From Tricks of the Trade, on how to mingle at parties:
Always enter a conversations with a drink you are about to finish.
If things don’t go well, all you need to do is take one last gulp from your drink and excuse yourself to get another, never to return.
That’s a good, even obvious idea on its face. But dig deeper and there’s a built-in feedback mechanism that takes it to the level of genius. The more boring conversations you abort, the more drinks you’ll have to finish. At a good party you’ll be pleasantly buzzed. At a bad party you’ll tanked. Thus the strategy automatically adjusts your level of intoxication to the setting necessary for enjoying the company of those around you.
“Just be sure to stop in time to make a graceful exit,” adds the voice of experience.