How to Calculate Beverages Needed for a Party

by Mallory Malesky

Hosting a party or social event is sometimes stressful. Determining the amount of food and beverage to serve before going shopping can ease the burden and allow you to budget properly. Before you purchase the beverages for your party, decide what types of drinks you are going to serve, such as alcoholic drinks or non-alcoholic drinks. If alcohol is being served, also consider beverages for the non-drinkers or children. In addition to beverage requirements, you will need ice and cups. Include those items on your shopping list.

Step 1

Count the number of guests you anticipate. Decide who drinks more than others based on previous habits at other parties or functions.

Step 2

Estimate how long the party will last and what type of party it is. For example, a short cocktail party will require fewer beverages than an all-night wedding reception. Expect the average guest to consume two drinks during the first hour and one drink per hour afterward.

Step 3

Calculate the number of beverages by multiplying the number in attendance by the number of drinks expected per hour. Categorize your party list into light drinkers versus heavy drinkers for a more accurate number.

Step 4

Compile a list of the beverages you wish to serve. If alcohol will be served, include mixers such as cranberry juice and soda. Determine the quantity of each beverage type based on the estimated number of drinks per guest throughout the party.

Step 5

Purchase the beverages on your list in the best quantity available. Generally when purchasing beverages, it is cheaper per ounce to buy a larger container such as a gallon.

Tips & Warnings

• Consider these useful calculations when deciding on a quantity to purchase: A half-barrel keg of beer holds approximately 200 servings when using a 10-oz. cup. A 1 liter bottle of hard liquor provides about 33 average shots.

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