1. Do not pretend that you don’t like hard alcohol. This may help you be more hospitable to your guests and taste the good stuff.
2. Take heed of the temperance movements of the 1930s. Don’t consider hard alcohol a type of food.
3. Wear comfortable clothes and leave alcohol bottles on the table. This is a time to be discreet and uncluttered.
4. Have good standards of self-denial. Display a carefully chosen receptacle for alcoholic beverages and suggest that all guests bring their own.
5. Keep all times of the day and nights of the week clear of “happy hour.” As a rule, “happy hour” will be avoided between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (except when it’s held at a sports bar).
6. Ask no one when they’re going to leave. These hours are meant to have a relaxed but utilitarian air. If you want to spend the evening all by yourself, invite them later in the evening when alcohol prices have gone up and you can start drinking again. Also, visitors can usually settle in fairly quickly in virtual happy hours that center on socializing but don’t require heavy drinking.
7. People are often happy to fulfill chores and share their time at virtual happy hours.
8. Any time you can avoid running into your guests, it’s better.
9. Reserve a comfortable chair and a small set of cushions.
10. Don’t use your phone or pretend you have one to distract yourself from the real work of entertaining. Remember to look people in the eye and acknowledge them when they greet you.
11. If you don’t think that you can stop drinking within your virtual happy hour, say so. Perhaps the small key to a successful happy hour is choosing a time when most people will be “undressed” and drinking alone. And remember to shout “Happy Hour!” before you take the (virtual) plunge.
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PS: Here’s a check-list of the wardrobe items that are expected in a virtual happy hour.
Dress: Dress comfortably but not too casually.
Accessories: Statement necklaces are usually welcome, but be careful not to look too “over-the-top” or “glam.”
Purses: When carrying items from the “leftover holiday shopping” bag (maybe your best friend got the baby’s outfit or the recipe for vegetarian kabobs, but the rest of the shopping ended up in the broken purse), fill the space with something that will change the environment: a yoga mat, a picnic cooler, or a fancy coffee mug.
e-Cigarettes: We should have enough about this one, but their presence is not required. They’re for indoor use only, no matter what hallways a virtual happy hour is held in.
Grey hair and gray beard: It’s far more productive to hide behind makeup in a virtual happy hour than it is to try to keep a black mustache, or greasy hair, under control.
Brands: Go easy on the specialty beers, or drinks served in miniature glasses. It’s a virtual happy hour, not a braced-for-fight kegger, so it’s best to arrive prepared and light. Here’s some alcohol-free drinks to sip: the watermelon-melon pisco (keep in mind that real watermelon-melon popsicles don’t require popsicles), the sparkling daiquiri, the (non-alcoholic) mint julep, the macadamia nut praline latte, the mint-lacquered gingerbread latte, and the herbal iced coffee.