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Beverage Guide      Back to Articles

A well-stocked assortment of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages ensures that you can quench every guest’s thirst. But how much do you really need to keep glasses filled? Keep this guide handy when purchasing beverages.

Ice: Nothing is more refreshing than a chilled beverage, so put ice at the top of your shopping list. Buy 1 pound of ice per guest (or three times more than you think you’ll need) and store it in coolers during the party.

Nonalcoholic options: Offer choices such as regular and diet soft drinks, bottled water, coffee and lemonade. Plan on two nonalcoholic drinks per guest for the first hour and one for each subsequent hour. Consider the weather too—people drink more when it’s warm outside.

Alcoholic beverages: Stock your bar with traditional offerings: gin, vodka, bourbon, rum and dry vermouth. Expect guests to consume two drinks the first hour and one drink each hour after, and plan on 1½ ounces of liquor per drink. A quart of mixer should serve three people. Try lemon-lime soda, club soda, tonic water, ginger ale, seltzer, orange juice and cranberry juice. Don’t forget essential barware: A shaker, strainer, corkscrew, glasses, cocktail napkins and toothpicks make serving drinks a breeze.

Wine and beer: Three to four drinks per person is sufficient for a four-hour party. One bottle of wine serves four to six guests. If a toast is in order, break out the bubbly. For a pre-dinner party, have one bottle of champagne for every three or four guests. For a cocktail party, purchase 8 to 12 bottles per 24 guests.

Must be at least 21 years of age to purchase alcoholic beverages.

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