1. Choose wisely. Look for lighter cocktails featuring ice, fresh juice, or shrubs. Anything made purely of hard alcohol will put you on the path to wasted.
2. Start with a salty, fatty bar bite to have with your drink. Bold flavors can stand up to the alcohol. And, as a bonus, food in the stomach slows the absorption of alcohol by preventing it from going directly to the small intestine, where it’s absorbed much faster.
3. Take your time. Should your server rush you to order the rest of dinner, politely let him know you’d like him to hold off on the first course until your cocktails are done. Blood alcohol content is affected by your body weight (men have all the luck) as well as the time it takes you to consume your drink.
4. Switch to wine or beer after your first cocktail—they generally pair better with food anyhow. And they have about four times less alcohol by volume.
Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco