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New study shows larger groups drink more at bars
We drink more when we're with more friends, a study finds.
Big group hitting the bars tonight? You're likely to guzzle more booze, especially if you're a man, a study published in Addiction finds. Swiss researchers had young adults complete surveys on their smartphones during "real-life" drinking situations, according to a news release at Eureka Alert—specifically, they participated every Thursday through Saturday night for five weekends. The subjects were asked five times throughout the night and once the next morning how much they'd drunk and how many friends were around. The average age of the 183 drinkers was 23, and they were divided about evenly by sex. The findings aren't hugely surprising: Having more friends around was linked to more drinks per hour, and the results were more pronounced among men. Drinks were also downed faster later in the night, Yahoo Health notes.
Similar research has been done before, but prior studies are often based on data collected after the night out. Information gathered after drinking sessions is often wrong, the news release says (for reasons we can't possibly fathom). One finding the researchers did dub "interesting": The impact group-size has didn't vary between Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The researchers' takeaway: The findings could factor into warnings issued to young drinkers: As the release puts it, "the arrival of more drinking buddies at the college bar on a Friday night may be cause for delight, but not necessarily a call for another round." Speaking of young drinkers, another new study, this one out of the UK, finds men's booze consumption peaks at age 25. (It may also be a good idea to limit your boozing if you want to look hot, another study suggests.)
Having More Friends Means Drinking More Rounds - Recipes
Recently three of my good friends moved to different states (sob), so I’ve been on the hunt for new neighborhood ladies to hang out with. Making friends is no joke! How have you bonded with people in the past? One thing I’ve found that seems to help loosen things up is doing an activity together. Here are a few ideas…
1. Browse a bookstore. What is it about bookstores that slips all the weight off your shoulders? “On the morning I was to be married in New York, I went to a bookstore, as I always did in moments of crisis or bliss,” Adam Gopnik wrote in At the Stranger’s Gate. Browse the aisles, pick up books and read each other lines, and recommend your favorites.
2. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Feel the fresh air on your cheeks and peek into pretty windows.
3. Bake together. My friend Clare and I would make boxed brownies in our twenties and eat them out of the pan. Now I’d try these.
5. Play a two-person game — say, gin rummy or Boggle. Or channel your inner eighth grader and play MASH or Would You Rather.
6. Go to a museum. You can gaze at one piece for a long time or you can walk through a museum as if you’re walking through a forest, soaking up the beautiful art while chatting about other things. No pressure! Just what feels right.
7. Run an errand (get a birthday card for their aunt do a Trader Joe’s run). This kind of thing always feels surprisingly intimate and entertaining.
8. See a comedy show. In New York, UCB’s Sunday evening show is so funny, you’ll cry Seinfeld performs regularly at the Beacon, and Demetri Martin just started a national tour.
9. Start a two-person book club. Read these hilarious essays, a gripping memoir or beautiful poems, and chat about them. (Or you could do a two-person articles club be still my heart.)
10. Get moving. I’m the least sporty person on the planet, but I still think it sounds fun to ride bikes or take an exercise class together. Also, Anton and I have been playing a lot of catch recently and I’ve gotten totally into it. It would be great to go a park and play with a friend.
11. Host a sleepover. Read magazines, order pizza and stay up late talking. If you have kids, just bring them. :)
12. Take a day trip, like going apple picking or to the beach off season, when it’s windy and peaceful.
13. Pick a TV series (cough cough, The Bachelorette) and watch together every week. If you’re not in the same place, watch separately and text throughout!
14. Or, maybe best of all, just do nothing. Says my friend Linsey:
“My acquaintance L. and had been trying to find a time to get together. She suggested a certain day, but I was scheduled to do an infusion therapy for an ongoing medical condition. I was surprised when she said, ‘Well, can I come by and keep you company?’ It was so nice. Sitting there at the clinic was the moment we became real friends. When you have an IV in your arm and someone comes to chat with you, it definitely breaks down barriers.”
What about you? What do you like to do with your friends? I’d love to hear…
(Photo of Edna Gardner Whyte in her Cessna 120 after winning the Eleventh Annual All Woman’s International Air Race, Nassau, Bahamas, May 29, 1961. Her student and copilot, Martha Wright, sits to her right.)
Share All sharing options for: Why you’re likely going to hear more about being “sober curious”
Alcohol plays a dominating role in American social, political, and economic life — particularly for urban professionals, getting drinks can be as important a form of social currency as it was in college. But the odds are getting higher that liquor stores, bars, and restaurants will start to offer something different — nonalcoholic custom cocktails and brand-name beverages. The thinking is becoming that we don’t need to drink all the time.
Enter Ruby Warrington. The 42-year-old Brooklyn-based British journalist got “sober curious” eight years ago (although she still does occasionally drink) and says she has never felt more in charge of her destiny.
Constant drinks at work and social events caught up with Warrington, who began questioning the command alcohol had over her self-worth, career, and relationships. This is the mindset she refers to as “sober curious,” and it’s the topic of her new book, Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol. The book is part guide, part journalism, part memoir, focusing on the big differences that come when we think about how drinking really makes us feel.
Think of sober curiosity as a “wellness” approach to (not) drinking alcohol. The idea isn’t a hard stop to drinking or a 12-step process to sobriety, Warrington said. It’s not a recovery method for alcoholics, either. It’s about recognizing drinking habits and acting on that understanding. Maybe it means cutting out all alcohol, or just not drinking on weekdays. Warrington added that it’s the idea that alcohol determines our fun, intimacy, friendships, and experiences to the point that some Americans have tapped out of the present and aren’t fully living.
As more people apply a wellness-oriented mindset to more parts of their lives, alcohol consumption is also changing — and businesses are reacting. According a report by Bon Appétit, the market for low- to zero-alcohol beverages is expected to grow by 32 percent between 2018 and 2022. This means you’re likely to hear a lot more about sober curiosity from roommates, friends, and alcohol brands.
Rebranding nonalcoholic alternatives for the sober curious
A seltzer, O’Doul’s, a Shirley Temple: Nonalcoholic alternatives that have long been associated with “missing out” are rebranding to meet a growing demand for booze-free options. Nearly 40 percent of global consumers reported a desire to decrease alcohol consumption for health reasons, according to a 2018 report.
As in the case of destigmatizing decaf coffee, beverage makers have a new audience of information-laden young people who are willing to buy seltzers, nonalcoholic beers, and even water in the name of wellness. For businesses, supplying zero-ABV beverages can be likened to the rise of craft beers, said Eric Schmidt, director of alcohol research for the Beverage Marketing Corporation. Young consumers are seeking more control over their bodies and better experiences through the products they buy, he said.
Heineken 0.0 reached the US in January 2019, after the brewery spent years trying to improve the taste of the nonalcoholic beer. Heineken USA
Consider a common first drink: beer. Nonalcoholic brews provide a useful case study in how mainstream purveyors are framing nonalcoholic drinks for a growing market of sober-curious people. Popular beer brands such as Heineken, Peroni Libera, and Guinness released 0 percent ABV products in the United States recently. According to the same 2018 report, global beers sales were down in 2017 compared to performance in the early 2000s, yet alcohol-free beer performance grew at twice the rate of regular brews. Booze-free beers, manufacturers are suggesting, are a way to not miss out.
“People are more conscious about what they’re putting in their body,” said Ashleigh Phelps, brand manager for Heineken in the US. “We wanted to create a [zero-proof] beer where people felt comfortable waking up the next day and going to yoga or a spin class or parenting their kids. The insight is really health and well-being.”
In the case of Heineken and O’Doul’s, the focus was on the appearance of drinking a zero-proof product. Image-conscious young professionals want zero-proof drinks that can be consumed at happy hours or workplace gatherings without looking like subpar experiences. Heineken chose to keep its traditional green bottle and label to show the 0.0 drink was the same taste as the full-strength beer. O’Doul’s took a different approach and redesigned its packaging from the 1990s version to feature a graphic by a millennial artist. The highly Instagrammable label brought renewed attention to the brand, which some previously considered passé, according to a report by Fast Company. In both cases, the manufacturers made a product that consumers would want to be seen experiencing.
Phelps said Heineken 0.0 creates more opportunities to enjoy beer’s taste. The 69-calorie product comes in the brand’s signature green bottle or can (so it’s indistinguishable from the alcoholic version) and is priced the same. She also added there’s little difference between sipping the zero-proof and regular beer — just the alcohol. Beer lovers don’t have to sacrifice the joy of holding a cold bottle. As Warrington says, adding sobriety into your life isn’t a loss, but a positive gain.
The rise of new social spaces
So if urban professionals aren’t downing $5 cocktails with coworkers on a Thursday, where does their social life go? This was Warrington’s initial worry when she got curious. But the movement is attempting to create new social spaces rather than closing them off.
Warrington co-founded Club Söda NYC, a sober social community, in 2016. Imagine a crowd gathered on the floor for events with titles like “Sobriety and Entrepreneurship” or “Psychedelics and Sobriety.” These are set in trendy hotels, WeWorks, and restaurants, and some come at no cost. No matter what, a booze-free happy hour follows for the sober curious to connect without the need to be tipsy.
“Meditation may not sound as sexy,” Warrington said, “but I think there’s a misconception that engaging in social activities that don’t involve alcohol is boring and uncool.”
A wave of sober-curious settings like Club Söda NYC is accompanied by crop of zero-proof menus appearing in major American cities.
Rebecca Antsis is the food and beverage manager of the Assemblage John Street hotel in New York City, which opened Nymphaea, a botanical elixir bar, in June 2018. Antsis said the concept bar’s elixir menu, created by Ambrosia Elixirs founder and owner Valeria de la Pava, features combinations of medicinal roots and herbs that cost $8 for 10 ounces. Herbal roots are treated over a 16-hour period to extract the most valuable ingredients. Antsis described one of the bar’s most popular elixirs (by revenue), “Oxygen,” as a “minty, fruity plant-blood mojito with a hint of apple and kiwi.”
The “Balenciaga” drink at Cindy’s. Cindy’s
“Your body registers it as food instead of something synthetic,” Antsis said of the drink. She added that the growing culture of “conscious gathering” can help drive new offerings from social spots such as bars or restaurants. Podcasts and meetups have also emerged, allowing the sober curious to tune in if their areas don’t offer events or to locate conscious gathering spots nearby.
“Instead of poisoning their bodies, [this generation] is actually seeing what their bodies can do if they were at their efficient maximum,” Antsis said of alcohol’s damaging effects. (Alcohol abuse by adults in the US leads to an average of 2.5 million years of potential life lost annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) “[Younger] generations are more interested in maximizing what they are given instead of hastening the pace of entropy for their bodies, which is what aging is.”
Chicago, a city with a large professional population, has also been a hub of sober curiosity. David Mor, a beverage manager at Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, has created a safe nonalcoholic space by replacing the word “mocktail” on the bar’s menus: “When we created the word ‘spirit-free,’ the thought was sophistication and a thoughtful approach,” he says.
Inspired by botanicals and spices such as cinnamon, Mor challenged Cindy’s bartenders to create drinks inspired by their childhoods. His recipe, “Balenciaga,” was influenced by growing up watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and embracing his queer identity. The bright pink drink contains spiced clementine, Seedlip Spice 94 (a distilled nonalcoholic spirit), pineapple, ginger beer, and lemon with an edible orchid garnish. Cindy’s spirit-free drinks are made to order and cost $12. Given that one ounce of Seedlip costs $1, Mor said the price reflects the quality of ingredients incorporated in the drink. Like an elixir, spirit-free drinks are meant to maintain, rather than dilute, the brain and body’s performance.
“Emotionally, when it has alcohol in it, your mind is not who you are at 100 percent,” Mor said. “I think it’s so important to offer a category of drinking that doesn’t make you feel limited. Garnishes, interesting approaches, and quality ingredients create a feeling of inclusion without pressure.”
Conscious gathering also means new sales. Businesses like Cindy’s, which have alcoholic and nonalcoholic menus, can reach even more patrons with fewer marginal costs. Liquor licenses in Chicago, for example, cost more than $5,000, and in California, a license costs more than $13,000. Purveyors don’t suffer a loss, though, filling the gap of alcoholic sales with spirit-frees containing high-end ingredients. In the case of beer manufacturers, companies like Heineken are selling even more bottles for the same price as their signature brew.
Who is sober curiosity for?
In the Gooped-up world of wellness movements, exclusivity remains a problem — and so does reality. The cost of fancy elixirs and spirit-frees far outstrips that of a bottle of three-buck Chuck a group can share while watching reality television. And the health benefits of the wellness movement at large are ever more opaque.
Wellness also isn’t the same as sobriety, which is a real, difficult, lifelong choice that people with addiction make every day. Warrington echoed this sentiment, noting that sober curiosity is not for people with alcoholism, who should seek treatment through therapy and rehabilitation. For frequent drinkers, she added, cutting out alcohol cold turkey can also increase feelings of vulnerability in social situations. Being sober curious isn’t a recovery method, and experts actually discourage people in rehab from drinking nonalcoholic beers.
But the beauty of sober curiosity, supporters say, is it can be as highbrow or lowbrow as you may want it to be — and as health-oriented. If booze-free happy hours in a Brooklyn coworking space don’t feel like your cup of tea, that doesn’t mean a low-carb bottle of zero-proof beer can’t accompany a football tailgate.
“I find it exciting to be finding about these drinks,” said Jenna Good, 40, who got sober curious after reading Warrington’s book. Warrington captured the exhaustion Good said she carried through the party-filled holiday season until sober January.
Three months later, Good said she’s rediscovering herself and feels “lighter,” more work-focused, and appreciative of small things. “I feel like there’s this person that’s been under the blanket of alcohol for the last 20 or so years,” she said. “Now it’s time to see what I can do and who I can be without hangovers.”
Good described herself as a party girl who’d never gone to a wedding sober. Now, she still enjoys and drinks wine sometimes, but she’s also trying out new yoga studios and dinner dates with friends, choosing which new restaurants to visit based on their zero-proof beverage menus.
“You will never regret not drinking,” she added. Good says she’s comforted by the fact that she could still drink if she wanted, but she’s in control of that choice. “There’s always that moment when it’s hard to make the decision . but you can have that in your mind and just trust that feeling and then, like magic, you’re really glad you’ve made that decision.”
Sober curiosity may be one of the most accessible paradigms to come from the wellness movement it’s totally free to go to a bar, restaurant, or party and not drink anything. It’s also cost-effective to make the experience about you, not what other people are doing, Warrington said. The idea is checking in with yourself and finding where the desire to drink is, and then asking where that pressure comes from.
A sober-curious space doesn’t have to mean no one drinks it just means it’s no one else’s business if you don’t. In this way, conscious gathering could help address issues such as drunk driving or alcohol-related sexual assault, Warrington said. For her, accountability could increase if the power of alcohol were to decrease.
Sober curiosity is changing gendered drinking habits, too. The gap in drinking behavior between men and women has practically disappeared, according to a study in the journal BMJ Open. The same study found the ratio of men to women consuming alcohol, drinking in a way that’s problematic and potentially experiencing alcohol-related harm decreased significantly by the late 1900s. In the US, where binge drinking is a prevalent behavior, a NIAA study found a convergence in male and female drinking behaviors doesn’t mean females are binge drinking at the rate of males. Women are actually more likely to try alcohol abstinence, and if the drinking gap is closing, men might be, too.
Warrington said sober curiosity surprisingly didn’t come at a social or physical loss, though. She said in the years since her last drink, she’s felt healthier than ever, with better sleep, acute focus at work and deeper intimacy in all her relationships. She even posted on Instagram that her eyes looked bigger.
The author said she felt her high and low emotions to a fuller extent when alcohol didn’t mask them.
“My intense and difficult emotions I’m grateful for,” she said. “It feels like I’m really living.”
This story has been updated to clarify details of Nymphaea’s business operation and to correct a misinterpretation of a study regarding alcohol and the gender gap.
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4. I DON’T HAVE BUTTERMILK AND I NEED IT NOW. WHAT CAN I DO?
First of all, don’t worry if you’re halfway through a recipe that calls for buttermilk before you realize you don’t have any in your fridge. You can make “clabbered” milk, a widely recommended substitute for buttermilk in baked goods.
The usual approach is to stir lemon juice into milk (1 tablespoon per cup) and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to “clabber” (or thicken) before proceeding with the recipe. But after following this method and closely observing what transpired, we discovered that clabbering milk doesn’t give it the smooth, thick consistency of buttermilk. Small curds formed almost instantly, but after a 10-minute rest, most of the milk had not thickened at all. And more waiting still didn’t give clabbered milk the consistency of buttermilk.
It turns out that when lemon juice is added to milk, the citric acid changes the electrical charge on the dairy’s casein proteins, causing them to coagulate tightly into clumps. On the other hand, the Lactobacillus bacteria added to milk to produce commercial buttermilk remove some of the sugar molecules bonded to the proteins, allowing them to form a gel that gradually becomes thicker over time.
THE EXPERIMENT: So, does waiting after treating milk with lemon juice impact its baking properties? To find out, we made multiple batches of biscuits and buttermilk pancakes: one set with clabbered milk that had rested for 10 minutes and one set in which we mixed the milk into the batter immediately after adding the lemon juice. All of the biscuits and pancakes were virtually identical in appearance, flavor, and texture.
THE RESULTS: Adding lemon juice to milk simply acidifies it, allowing the leavening in the batter to do its job—the same role played by buttermilk. Since this change happens immediately, you can safely skip the resting time.
2) Listen, Seek Similarity, and Celebrate
Clicking with people is a lot less about you and a lot more about focusing on them. Don’t be interesting. Be interested. And what are the best ways to do that?
Listen, Seek Similarity, and Celebrate.
Studies show being likable can be as easy as listening to people and asking them to tell you more.
And mountains of research show similarity is critical. So when they mention something you have in common, point it out.
Finally, celebrate the positive. When someone talks about the good things in their life, be enthusiastic and encouraging.
The surprising finding is that the closest, most intimate, and most trusting relationships appear to be distinguished not by how the partners respond to each other’s disappointments, losses, and reversals but how they react to good news.
(To learn more about how to be someone people love to talk to, click here.)
Alright, your superconnectors are making introductions and you’re clicking. But how do you get close to these new people? We’ve all met people we thought were cool… but just didn’t know how to take it to the next level and go from acquaintance to friend. It’s simple, but not necessarily easy…
Butter squash is syn-free and is used in many of the popular soup recipes from Slimming World. It’s famously packed with vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants. It’s low-calorie and fibre-rich too, which means you can be sure you’re getting everything you need from this winter veg.
Since Halo top hit supermarket shelves in the UK, it’s been a real hit with anyone attempting to diet. There are just 280 calories in a whole tub of the chocolate flavour or 320 in the cookies and cream flavour. As well as being delicious, Halo Top is low in syns.
Syns: 3 to 4 per tub
Choosing the Best "Rocks"
All ice is not created equal. It is a statement that any whiskey or cocktail lover needs to wrap their brain around because it's true. The average ice that your bartender scoops out of the bin is not going to be the best choice for your whiskey on the rocks. It is small, dilutes very quickly, and may not be made with the cleanest water.
The best ice for whiskey on the rocks is:
- Large: The more surface area an ice cube has, the slower it dilutes your drink. That is why ice balls and two-inch cubes have become so popular in recent years. The history of the old-fashioned proves this is not just a modern preference, either.
- Clean: The best ice should be made with the cleanest water available (pure spring water or distilled water). It should also be frozen away from things that contaminate it.
Your freezer makes a difference because it can contaminate your ice with extra and unwanted flavors. If you are freezing your ice next to fish fillets, the ice is probably going to pick up fishy nuances.
Some whiskey aficionados go to great lengths to keep their "whiskey ice" free from outside flavors. Something as simple as sealing ice trays in plastic bags can make a big difference. Make sure to throw out ice that has been in the freezer for too long. One week is a good general rule.
What is black pudding?
Black pudding is made from animal blood. If that makes you squeamish, it’s worth remembering that lots of processed meat is made from unorthodox parts of animals, although the dark colour of black pudding can make it particularly off-putting. It was first made as a way to use up a plentiful by-product, making it an economical and ethical choice in that respect.
To make it, the blood (usually from pigs) is mixed with fat and oatmeal, before being packed into casing. The sausage is then served boiled, fried or grilled and cut into rounds, or crumbled into small pieces. As well as traditional British black pudding, similar blood sausages are served across the world – French ‘boudin noir’ and Spanish ‘morcilla’ being two well-known examples. Added seasonings and spices vary from producer to producer.
If you really can’t get over the blood, you can find vegetarian or vegan black pudding packed with plenty of oats or barley if you look hard enough. White pudding is very similar to black pudding, but doesn’t contain blood, hence the pallid colour. White pudding from Ireland or Scotland is particularly delicious.
How To Cook A Precooked Ham
If a holiday ham is the crowning glory of your traditional Easter dinner, it may be time to dress it up in a better outfit this year.
Most holiday hams that Americans buy at the supermarket for Easter Sunday are known as city hams, which are precooked. They’re wet-cured hams that are technically safe to eat as-is, without even heating them up. While many people may wonder how long you have to heat one of these hams, all you have to do is this:
Cut the ham free from the package, cover it in foil and reheat it to a good serving temperature.
Cooking it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes per pound should do the trick, depending on the type of ham (whole or half, bone-in or no bone ― these specifics are outlined here ).
You just want to make sure the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees.
But you shouldn’t stop there.
Whether your precooked ham comes whole, half or spiral-cut, there are lots of delicious ways to jazz it up. The easiest ways are with a glaze or by giving it some time in the slow cooker. Below, we’ve got 11 recipes that give precooked ham new life.
How to Throw a Progressive Dinner Party
We know game night is a sure thing. So is girls' night at the city's newest hot spot. But don't discount a dinner party -- especially the progressive kind.
This moving feast offers hours of entertainment with a limited amount of prep work. It's a great way to entertain a group of friends or neighbors without shouldering the whole responsibility (or cost) of a multi-course dinner party -- all because a progressive dinner party is held at several homes in succession, with a single course served at each one.
Whether you'd like to plan a simple affair or throw an elaborately themed mobile soiree, there are a few basic tenants to follow. The most important? Encourage each host to prepare their course ahead of time so they can join the guests as the party migrates.
A weekend may work best for your progressive party, as a four-course dinner will take nearly four hours. Each course -- appetizers, salad/soup, main course, dessert -- will last about 45 minutes. Plus, you'll need to include an appropriate time cushion between courses as guests walk (or take a short ride -- with designated drivers, please) to the next destination.
If guests must drive from one home to another, the party may take considerably longer -- perhaps five or six hours. It will work best if the homes are no more than 15 minutes apart by car. Otherwise, guests will spend the evening driving instead of socializing.
Whether guests ride or walk from home to home, you'll want to designate "people movers" to ensure that guests are subtly corralled and mobilized at appointed times this will keep the party on track, especially as the evening progresses. Staying on schedule also allows you to predict when you'll arrive at each home, something that's important if any of your guests plan to drop in just for cocktails or dessert. The fluid nature of a progressive dinner party is part of its appeal. Guests aren't locked into an hours-long commitment, but can attend as their schedules permit. And because hosts aren't required to plan, prepare and serve each course, they're free to party down, too. It's the proverbial win/win.
Taking a progressive dinner party from idea to reality means recruiting the right hosts and nailing a knock-out theme, so we'll share more ideas on the next page.
Progressive Dinner Party Ideas
Throwing a progressive dinner party is less work than a traditional seated meal, but it still requires some effort -- group effort, that is. There will be multiple hosts and homes, so you'll need at least one planning meeting to coordinate the courses and theme.
Recruiting other hosts could be as simple as asking your next-door neighbor to serve cocktails -- or as complicated as convincing a casual acquaintance to dish up a main course. If you have a reluctant host, suggest that he or she cater the first course. This way, the host can prepare the appetizers in advance and simply welcome guests as they arrive.
As for the guests, you could stick to your tried-and-true circle of friends or invite a mix of old friends and new acquaintances. For example, you could introduce fellow employees to longstanding friends or welcome a new couple to your neighborhood. While the typical size of a progressive dinner party is six to 10 people, it could easily accommodate dozens of guests, too. If you've invited a crowd, it might work better to serve appetizers en masse at a central location, then break out into smaller groups that travel from home to home round-robin style.
The invitation for a progressive dinner party will be more detailed than most because it needs to include the time each course is expected to begin, as well as the name and address of each host. If guests are driving or walking in unfamiliar territory, you may want to include cell numbers for each host -- just in case someone gets turned around. Let guests know they're welcome to come for whichever courses they like, but be prepared to serve everyone every course.
To make your progressive dinner party a more cohesive event, plan it around a theme. For example, a romantic theme makes sense if your party is scheduled mid-February, as does a Cinco de Mayo theme around the fifth of May. Or you could ring in the New Year with your mobile party.
A theme that centers on a geographic location may simplify a few of the planning decisions. If you select Italy as your theme, the wine, food and decor all seem to fall into place. However, another very real question still remains: What about cost? On the next page, find out how much each host can expect to spend.
If your "plus one" is a preschooler, baby or toddler, he probably won't enjoy the continual transitions of a traveling dinner party. Instead of carting your child from house to house, talk to other parents about hiring a babysitter to watch the kids at the final house on the route. They can have their own party while you enjoy yours!
11 Things You Need to Know Before Drinking Apple Cider
Cider is raw apple juice made from pressed apples that hasn't been filtered to remove pulp or sediment. It's opaque and highly perishable, which is why you typically find it at farm stands and not always in the grocery store. Apple juice, on the other hand, has been carefully filtered and pasteurized for a longer shelf life.
2. The best stuff isn't necessarily in New England.
You can find some of the best ciders all over the country, including in California, Georgia, and Michigan.
3. Outside North America, "cider" is always alcoholic.
We have both apple cider (unfiltered apple juice) and hard cider, which is as dry and bubbly as champagne and as refreshing as beer. But in other parts of the world, cider is simply the boozy version.
4. Hard cider has a long and winding history.
It's been around since about 55 B.C., when Romans conquered continental Europe and planted orchards in place of native crab apples for the production of hard cider. It also has history in northern France, where apples fared better during the Dark Ages (400 A.D.) and cider became an alternative to wine.
5. Hard cider was more popular than beer in America's early days.
Because barley and other beer grains were trickier to cultivate in New England soil, hard cider was the drink of choice for most English settlers in the North East. By the mid-18th century, the average Massachusetts resident consumed 35 gallons of cider every year.
6. Abraham Lincoln served cider before his presidency.
Our sixteenth president was a bartender and owner of the tavern Berry & Lincoln in New Salem, IL before taking his place in the Oval Office.
7. There's a reason hard cider is more like beer than wine.
Cider is most often compared to beer because it's slightly bubbly and contains less alcohol by volume than its fellow fruit-fermented drink, wine. This is because even the sweetest apples contain much less sugar than grapes. On average, hard cider contains 4 to 6 percent alcohol.
8. Applejack is cider's super boozy cousin.
The concentrated spiked drink has been around as long as cider and was even used in colonial New Jersey as currency. Historically, it was made by freeze-distilling, and therefore concentrating, hard apple cider. Calvados, which was first known as eau-de-cidre when it was created in the 1500s, is another apple liqueur that's related to apple cider.
9. Johnny Appleseed was a real dude.
His actual name was John Chapman and he traveled ahead of westbound settlers to graft small nurseries of cider apple trees in the Great Lakes and Ohio River regions.
10. Cider makes insanely good sangria.
During crisp fall months, cider is arguable the best cocktail mixer you can use to whip up mimosas and more.
11. You can make OG hard cider in just a few hours.
In the Middle Ages, people made dépense, a steeped apple cider drink that consists of 2 parts hard cider, sliced apples and oranges, and 1 part ginger beer. Let it sit in a pitcher for 3 to 6 hours and then start sipping.
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