The dinner party is not the type of thing we typically hear about anymore, though they happen all the time. Perhaps they just don’t go by that name anymore.
There’s a party going on somewhere just about every night and some of those nights it just might be you that gets invited. And even though your host might say not to worry about it if you ask what you can bring, you’re still going to worry about it. Well, the truth is, the unwritten rules for these things will tell you that you can’t go wrong with some wine and spirits. When it comes to alcohol these days, you would also do just as well to bring some local beer.
To begin with, wine is always a good bet. “But there are so many types of wine to choose from! Where do I begin?” you might be thinking. Wine stores everywhere are usually staffed with a knowledgeable crew who will be more than willing to school you on the best wine for your occasion.
To give you a basic idea of what you’re looking at, there are just short of 8,000 wineries across the United States, with at least one in every state. So, you can get some amazing California wines but you can also get some very taste fermentations from New Jersey if you happen to live close by.
While there are many varieties of wine, you should probably start with one or more of the five basics: Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. Your wine store staff will explain the differences and you might even be able to snag a taste or two before you purchase. Each state has its own policies about that, so just ask before pouring yourself a swig.
If you would rather go the more casual route, local beer always makes a really nice impression. It shows that you care about the local economy and that you’ve got a fun and adventurous side to you.
In the last ten to fifteen years, local beer and local breweries, in general, have been expanding like crazy. Of the overall beer industry, local craft brewers and independent breweries have taken a 12% market share. It can take a little digging, but you can really score big at a party if you show up with a hot new brew before anyone else knows about it. Who doesn’t want to be that person?
These days, parties don’t have the etiquette they once did. The “rules” are a little more flexible than they once were. But be sure that when you’re invited over, whether it’s a formal dinner or a Super Bowl party, showing up empty handed is bad form.
The good news is, it’s hard to strike out when you show up with a bottle or six in your hands.