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10 Rules of how to behave as a GUEST - Old School Rulebook from 1933

We talk a lot about how to be a better bartender, a more auspicious host & professional drinks mixer. In the modern bartending world there are almost NO rules to how a bar should run or how it should be opened. If anything bartending is like the Wild West of all industries since pretty much anything goes in this trade. What a lot of people don't realise is how different the world would be if we didn't have WW2 which completely changed the way society drank & ate. Before women could go into bars, before the nuclear wars & prior to the industrialisation of well...everything we have rules that governed what we drank, how we drank it & why. In an discovered classic from days gone past we have found a 'rulebook' that many might appreciate.

Bacchus Behave! The Lost Art of Polite Drinking (Publish 1933) This book was published in Post-Prohibition & before WW2 where society in the USA attempted to recover from the effects Prohibition had done to it. One of the fascinating aspects of this book is how it teaches guests to behave themselves in good company & what to do.


The TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR the benefit of the imbiber, we will now set forth a simple Ten Commandments, which, if adhered to, will ensure the utmost propriety combined with the fullest sense of well-being. 1. Never get drunk. 2. Above all, never get drunk at some one else's expense. 3. As a host, remain responsibly sober at all times. 4. Never drink alone. 5. Inform yourself conscientiously of your own capacity, and then divide by two. 6. Never drink when you are unhappy. Alcoholic beverages should be reserved strictly for pleasant social occasions. 7. Never drink in disreputable company. 8. As a guest, always remember that discretion is the better part of valor. 9. If the waiter fails to refill your glass, accept his superior judgment on your behalf. 10. When in doubt of your condition, stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.

How to behave as a GUEST The book has many recipes for both food & drink that one can serve & in what order when hosting a cocktail party or dinner at home. Interestingly it goes deep into the idea of what goes after which course & why. Whats even more interesting is some of the rules placed upon the guest: 1. No one wears out his welcome quite so rapidly as a sponger.

2. Do not accept a second cocktail or aperitif until you are sure of the effect of the first.

3. Do not accept a third under any circumstances whatever.

4. If a still wine is served with the first courses, drink it at your leisure. If a sparkling wine, drink it before it ceases to fizz.

5. Avoid smoking if you anticipate that the dinner will be well considered.

6. Dally over such wines as ports, old sherries and the finer muscatel.

7. Otherwise just sip the stuff—it is perfectly good form not to drain the glass.

8. If a final whisky highball is offered late in the evening, remember that one is sufficient, and that this is also a hint that the party has come to an end. Within a polite interval after that last highball, take your leave.

9. Never ask for any kind of liquor that is not in evidence, and thus risk embarrassing your hosts.

10. Never call for a further supply of drinks, for the same reason.

It is very interesting how specific the writer gets regarding behaviour & rules of drinking at those times. Considering this is written after the 'Roaring 20s' you can speculate whether or not this is a counter-balance to that behaviour. For those interested in more follow the link where you can download the whole book for free:​

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