The new ‘rules’ to follow

Whether you’re hosting the working class or the fabulously spoiled, here are the new rules you need to know. What you can’t let people bring Picky Guests Want to bring a personal item like…

The new ‘rules’ to follow

Whether you’re hosting the working class or the fabulously spoiled, here are the new rules you need to know.

What you can’t let people bring

Picky Guests Want to bring a personal item like a tote or handbag? Avoid wine coolers. They give guests a wisp of alcohol in their drink, which also gives them a reduced chance of not remembering that you let in partiers have as much as six bottles of wine at your holiday party. Alcoholic beverages can also be brought into the kitchen, says Toni Rosenstiel, author of “And The Rich People Stay Home”: “Soda cans or beer cans will get you buzzed in two seconds flat.” If you must bring something, make sure it is in full view of everyone in the room.

The equivalent of a home-brewable fizz

Cocktails and vodka shots can be problematic for guests who aren’t alcohol-averse, says Stephanie Linzey, a cocktail and wine connoisseur based in New York City. (She has also served food to presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.) Only some liquid nitrogen shots are legal, but make sure they come in crystal coffee mugs. Linzey says even “a little bit of liquid nitrogen will give your host a nightmare.” If you bring a shot, be sure to provide some other serving utensils.

Distraction options

No matter how creative you are, if you’re putting out the spread and then the host makes something delicious right in front of guests, they’ll really notice. “If you’re serving a prix fixe dinner, consider a smaller appetizer rather than a cocktail,” says Elda Nicolini, the co-founder of Eventify, an online platform that streams your events and lets you host remotely. She suggests serving guests a small plate and a napkin as an appetizer, instead of a main course, and bring a dessert. It’s not about having a tight menu, she says, but “having choices that guests can relate to.”

Anything from the grocery store

Skip boring appetizers such as crudités, cut up mushrooms or cherry tomatoes that will take too long to make. Your hosts are going to have the time. If you happen to see a smoked salmon salad on sale at the deli, then by all means, go for it — but don’t confuse it with homemade. When your host makes ketchup and mustard, that’s the real deal.

And don’t pick a specialty drink unless you’re absolutely certain it’s something your host would like.

Sweeter sweeteners

Refrigerated candy canes will come in handy in case of emergency (see “The New Rules”), but resist the temptation to try to substitute unsweetened “contemporary” Dr. Pepper for the real thing. The canned Dr. Pepper will give you more alcohol, even if you have a decantable pour jug. You will also probably be more likely to pour out your own beverage and be a contributing party guest.

Three-course meals — for guests only

Unless your hosts set a rigid timescale for serving guests, arrange a three-course meal that’s only served to individuals or small groups. Consider delicacies such as crab, shrimp, corn on the cob and vegetarian casseroles. Dress the house in red, green or gold. Serve a late breakfast, noon luncheon or first dinner-party meal at 6 p.m. If your parents call in the middle of a meal, make sure everyone’s fixings are ready.

Make things easy

According to Kate Allen, assistant professor of hospitality at the University of Delaware, it’s important to “make it very easy for people to leave and easy for people to have a good time.” If you ask that guests leave, try not to give the impression that you’re going to be overly cooperative. “That could be interpreted as being the host who’s trying to not look bad and that’s not going to help your image,” Allen says.

If you need help, consider outsourcing

Consider having a party-planning website that makes the event easier to plan for. Maybe your friends are beginning to feel rather ill at ease or are hesitant to bring special items that they don’t own.

Toni Rosenstiel, author of “And The Rich People Stay Home,” says that your cocktail wait staff may also be your best friend for the event. “The cocktail waiters are human beings who want

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