Starting to plan your Christmas party?
It is easy to forget that non-drinkers can make up an important part of your staff Christmas party guest list. There could be many reasons why team members don’t drink; health, religion, pregnancy, or the fact they just never have done. These colleagues are often overlooked when it comes to planning the staff party. It may seem like it’s not that important. But party guests do notice. They just never make a fuss and discreetly slip out of events early.
Non-drinkers are painfully used to looking forward to the rather lacklustre choice of cheap orange juice or water at staff events and parties. And you know what? They feel unloved! But it’s easy to engage this all too often neglected group and make the party better for everyone. Allowing those making the most of the beer and wine to opt for a tasty alternative every other drink, as well as catering for those looking for a less boozy night.
First step? Make sure there is as much non-alcoholic choice as there is alcoholic. Serving beer, wine and champagne? Then find three equally nice choices for your non-drinking guests. There are loads of low-alcohol versions of the staples of wine and beer, as well as a great range of alternatives. For wine, why not try making up some jugs of posh cordial with chilled water. A nettle cordial has a hint of Sauvignon about it for example. Or, you could try a de-alcoholised wine like a Weinkonig Riesling.
If you are serving Christmas bubbles, then make sure your soft drink is just as luxurious. Elderflower drinks (like those of Belvoir) are an old favourite, and have the added bonus of fizz – perfect for your non-drinking staff to sip soberly without sticking out in the crowd. Or go for the new drink in town – Botonique which is light, complex and great with a meal.
Serving beer? Stock some of the nice German low or no-alcohol ones as well. You can see some of our suggestions and expert reviews here. We’re big fans of Brewdog’s Nanny State, and Erdinger Alkoholfrei is easy to get hold of. Dry Drinker have a helpful selection of the best beers – their website is really worth checking out (they do wholesale business too).
If you are mixing cocktails, include some mocktails – the non-alcoholic version which is often as nice as the original. Top mixologist Tony Conigliaro does a mean apple mojito for example. Or get a mixologist to whip up something using the new alcohol-free spirit Seedlip.
And if your winter or Christmas party demands mulled wine, then try Bottlegreens Spiced Berry, or pop into Holland and Barrett for some Rochester Mulled Berry Punch, which can be heated and dressed with the normal bits and pieces.
The way you display your drink is as important as the drink itself. Add it to your Christmas invitation too. It may tip the balance for someone who isn’t sure about coming, but you would love to come to the party, if they see they have something more than a glass of water to nurse for the whole evening. You should also let it be seen alongside all the other drink choices – it’s hard to pick up something you can’t see!
Finally, dress it and chill it. Ice, a twist of lime, and an appropriate glass makes all the difference.
Fizzy or still, it is not just a non-alcoholic drink option, but vital rehydration for everyone.
Remember, it’s your party. Give your caterer enough notice and they can get anything you want, you do not just have to pick what is on their order list.
Don’t be inclined to settle for the cheap alternative of soft drinks; just a few extra pennies gets you a far nicer drink. If you don’t think what they have suggested is good enough for your guests, be demanding. Feel free to point them here for some ideas.
Choosing not to have a boozy drink is not a rebuff to your hospitality. In fact it is a real testament to the importance of this event to your guest. In taking this approach, you and your company make it easier for all your colleagues and clients to make their own choices at the event too. You would be surprised at just how many people will be sipping the non-alcoholic options either alongside a few glasses of wine or for the whole evening. And if your guests are also your customers, you wouldn’t want them to feel any less valued.
So there you go. Putting a bit of effort into the low and no-alcohol options on offer is not such a great undertaking. It is about making your Christmas party more inclusive, and ensuring all of your staff feel equally valued.