I have attended many dinner parties during my travels around the world. What I have noticed is that most hosts do not offer liquids other than alcohol. By the time dinner is served, I am too drunk to eat.
Now that I am the host of many parties in my own home, I always, always give each person a chilled bottle of water as soon as they enter the house. I then ask if they would like a glass of wine or sparkling juice. I do not want anyone to get drunk. It’s always best to hydrate guests with water.
Another thing to note is the kind of appetizer to serve prior to dinner. In New York City, the appetizer is usually cheese. I don’t care for it, especially if the cheese is Brie, which is really smelly.
Here in Hawaii, I prefer to serve fruit, such as chilled Lychees and Mandarin Oranges. This is a refreshing way to cleanse the palate before dinner. Nothing smelly about Lychees and Mandarin Oranges, either. And how pretty they are in a large glass bowl like this one: