Beverage Planning for Your Party

No party is complete without a nice selection of beverages. Depending on the type and size of your event, knowing what type of drinks and how many you'll need can be confusing. Below is a guide that can put you on the right path to planning the beverages for your next event. Typically at a party, guests will drink a bit more in the first hour. You can figure two drinks per guest the first hour, and one drink per hour after that. A general rule-of-thumb is that 50% will drink wine, 30% will prefer wine and 20% will consume mixed drinks.


So how much to buy? A 5 gallon keg of beer will serve 53 12oz glasses or 40 16oz glasses. 15.5 gallon keg will serve 164 12oz glasses or 124 16oz glasses. Kegs are a good choice if you're serving beer to a large number of guests. It cuts back on bottle and can trash and is easy to serve. However, you're limited to one brand of beer. With the rising popularity of microbreweries, many local beers are now being consumed, such as Belgian IPAs and dark ales.

Wine & Champagne

It's always nice to serve wine and/or champagne, and a 750 ml bottle will yield 5 glasses; a case will produce 60. Keep in mind that champagne flutes are smaller than wine glasses, so a 750 ml bottle of champagne will fill 8 flutes. Unless you know the preference of your guests, it's good to have both red and white wines available. Popular red wine choices include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. White wines include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato and Riesling. And wine always makes a nice hostess gift when you attend a party!


You may or may not choose to serve mixed drinks, as it can be costly. Generally, a fifth will yield 15 servings, and a half gallon 35 servings. A basic bar will include:
  • Bourbon
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Vodka
  • Blended Scotch
  • Tequila
  • Sweet & Dry Vermouth
  • Triple Sec
Fancier selections may include Brandy, Cognac, Port and Liquers. Make sure to have mixers on hand, such as juices (orange, cranberry and tomato), tonic and soda water, cola, ginger ale and lemon/lime soda. And don't forget the garnishes, like olives, lemons, limes, maraschino cherries, and grenadine.

Non-alcoholic Beverages

Since some guests may not drink alcohol, it's wise to also have other beverages on hand. These include water, regular and diet soft drinks, and coffee. Be sure to have plenty of ice, which can be stored in coolers or freezers. Plan for one pound of ice per guest.

Party Supplies

Glassware should include beer mugs and/or pilsner glasses, wine glasses, champagne flutes, coffee cups, and both tall and short glasses for mixed drinks. Have plenty of cocktail napkins on hand, and keep spoons, a bottle opener, corkscrew and an ice bucket nearby.

local advertisement

Last Updated: 12-23-2019 01:45 PM ID: 1595