Originally Posted by kwilkinson
What? I think ordering a cocktail made with hard liquor during a meal is improper. I can understand having a cocktail before dinner, although I personally refrain and just stick with Champagne. If I drink hard liquor around mealtime, it will be after the meal is over. You're obviously free to do whatever you want, but I think ordering a cocktail during a meal would be a bad choice and you'd wreck your palate for at least a few moments.
Some of us hail from cultures where hard liquor is consumed before and after meals. Our palates frankly are not all that refined to begin with, and our traditional foods never find their way to sophisticated tables. I wouldn't, for instance, insult my father by refusing an offer of whisky before a meal.
This is an instance of a more general rule, "follow the host," which I find helps avoid most awkwardness. Where there is no host per se
, you might defer to whomever arranged the outing.