General Beverage Serving Guidelines for a Party
In general, plan on two drinks per guest during the first hour of your party, and one each hour after that. Each of these estimates assumes that will be the only beverage served during you party, unless otherwise stated. Therefore, if you will be serving a variety, cut back on each individual item based on what you think the most and least popular drinks will be among your guests.
Beer - Plan on two bottles or servings of beer per person for the first hour, and another one for each subsequent hour of your party.
Wine - Estimate one bottle of wine for every two guests at a two hour cocktail party. If serving both red and white wines, you should have twice as many bottles of white as red, unless you know specifically that your guests are red wine drinkers.
Spirits and Mixers - One 750 ml. bottle of spirits will serve 17 drinks. Plan on 3 drinks per person during a two hour cocktail party. The amount of mixers you will need depends on the type of cocktail you plan to serve. Look at your cocktail recipes and multiply the volume of mixer ingredients needed per cocktail by three, per person, for a two hour party.
Champagne or Sparkling Wine - One 750 ml. bottle of champagne or sparkling wine fills 6 champagne flutes. If serving as a toast, one glass per person is enough. If you're serving champagne as a pre-meal cocktail, plan on 1.5 glasses per person. If it will be served throughout a two-hour cocktail party or dinner, plan on three glasses per person.
Liqueurs and After Dinner Drinks - Plan on getting 15 drinks from each 750 ml. bottle. Usually you'll only need one drink per guest.
Soft Drinks and Juices - At a party where other beverages, such as wine, beer, and cocktails will be served, plan on one 8-oz. glass per person. If there are children at your party, you'll need to increase that amount by 3 drinks per child. If non-alcoholic drinks will be the only beverages served, plan on 3 per guest, adults and children.
Water - At a cocktail party, one liter of water will serve four guests. At a sit down meal, plan on serving three guests from each liter. Offer a mix of mineral and still water.
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