Alcohol and Entertaining – an Eclectic Cocktail



Learning how to entertain clients and establish business relationships in a social environment is an important part of any professional development. Modern British society places a heavy emphasis on drinking whilst socialising, which can raise some difficult questions.

Who should I spend my time with?
What alcohol should I provide as a host?
Where should I host the event?
Why do I need to facilitate conversation?
When should I start to drink?

Naturally the host will be expected to personally greet and converse with as many of their guests as is possible. A good way to do this is to greet guests with a smile and a glass of champagne. It is a fantastic icebreaker and gives a budding host the opportunity to offer the first drink of the evening. Champagne rests in a nice niche where almost everyone I know enjoys a glass now and again. I am also informed that a glass of champagne has the least calories of all the alcoholic beverages.

The problem is that you can’t just provide champagne because eventually your guests may get too inebriated (from the bubbles, not over consumption!) or simply be hankering for a change. It’s nice to offer choice and in that respect a red and a white are a must. In an ideal world each guest would be allowed to choose a wine to suit their mood but realistically that is an expensive and difficult feat to accomplish. Consequently, if your choice is limited to one choice from each category it needs to be broad enough to appeal to all potential tastes, a classic Claret or a steely Chablis would be perfect in my opinion.

Location is the easiest thing to imagine but one of the hardest to decide on. Broadly speaking the ideal venue is relaxed, trendy, welcoming and generally ‘cool’. Most importantly it must appeal to the audience, if the clients are predominantly bankers you’ll need a different venue to choosing a location for musicians and artists. Although I have lived in London for some time now I have only seen a small proportion of the brilliant party venues the city has to offer so I feel unqualified to comment any further on this question.


Inviting clients to a social gathering is an important tool for strengthening relationships. However what must be borne in mind is that the host is the primary point of contact. Your clients may want to discuss some business but probably not for the entire evening. As I mentioned above it’s not considered best practice to spend all your time with one guest and because of that it’s important to introduce guests to each other with common ground. There are two ways of doing this, you can spend a lot of time researching all of your guest’s history before the evening or, you can encourage a few more drinks and use the lightened mood to get everyone talking. Loose lips may have sunk ships but they build great friendships too.

Which brings me to when you can start to drink, an obvious comment to make is, not straight away but a good rule of thumb is 90 minutes after the guests start to arrive. That gives plenty of time for you to fulfil your duties as hosts and then enjoy the night as well.

Guest blog written by:

Blair Macdonald
Davenport Lyons
Email Blair Macdonald


If you’d like to become a guest blogger, please get in contact:

Katie McCarthy
Editor – Berrys’ Fine Wine Blog
Email Katie McCarthy