Calculating Drink Quantities for a Party
Hosting a successful party involves the right mix of food, music, decor and drinks. Eliminate any of those elements and the party changes, but nothing puts the damper on a party faster than the bar running dry. To avoid this party faux pas, we've compiled a quick drink calculator—as well as a few serving tips—to help keep the libations flowing.
Buying a large quantity of liquor is one of the more expensive things on the to-do list. You don't want to go too far overboard, but you also don't want to bring the party to a halt with an empty bar. So how do you find the right number? Here's a good rule of thumb: Estimate two drinks per guest for the first hour, and then one drink per hour thereafter.
You'll most likely want to provide a variety of beverages for your guests. But you'll also want to avoid a situation where guests are clamoring for more wine while bottles of gin are sitting there, untouched. When stocking up, aim for a mix of 50 percent wine, 30 percent beer and 20 percent spirits. Or for a more budget-friendly selection, provide just wine and beer, with a ratio of 60 percent wine to 40 percent beer. Then, for extra host bonus points, offer a mix of options in each category by stocking red and white wines and an array of different beer styles.
Non-alcoholic drinks shouldn't be an afterthought. Provide non-drinkers with special options as well, such as specialty sodas or a fun, festive mocktail. Keep guests hydrated by having water easily available via pitchers, beverage dispensers or bottles, and consider offering coffee or tea at the end of the night. Many guests appreciate a quick pick-me-up as the party winds down.
There's nothing wrong with a one-size-fits-all approach to party glassware. It's easy and unfussy. But providing specific glassware for beer, wine and spirits can set a more elevated tone. Just be sure to anticipate guests switching up their beverages mid-party and provide extra glassware. It's better than having to dip out of a conversation to go wash glasses.
As the host, getting stuck mixing drinks can be a problem. You're unable to keep food and utensils stocked, play DJ or mingle around the room, making guests feel welcome. One way to avoid this mishap is with a pre-made speciality cocktail. Mix one up ahead of time, put it in pitchers or a beverage dispenser and let guests serve themselves. To keep restocking fast and easy, make a few backup batches as well. Plus, creating a drink specifically for that event is a memorable detail that makes your party stand out.
Finally, make things easier by setting a party theme, which can simplify the drink menu and corresponding glassware. For example, a tiki theme calls for fruity cocktails and colorful tumblers, while a mid-century vibe demands coupes and rocks glasses. Just refer to our party drink calculator when determining your shopping list to keep the bar open for the duration of the party.
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