If you’ve ever dabbled into hosting a rowdy get-together, you’re probably no stranger to buying a handle of liquor. In fact, if you truly want to host the ultimate party, knowing the liquor-to-serving ratios in each handle of liquor is an absolute must. So, here are the facts.
Let’s do the math: One shot of vodka is 1 ½ ounces, and most cocktails contain at least one shot. So inside that handle, you’ve got about 20 two-shot drinks, or 40 one-shot drinks. If you’re throwing a super small party, one handle of liquor will suffice. Otherwise, you may need to step up your game.
If you’re thinking about this in terms of planning for a party, consider that if each guest has 2 relatively weak drinks, that means one handle of vodka will be about right for a 20-person affair. If you’re expecting people to drink more heavily, or if you expect more guests, buy a couple of handles.
Our advice: even if you’re in college, pony up for a mid-grade vodka at the very least, or try filtering it yourself through a Brita (you have to filter it 7 times for it to work really properly, and that Brita cannot be used for anything other than vodka for the rest of its short, useful life). Vodka prices aren’t really that awful: our favorite of the reasonably-priced varieties are Tito’s and Russian Standard, although if you’re looking in the $18 range, a Smirnoff handle can be the way to go. It is our experience that a handle of Smirnoff is present at every college function, no matter the season or the year.
This article was originally written on July 7, 2014.