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Pleasing the Masses


So your party’s about to start, hoards of guests are on their way, and you’re sitting cooler than the cocktails you’re about to serve. Why? You’ve planned ahead and made sure you have everything you need to pull off a fabulous party.

What to Serve

Limiting the drink options for your guests helps save time and money. Try highlighting only a few popular cocktails at your party—for instance, give your bar a martini theme, or serve drinks that can be prepared in advance (like punch or sangria). As a rule of thumb, make sure your guests have at least two cocktail options, two wine options and three beer/bottled beverage options. Most importantly, make sure to have options for guests who may not want to drink, or who may be driving.

What to Get

Make sure you have the right glassware, garnishes, and tools. Assume that each guest can metabolize about a drink an hour—1.5 ounces of spirits, so plan accordingly. Prepare mixers like sour mix and simple syrup in advance. Don’t forget to pick up napkins, stirrers, and most importantly, ice (at least one pound per person).

How many cocktails will you serve at your soiree? Plan on one and a half ounces of spirits per hour per guests.

Here’s how that pans out when you go shopping (based on one and a half ounces of spirits per drink):

1 750 ml bottle = 17 cocktails
1 L bottle = 22 cocktails
1.5 L bottle = 34 cocktails

Beer and Wine

1 bottle of wine (750 ml) serves five to six guests
Fifty bottles of beer (12 oz.) serve 30 guests.
(Ideally, each guest should have no more than one drink per hour.)


For every 30 guests, pick up two to three 2 L bottles of the following: Club soda, cola, diet cola, ginger ale, lemon/lime soda, tonic water.

Stock up on two quarts of each of the following for every 30 guests: Cranberry, grapefruit, and orange juices


Napkins, stirrers, olives, maraschino cherries and lime juice.

Remember to focus on your drink menu and your guests when you’re at the store. One thing you should definitely remember is how to serve responsibly—use a jigger when you pour so you know how much alcohol is in each drink. And have fun!




Remember, any cocktail is best enjoyed in moderation, and only by those of legal drinking age.