Is a Graduation-Party BYOB Request in Bad Taste?

Because all advice goes down easier with a drink (even a non-alcoholic one). Especially when it's picked at random from our columnist's extensive collection of community cookbooks.

Dear Pink Lady,

Two weeks ago via Facebook I was invited to an end-of-law-school dance party at a classmate's place. She invited something like 100 people. Two days ago, she sent out an e-mail reminding everyone to BYOB; however, the way she phrased it implied that if you didn't show up with a bottle of liquor, you shouldn't bother coming. Whenever I go to a house party, I bring a six-pack of beer, as it's only polite. So I was planning on taking something anyway, although not liquor. But I find it massively off-putting, two weeks after the invite, to send out a demand that everyone bring bottles of stuff (she'll have mixers and glasses). Not that it matters particularly, but she is pretty wealthy and can afford the booze way more than some of us can. I'm so offended I might skip the party. Is this really a huge breach of etiquette, or am I overthinking it?

—Not Making a Lawyer's Salary Yet

Dear Not a Lawyer,

Oh, what the Electronic Age hath wrought! If only everyone still sent out paper invitations to everything, a simple BYOB would be printed in a corner at the bottom, and that would be the only mention of it. But when one isn't paying the printer by the line, it can be far too easy to include far too many details in a simple invite, when really only the date and time and address are the information needed. Your classmate is indeed being rude in demanding that everyone only bring liquor—just because she may prefer vodka shots doesn't mean that all 100 of her guests do. If you can't afford to buy alcohol for everyone at your party, then you certainly can't complain about what alcohol people do bring. Besides, 100 bottles of liquor? That's just asking for all kinds of legal trouble, none of which any of you can afford, since you haven't even taken the bar.

Still, you do seem to be overreacting just a little bit. You're graduating from law school, a reason to celebrate if there ever was one, whether or not the hostess of the party has breached etiquette. You won't see most of these people again, so make the most of the time you do have left. And you'll truly want a night to remember, so forget that six-pack of beer and get a few of your friends to chip in for the ingredients of "Bob's Party Punch"—it practically ensures a good time will be had by all (and a hangover will be had by a few).


The Pink Lady

Bob's Party Punch

1 fifth Southern Comfort

4 oz. light rum

8 oz. pineapple juice

1 c. grapefruit juice.

1/2 c. lemon juice

2 qts. champagne (brut or extra-dry, not rose)

Mix all ingredients except champagne and chill. When ready to serve, add champagne. Serve in a glass with ice and garnish with an orange slice. "Serves about 20 people, depends on the crowd! There is no substitute for the Southern Comfort."

This week's drinks are from The Pick of the Crop (Drew, Miss., 1978)

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Have a drink in need of a problem? You have a drink, what's the problem? (Unless you have a drinking problem, in which case sherbet punch, followed by AA, is the solution. Because sherbet punch makes even the most serious problems happy.)