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Responsible Mixxing
Whether you are running a bar or entertaining some friends at home, you want your guests to have the best time possible. Of course, enjoying a few drinks can be a big part of that, but it is important for you as host to be able to help your guests to avoid overdoing it.
People are generally becoming more aware of what they are drinking, but with mixed drinks and cocktails it can be harder for your guests to keep track of exactly how much alcohol is in each drink. That puts more responsibility on you to be able to keep your guests informed, so always be ready to tell guests how many units are in each drink. The drinks on this site are all labelled with the number of units that they contain; but we will also show you the easy way to work out the number of units in your own creations.

Ultimately, in any situation where you are the host, the responsibility for guests' behaviour lies with you. So use these hints and tips to help ensure that you and your guests have a great time:

  • Know what you're pouring: Be aware of the strength of each ingredient in your cocktails and mixed drinks. Unless you are using pourers and able to free-pour an accurate 25ml measure, you should always use a measure when making mixed drinks. 
  • Keep your guests informed: If you are producing a drinks list or cocktail menu, it is a good idea to include the number of units in each drink. 
  • Offer soft drinks, water and food: Help your guests to keep hydrated, and pace their consumption of alcohol. Eating slows the absorption of alcohol.
  • Lead by example: If you're the host, you're in charge. In a bar you're probably not allowed to drink when you're serving; at home, of course you're going to enjoy yourself, but make sure you're in a position to make responsible decisions and look after your guests.
  • Enough's enough: Help make sure your guests enjoy the night and the morning after, by keeping an eye out. If anyone looks like they are in danger of overdoing it, encourage them to switch to a soft drink or have something to eat.
  • Taxi!: Make sure your guests aren't tempted to drink and drive.

What are the safe levels of consumption?
Government health experts recommend that men should not drink more than three to four units a day (equivalent to about a pint and a half of ordinary beer, or a couple of small (125ml) glasses of wine) and woman should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day (equivalent to a couple of small glasses of wine).
It is important that recommended units are spread across the week and not "saved up" for drinking excessively on one occasion ("binge drinking")

The simple way to work out approximately how many units are in a mixed drink or cocktail is based on the number of standard 25ml measures and the strength of the ingredients. For example, a swizzle containing 1 measure of Jim Beam (40% abv) and 1 measure of BOLS (20% abv) would contain:

1 measure 40% abv = 1 unit
+ 1 measure 20% abv = half a unit
= 1.5 units