For most, attending a dinner party is more about enjoying the company of friends and family than the food or drink. Yet, as any good host knows, there is one way to guarantee the party will be successful — to have plenty of cocktails (and food) on hand.
Calculating beverages can be daunting. How does one know if Joe will take his usual vodka tonic, and Mary her signature glass of sauvignon blanc? Or, what if you’re offering Champagne both as a toast and to those who want it as an aperitif? In addition to considering your guests' preferences, a host must also consider at what time of day the party is, and what other offerings will be available. For example, guests are more apt to drink more at mealtimes, so instead of using the traditional one drink per hour, per guest, (after an initial two drinks in the first hour) calculation, assume guests will knock back two drinks per hour, to be safe.
Also, consider the beverage menu. If you’re stocking a full bar, one bottle per four guests is usually fine for a two-hour cocktail party. But if wine is the only thing on the menu, consider getting enough wine so that there is one bottle per two guests, per two hours. Don’t want to spend a fortune on expensive wine? Get creative with your menu and serve a simple signature cocktail, like sangria or this tropical cocktail, or opt for an inexpensive bubbly.
For hosts, running out of booze is a party foul of the highest order. With a little planning and know-how thanks to my tips below, however, you will never find yourself running out of drinks before the party is over.
Before hosting your next party, start by planning your beverage menu and then stock your bar with the following essentials.