Survey by NIO Cocktails reveals the “top peeves” of UK dinner party guests and hosts, as well as the “must-dos” for a perfect party
- Turn it down! Playing music that’s inappropriate, or too loud, is the nation’s top peeve (31%) when attending a dinner party
- A quarter of Brits (27%) are displeased that their dietary restrictions/allergies are being ignored, or not checked, by their dinner party hosts before they arrived.
- The easiest-to-please dinner party guests are those in the South West – with 27% stating that ‘nothing’ displeases them!
- Brits’ all-time favourite cocktail for celebrating a special occasion is the humble Daiquiri!
- The UK’s leading etiquette coach, William Hanson, unveils his expert hosting tips
The Christmas hosting season is approaching and the humble dinner party is expected to increase in popularity this winter, with Brits choosing to host at home, rather than dining out. A nationwide survey commissioned by NIO Cocktails*, the UK’s top rated ready-to-drink at home cocktail provider, uncovers exactly what makes the perfect dinner party, as well as what doesn’t.
The UK’s Top Peeves
Turn it down! Playing music that’s inappropriate, or too loud, is the nation’s top peeve (31%) when attending a dinner party – and it’s found most annoying by women (36%) versus men (25%).
Dietary requirements are also a tricky topic, as vegan dishes (32%), sushi (32%), shellfish (38%) and burgers (17%) were voted the worst food types to serve. Not surprisingly, a quarter of the UK (27%) are also displeased that their dietary restrictions/allergies are being ignored, or not checked, by their dinner party hosts.
The Perfect Party
When hosting, the top priority for making guests feel welcome (30%) is to refill their drinks unprompted – a nation of drink-lovers, indeed!
The ideal number of dinner party guests is 6, according to one in three Brits (35%) and over half of the UK (58%) prefer being the dinner party guest over the host, with females (61%) being more keen to attend than host.
Sticking to tradition, the majority still prefer dinner parties to happen on weekends over weekdays (80%), although short timescales don’t fret Brits. In fact, the ideal amount of time for planning a dinner party is just 1-2 weeks (34%), and likewise for being invited to one (40%).
Actually, one in ten (11%) don’t even know how long it takes to plan a dinner party, suggesting a lack of knowledge for what is involved and how long different elements take to prepare. Leaving things to the last minute can mean crucial details are forgotten, such as setting the mood of the room. According to the UK’s leading etiquette coach, William Hanson, lighting a candle is a ‘must’ for the perfect dinner party – yet only a fifth (22%) of the UK do this.
William says, “Candles make such a difference to the atmosphere. Turn off overhead lights, dim the table lamps and light some (unscented) candles. It will upgrade your dinner party instantly.”
Music choice also matters. The three genres Brits feel are the most appropriate are classical (26%), jazz/blues (19%) and soul/RnB (17%), whereas UK Garage, house and metal/rock are seen as the least appropriate. Hosts may want to avoid playing any Kanye West (24%), Nicki Minaj (17%), Drake (15%) or Ed Sheeran (13%) too, as they were voted the top four most disliked artists to play at a dinner party.
William explains, “Any music in the background should be exactly that – background. What’s the point in having people for dinner if they can’t hear each other chat? That’s the best soundtrack to any party – the sound of people having a good time chatting to one another. Avoid using the radio or free streaming services. Nothing ruins the ambience more than an ad break.”
The five favourite cocktails Brits want to be served at a dinner party include a Margarita (44%), Mimosa or Bucks Fizz (43%), Strawberry Daiquiri (42%) and a Manhattan (33%). William suggests: “Avoid overly sweet cocktails, especially if wine and other drinks will be served as the evening progresses, and enjoy an espresso martini after the meal.”
Cocktails are also increasing in popularity amongst the younger generation, being chosen as the preferred drink choice for 18-24 year old’s for the New Year (24%), over beer (22%), wine (20%) or champagne (19%), and as a top birthday drink choice (20%). In fact, 5.8 million Brits will choose to ring in the new year with a cocktail, instead of champagne or prosecco.
Other preferred cocktail moments include celebrating the end of the working week (27%) or working day (17%), enjoying one with dinner (20%) or as a night cap (12%).
William advises “Cocktails are often delicious but can be labour-intensive. For dinner parties, it’s best to stick to cocktails that are relatively easy to produce, especially if you are also busy supervising the cooking. Some cocktails, like a Negroni, can be made ahead in bulk and kept in a pitcher or glass jug, or you can use the NIO Cocktails to more easily and quickly produce something that will start your dinner with style.”
NIO Cocktails are industry leaders in ready-to-drink cocktails for the home, crafted by the owner of the World’s Top Bar “Drink Kong”, Patrick Pistolesi. Their ethos is simple: cocktails can be enjoyed at any moment, not just on special occasions.
For more survey findings, as well as expert etiquette and styling advice for a dinner party, please visit: https://niococktails.co.uk/blogs/news/how-to-host-the-perfect-dinner-party