troups, Santa Anna is reported to have been caught in her clothes making a break for it. Legend says he was still dressed in drag when he signed the treaty which gave Texas her independence in May 2, 1836.

OldJack
05-15-2008, 20:38
Aggggg- typo- March 2, not May 2. And that was the declaration, not the battle.

Bourbon makes me wobbly on my Texas history.

cigarnv
05-16-2008, 03:57
I think much has to do with the event and the people. We have a casual group that gathers for dinner and we will typically take, as Chuck mentioned, flowers for the hostess and a bottle of wine to serve with the dinner (which I will coordinate in advance to insure it fits the meal).

For a more formal gathering we will typically take a bottle of wine that I would not expect to be served at the dinner. We do try to select something to fit our hosts tastes..... this could be a classified Bordeaux, a crisp pinot blanc or a big Aussie syrah.