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National Restaurant Association - Serve alcohol responsibly this holiday season

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Serve alcohol responsibly this holiday season

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Many diners spend the holidays with family and friends, and alcohol is often a part the celebrations. If people get caught up in the excitement, they may consume too much alcohol. Because of this, be especially vigilant when serving drinks during the holidays.

ServSafe Alcohol shares these tips for responsible alcohol service:

Take the time to talk to your guests. This will help you determine the purpose of their visit as well as their intoxication levels. If guests are determined to become intoxicated, you want to know about it. Continue talking to each guest throughout his or her visit.

Watch for changes. You can learn a lot about your guests’ intoxication levels by watching for physical and behavioral changes. Examples include:

  • Being overly friendly, unfriendly, depressed or quiet
  • Using foul language or becoming loud
  • Drinking faster or switching to larger or stronger drinks
  • Talking or moving slowly
  • Staggering, stumbling or bumping into objects

Watch the count. Some guests may not show physical or behavioral signs of intoxication, so counting their drinks can help you keep track of their consumption. Each of these beverages contains approximately the same amount of alcohol and should be counted as one drink:

1 drink = 5 ounces of wine; 12 ounces of beer; 1½ ounces of 80-proof liquor; 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor

Avoid over-pouring. Over-pouring liquor makes it difficult for guests to accurately track their consumption. Follow drink recipes closely to ensure each drink contains the intended amount of alcohol. If your establishment allows you to free-pour, test your accuracy periodically by using a pour test.  

Offer food. This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent intoxication. Food helps keep alcohol in the stomach, slowing the rate alcohol reaches the small intestine where most of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The best food items for this are those high in fat and/or protein. These items are not easily digested, which slows the movement of alcohol into the small intestine.

Offer water. Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, making guests thirsty and potentially prone to consume more alcohol than they normally would. You can help by offering water with their drinks and refilling water glasses often. This will help keep the guest hydrated and can reduce alcohol consumption.

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