Must nondrinker BYOB to "communal dinner?"
February 28, 2008 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Should I bring wine to a "communal dinner?"

I've signed up to attend one of these "communal dinner" deals, where a chef cooks a meal for a bunch of paying guests, but it's not in a restaurant. It's BYOB, and I suspect some people, maybe most, will view this is a great opportunity to bring a special bottle to share, and everyone will get to taste a lot of different nice wines. The problem is that I can't really drink. I mean I can, but wine affects me adversely so I generally avoid it. I feel that if I bring a bottle of wine, it should be a really nice one, but I don't particularly want to, since the dinner is already expensive and I'm not going to drink more than a few sips anyway. But I don't want to be the cheap, teetotaling buzzkill, either. I'm not sure what the expectation is here, so I'd appreciate some guidance.

Also, if I should bring wine, what would be a good one to bring if all I know about the menu is that it features salmon?
posted by Enroute to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you don't bring a bottle of wine, then you shouldn't drink any wine at all during the dinner. If you DO want to have some wine, even just a "sip or two" then you should bring a bottle with you.
posted by Grither at 11:49 AM on February 28, 2008

Also, it is perfectly alright to not drink any wine at dinner without being a buzzkill. You can just say you're on antibiotics or something...
posted by Grither at 11:51 AM on February 28, 2008

Can't speak to your main question, but Pinot Noir and salmon is considered a classic pairing. Red wine would tend to overwhelm most fish, but salmon is up to it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:51 AM on February 28, 2008

i don't think you need to make any excuses for not bringing wine. just don't drink at dinner and, if anyone asks, say, "i'm sorry, i don't drink. but how is that wine? my friend xx is always on the lookout for something new." or something equally friendly.

alternatively, you could buy a really classy imported bottled water and some nice lemons, or an imported fizzy lemonade, and offer it to the designated drivers.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2008

Best answer: If I were you, I'd make or bring a special non-alcoholic beverage. Tarragon soda water (made with tarragon-infused simple syrup) to accompany the salmon, homemade tonic or fixings for mocktails seem like a nice touch. Since the expense is minimal here, I'd suggest you share.

Empty out some nice big VOSS water bottles and replace the contents with your concoctions. These sorts of things also make nice hostess gifts.
posted by cior at 11:58 AM on February 28, 2008

Best answer: Why not bring an after dinner drink, like port, brandy or cognac?
posted by wayward vagabond at 12:05 PM on February 28, 2008

ooops, maybe not the port ;)
posted by wayward vagabond at 12:05 PM on February 28, 2008

a fine Mueller Thurgau is always a nice choice
posted by matteo at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2008

Bring something for yourself to drink, and bring enough to share, just in case. If you wanted to get fancy, you could make some sort of neato herbally-infused beverage, or you could just bring some not-too-sweet soda like Izze pomegranate, or San Pellegrino.

If you're offered a taste of the wines brought by other guests, feel free, just don't be piggy. Which you won't be, since you really would just be tasting.
posted by desuetude at 12:14 PM on February 28, 2008

Bring something non-alcoholic. People will dig it. Like thinkingwoman suggests, a nice sparkling water or something lemony would go well with your meal. Bon appetit!
posted by svolix at 12:14 PM on February 28, 2008

A nice red, that is inexpensive, that I am crazy about (bought a case of it!), that I always take w/ me when the situations warrants is:

Orphelin (Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State -- It is a 'Red Blend')

It is described as:

An eclectic blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Souzao, Touriga, and Malbec. This medium-bodied wine bursts with luscious notes of ripe currant and plum preserves on the nose. Vibrant Bing cherry flavors with hints of spice and leather linger on the palate.

It runs $13-15 a bottle, and I have ALWAYS had great feedback from it!
posted by caveat empress at 12:15 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

There are some good non-alcoholic wines out there. I have tasted some of them, and they are really very nice.
posted by JAD'E at 1:12 PM on February 28, 2008

Bring something non-alcoholic, but distinctive. Trying a new flavour is the essential appeal of wine (well, that and getting sloshed), so if you can replicate that with something else you'll be in good stead. If you can find it, I've always had success with soda water and elderflower cordial - a light, unique, refreshing taste.
posted by Paragon at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2008

Already marked a winner but one other solution along those lines there's Dry Soda which isn't sweet and meant to be paired with foods. It might be really fun to bring a mixed set and have everyone try them. They carry these in the Whole Foods near me (San Francisco)
posted by bitdamaged at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2008

I recently went to a paying communal dinner at a chef's house (30 people or so) and it was BYOB. Everyone drank only what they brought themselves.
posted by yeti at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2008

See, I'd take some Dublin Dr. Pepper. It's the good stuff with real cane sugar in it, instead of HFCS.
posted by SlyBevel at 4:28 PM on February 28, 2008

Are non-alcoholic drinks beyond tap water being provided at all? If no, you should bring a couple of bottles of something -- a lightly flavored fruit juice, a nice fizzy water, etc. You'll want to drink something, after all.

If non-alcoholic drinks are being provided, then, if you don't plan to drink any wine at all, you need not bring any.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:27 PM on February 28, 2008

Seconding the notion that it's fine to bring alcoholic beverages other than wine as well. You could bring a sixer of nice beer, or some liqueur for after dinner, or just a straight up bottle of liquor if you want. I'd imagine a lot of people will bring wine, and so long as you bring something (whatever it may be) to share, I can't see anyone being upset at you drinking a few sips of their wine.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:31 AM on February 29, 2008

Bring what you want to drink with your meal. I like to bring Izze sodas to BYOB events, and I never bring any home again!
posted by Joleta at 3:28 PM on March 9, 2008

« Older Where can I find speaking opps for my client?   |   "The Horror!" Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.