Q. My favourite stage of drinking with friends is during the first drink or two when the conversation is flowing and the craic is good. But then it (and we) usually go a bit downhill. Is there a way to maintain that early evening buzz all night long without getting messy?
A. Did you drink a little too much over Christmas? A dry January is a good idea, but it’s far better to change your long-term drinking habits. We’ve all been there: one drink too many and it all starts to fall apart. Here are a few suggestions from someone who is no stranger to boozy parties and dinners.
Don’t drink on an empty stomach. It can be quite dangerous. You absorb alcohol more slowly on a full stomach, so even if you are heading out to dinner, eat a slice or two of bread before you leave home. Eat while drinking but avoid salty snacks that will make you thirsty.
Drink lots of water. It spaces out your alcohol consumption and keeps you hydrated. If you are sitting down to dinner this should be easy. If you are in a pub, alternate between an alcoholic drink and water. If you feel embarrassed ordering water (there is no reason you should) go for an alcohol-free beer. Most of them are very good and offer a very enjoyable alternative.
Drink more slowly. When in company, we tend to drink too fast. Slow down, sip and enjoy the (probably very expensive) drink you have in your hand, even if it means missing out on a round.
Put your glass down between sips. Not easy standing up in a crowded pub, but it will stop you sipping away without a break.
Be careful with cocktails. Some hide a hefty alcoholic punch behind all that sweetness. Make sure you know how much alcohol they contain, or avoid completely. Shots are definitely a bad idea.
Have a 10.30pm rule. At one stage in my life, I found myself going from pub to party, and drinking too much. I decided to switch from beer or wine to non-alcoholic drinks at 10.30pm. I still had a bit of a buzz, but found myself enjoying the party much more. I felt better the following morning too.