Almost nothing can get you as much kudos as your choice and serving of good beverages. I learned all of the following from my grandfather who, in his day, was truly your host with the most. With the assistance of my grandmother, of course!
the importance of glassware – ensure that your supplies are sturdy, and free of chips or cracks. Decorated glasses are fine, but be discreet – stripes or spots are fine, fancy motifs are ok, but flowers are best saved for teacups. Don’t be sidetracked by all the different styles – tumblers for scotch, glasses for beer, and one shape of wine glass is ample.
drop in anytime – when you say this, be prepared! Always have the basics ready, and you’ll never be caught out. If you have ice cubes, chilled beers, a bottle of scotch, soda, wine, serviettes and a clean ashtray, you’re all set.
provide simple snacks – make sure you have salted peanuts or savoury crackers on hand for afternoon drinks, or, if advance warning is given, reheat frozen savouries in the oven. Offer fruit cake or a similar “sweet” to after-dinner guests.
maintain the mystery – prepare beverages and plate snacks in the kitchen, then set out in your lounge for guests. Never allow guests to help carry trays or wash up afterwards.
a word to the wise – a man’s character is revealed by what he drinks. Asking for scotch or beer is acceptable, but beware the guest who requests a cup of tea. Unless he is a clergyman, or a very old gentleman indeed, this habit is disturbing, not to mention unsociable. Always provide coffee for your after-dinner guests.
clearing away – entertaining is a shared pleasure. Your partner should take credit for the tasty morsels provided, and for the attractive room your guests have been enjoying. Once all have gone, help her carry glasses and dishes to the kitchen, then do the washing up yourself. No gentleman will allow his wife to clean out ashtrays either. Put away any leftovers, and all is done!