How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

Staff Writer
Tips for calculating how many bottles of wine to have on hand when entertaining
Wine
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Wine

As the hostess of the Ted and Amy Supper Club, I’ve served dinner to several hundred people over the past few years. And in that time I’ve noticed something… people are thirsty.

Wine and often cocktails have been an integral part of my dinners. When people enter my home for a supper club event, I like to serve them up a glass of wine or beverage right away. Something about getting a drink in their hands seems to relax them, even if they don’t end up drinking that much. It also makes the mingling a little easier — especially important since many of the guests are walking into a home full of complete strangers. 

How much?

When I serve only wine at dinner parties, I calculate one bottle per person, on average. These drinks are stretched over four hours and usually over four courses. If I’m serving cocktails before dinner, too, I plan for one 750 milliliter bottle of liquor for a party of 14, and then eight bottles of wine. If it’s a weekend dinner party, people tend to linger later in the night. So I would recommend having another bottle or two on hand. Running out of wine at the end of a long dinner is OK… sometimes it’s a subtle cue for guests to leave. But running out early is definitely a party killer.

Buy in bulk

For purchasing wine for large dinner parties, buying by the case is a smart option since that’s where you can find the discounts, usually 10% off a case, and sometimes they will let you mix and match the bottles (or buy a single case for a deeper discount). In New York City, where I live, I frequent Astor Wines which has a fabulous selection of wines at a variety of price points, as well as a staff that is eager to help you pair wines with your menu and your budget. Costco offers a great selection of wines at some stores, while some smaller discount retailers like BevMax ship nationwide. (Photo courtesy of Kara Masi)

Click here to see the Currant Hustle Cocktail recipe.