The relationship of alcohol consumption to risky sexual behavior at the most recent encounter with a new sexual partner in representative samples of white, Hispanic, and black adults was examined. Drinking at the new partner event was more prevalent among whites than either blacks or Hispanics. Multivariate analyses indicated that drinking in the event was an important predictor on having a casual partner and using condoms with a casual partner for men but not for women. For women, drinking during the event predicted failure to use a condom. Some of these associations were dependent on ethnicity. Hispanics who consumed alcohol at the encounter were more likely to engage in protected sex than whites or blacks. These findings suggest that alcohol is but one of many influences regulating the riskiness of a particular encounter with a new partner and that the interplay of personal, situational, and behavioral factors with risky sex are culturally dependent.