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drinking etiquette (how to drink...)


Table manners for drinking beverages. Beverages drunk at the table and at parties have a set of manners all their own, and some guidelines apply across the board:

  • Take a drink only when you have no food in your mouth;
  • sip instead of gulping;
  • if you're a woman, don't wear so much lipstick that your drinking glass will become smudged.
Water and Ice

Table manners for drinking water and ice. Avoid the urge to gulp water at the table, no matter how thirsty you are. When drinking a beverage that contains ice cubes or crushed ice, don't crunch the ice in your mouth.

Beer and Soft Drinks

Table manners for drinking beer and soft drinks. When served at a meal, beer and soft drinks should be served in a mug or glass. Drink them straight from the bottle or can only at a picnic, barbecue, or other very casual occasion. (Good beers are often served in the bottle with an empty glass, which lets the drinker control how much he pours and the head on the beer.)

Coffee and Tea

Table manners for drinking coffee and tea. Four quick don'ts:

  • Don't leave your spoon in the coffee cup or teacup or mug; place it on the saucer or a plate.
  • Don't take ice from your water to cool a hot drink.
  • Don't dunk doughnuts, biscotti, or anything else in your coffee unless you're at an ultracasual place where dunking is the norm.
  • Don't crook your pinkie when drinking from a cup-an affectation that went out with the Victorians.

Fresh-brewed loose leaf tea tastes best. A second pot of hot water is used to dilute oversteeped tea and is poured directly into the cup. Infusing tea bags, put two or three bags in a pot of hot water and pour the tea when it has steeped.

What to do with empty packets of sugar and individual containers of cream? Crumple them and place them on the edge of your saucer or butter plate.


Table manners for drinking cocktails. When you drink a cocktail, the only nonedible item you should leave in your glass is a straw; swizzle sticks and tiny paper umbrellas go onto the table or your bread plate. At parties, hold such accoutrements in a napkin until you find a waste receptacle.

Eat garnishes found in your cocktail if you want.




how to eat...



- , Editor, Etiquette Scholar

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