So, you're planning your next big event! And you would like to serve alcohol. Yay! The fun part, but also confusing and potentially expensive. One of the most common questions that we get asked by our clients is how much booze to buy for their event. Which is understandable considering many people have never provided drinks for very large groups of people. So here is the skinny on stocking the bar at your next event. When working with us at Caribbean Catering we provide for you all of your non-alcoholic bar set up. For $6 per person we provide all of your ice, coolers, sodas, mixers, juices, garnishes and cups. We will set up the entire bar, ice everything down and do all of the heavy lifting for you. So that part is all set. You will provide the alcohol of your choice to serve.
Lets start with the basics, serving sizes:
• 1 bottle of wine = 5 servings • 1 bottle of champagne = 8 servings • 1 case = 12 bottles • 750ml bottle of liquor = 18 servings (1.5 oz servings) • 1 bottle = 1 serving of beer • 1 full sized keg = 165 beers
And, the all-important basic ratio:
• Full bar: 20% liquor, 15% beer, 65% wine • Beer and wine only: 20% beer, 80% wine
A general rule of thumb is one drink per person per hour. Of course some will drink more and some will drink less but it averages out. Also consider in the winter more people will drink red than white and in the summer more people will drink white and beer consumption will rise. And of course consider what your crowd likes to drink. Will all of your friends be demanding shots of fireball at the bar, or is your mom a freak for tequila? Keep these things in mind when deciding how much to get of what.
I generally recommend getting two types of beer—something light and then something more interesting especially if your crowd are beer buffs. To much choice will overwhelm people so keep it simple for them and for yourself. I usually don't recommend kegs. The beer is usually low quality and it’s very unlikely that a whole keg will be consumed, and unlike bottles or cans, undrunk kegs don’t keep. As for wine I again recommend keeping it simple. Two types of white and two types of red. For example a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay. And for red, a Merlot and a Pinot Nior. As for Champagne I usually recommend getting enough for the toast and then a few extra bottles to keep behind the bar. If you are doing a full bar the liquor vodka is almost always going to go the quickest so you will need to prepare for that. Second is rum, then tequila, then whiskey/scotch, then gin. It is usually a good idea to have at least one bottle of each type of liquor. Also if you are having a signature cocktail make sure you have any required liqueur, for example if you are serving french martinis you will need Chambord. If you end up with a few leftovers twelve-packs at the end of the night? No big deal. Some stores will allow you to return unopened items. Give them to guests (or to your waitstaff) at the end of the night, or just take them home and drink them!
Ok so all that said here is a sample shopping list for a party of 100:
6 litre bottles of vodka
3 litre bottles of spiced rum
2 litre bottles of white rum
2 litre bottles of Crown Royal
2 litre bottles of Jack Daniels
2 litre of tequila
1 litre botle of gin
2 cases of 1.5 bottles of each type (serving two types)
2 cases of 1.5 litre bottles of each type (serving two types)
4-5 cases of each type of beer (if your serving two types)
4 cases of Champagne
I hope this will help you in your quest to intoxicate the masses! Feel free to contact Caribbean Catering for more advice and ideas for your up coming event.