Party Planning: A Drink Calculator for Any Event

Posted by Beau Farrell on Apr 12, 2018 10:09:36 AM

drink calculator

Party planning is fun, but it also requires some math. Whether it’s a graduation party, a sports viewing, a wedding reception, or a big weekend hangout, you want to have the right amount of alcohol available for the number of people in attendance.

We've got the answers, with a drink calculator for every event. But it helps to first consider a handful of key questions.

  • Did you invite light, average, or heavy drinkers?
  • How many adults over age 21 will be drinking?
  • How much money are you willing to spend?
  • Will you have only beer, only wine, only spirits, or a combination of everything?
  • Will someone be bartending, or will it be self-serve?

Pro Tip: Don’t forget non-alcoholic beverages for your underage and non-drinking guests. And don't forget the food, either. Plan to have at least a few finger foods or snacks to munch on.

Drinks You'll Want to Consider

It doesn’t hurt to have a variety of drinks available. For example:

  1. Pick a spirit like gin or vodka.
  2. Grab a bottle of brown liquor like bourbon, scotch, or whiskey.
  3. Have some mixer ingredients handy: club soda, ice, lemons and limes for garnishes, simple syrup, bitters for classic cocktails, juice (orange, cranberry), and sodas (cola, ginger ale).
  4. Feeling like extra is better? Include rum and tequila, or champagne if it’s a fancy affair.
  5. Some people prefer red wines, others prefer whites. Know your audience or just get some of each.
  6. Pick local beer if possible. We’re lucky to have lots of great brewers in Minnesota.

Know how far a bottle goes.

  • One bottle of wine (750ml) contains about 5 glasses.
  • One bottle of spirits (750ml) contains 17 shots (1.5 ounces each).
  • Bottles or cans of beer... well, you know how this goes.

Crunching the Numbers

How much to buy? Here’s where you will be grateful you paid attention in math class. Consider that most people will consume 1.5 drinks the first hour of arrival and then one drink per hour thereafter. It sounds like one of those old-fashioned word problems, but here is the basic math:

(Number of guests X 1.5) + (Number of guests X party hours after the first hour) = Total Drinks

Let’s work out the math with an example. Say you want to throw a party with 25 friends that lasts about four hours.

First 1.5 hours: 25 people x 1.5 drinks each = 37.5 drinks

Next 3 hours: 25 people x 3 drinks each = 75 drinks

Total drink count: 112.5

For your 25 friends, you’ll need enough beer, wine, and liquor to serve about 113 drinks.

Rule of Thumb

This is the final part of the cheat sheet you’ll want to reference for each kind of alcohol. Try the 50-25-25 breakdown:

  • About 50% of guests will drink wine
  • About 25% will drink beer
  • About 25% will drink spirits

Using our example of 25 guests and their roughly 113 drinks, that means you should plan to have:

  • Wine for about 67 drinks (11 bottles)
  • Roughly 28 bottles or cans of beer (two 12-packs and a 6-pack)
  • About 2 bottles of spirits

Now that you have an idea of how many drinks you’ll need, you can get to the fun part: buying the libations and enjoying them with your guests.

Here’s to many more great parties you’ll throw with the right amount of drinks thanks to the drink calculator!

Still not sure what to buy? No worries. Hire a professional bartender from Haskell's! Our bartenders-for-hire can work with you on your budget and selections. You'll save money, time, and a few worries by trusting our experienced professionals to run the bar.

And, of course, Haskell's delivers. Whether you need a case of beer or ten.

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