You're hosting a wedding, "How much alcohol" is a BIG QUESTION you still have.
How much alcohol do you need for you Summer BBQ?
What about for a bachelorette weekend - cabin weekend - holiday party - dinner party?
I've been using this exact same calculations for over 100 weddings and it always works like a charm.
I am over here spilling my "wedding - how much alcohol" secret that works for all occasions.
Let's Start by Calculate the Total Number of Drinks Likely to be Consumed...
How many hours are you hosting? I plan for one drink per person per hour for the average gathering. With that being said, you know your guests and the type of gathering you are hosting. Calculate accordingly.
Here are some statistics when it comes to alcohol at gatherings. Generally speaking wine, beer, and spirits are consumed in the following ratios. With that being said, the one and only time this ratio failed me was at a wedding with how much alcohol I needed when I found out halfway through the night that it is a tradition for the father of the bride to buy all his friends a very specific martini. You know your people. Take the preferences they normally have into account.
Friends, Here is the very simple math.
One more time for you... because Yes. It is that easy.
This calculation below has told me exactly how much alcohol for a wedding... more times than I probably even counted.
Number of Guests
x hours of event
x 1 drink per hour (adjust accordingly)
= total number of drinks
That is honestly it, friends. I know what you are thinking -- "My friends drink WAY more than 1 drink an hour." This might very well be true, in which case adjust accordingly. However, after many, many tests of this experiment I find that this simple equation works out great as some people will drink more and some will drink very little (if at all).
NOW that you have the # of drinks needed let's talk about ratios
Split total number of drinks by the following ratios::
Just Beer and Wine -- 25% Beer & 75% Wine
Beer, Wine and Spirits -- 50% Wine, 20% Beer, and 30% liquor
**Special note about cocktails -- Be sure to look at the cocktail recipe and multiply by number of drinks you will need (1 per person, 2 per person) to ensure you have the correct amount of all ingredients. If you are mixing specific cocktails you will surely have some leftover alcohol. **
If you plan to offer a variety of spirit options, you are going to have to overbuy and will likely have a good amount leftover. A great way to simplify is to pre-mix one cocktail that covers 30% of your guests. When it is gone, they are left with beer and wine options.
Alex, this is so much math. I still have no idea how much I need to buy...
Let's Cover Some Basic Serving Sizes
How many glasses are in a bottle of wine?
A bottle of champagne fills six to eight glasses
A bottle of wine fills five glasses
How many oz/drinks does one bottle of liquor make?
Roughly 25 oz
Standard Drink is 1.5 oz of alcohol
Therefore, there are roughly 18 drinks in a bottle
How many bottles in a case of wine or beer?
A case of wine contains 12 bottles.
A case of beer contains 24 bottles or cans.
Here's An Example
Let's Say you are having 10 people over and you guess they will be over for 5 hours.
That is 50 drinks.
Beer, Wine, and Spirits means you will have::
25 Servings of Wine/5 glasses per bottle = 5 Bottles
20 Servings of Beer = 1 case of 24 or 3-4 six packs for variety
30 Servings of Spirits = 2 bottles of liquor to make one signature cocktail
Consider the Season -- White versus Red versus Rosé
Consider the Occasion -- Sparkling or a cocktail to start?
Consider the Crowd -- Beer versus Wine Drinkers (and those elusive creatures that can drink spirits all night)
Consider the Menu -- I am not someone that has a vast knowledge of wine, but I do try to pay some attention to what I am serving. There are so many amazing resources online that will guide you to a great wine for a spicy Thai dinner versus a pot roast supper. Another option is to seek out a local wine store and simply ask.
Let's Talk a Little bit more about Spirits
Let me start by saying -- I don't think that you need to have a fully stocked bar. It is fully acceptable to just offer beer and wine in my opinion. Some would even say you can just offer wine, but I live with a serious beer drinker so in this household, we offer both.
We have slowly built up a stocked bar and keep an assortment of wine, beer, cider, and spirits always at our fingertips. Whether it is taking a bottle to girls night, snagging something nice as a hostess gift, or the ability to open whatever strikes our fancy when we have friends -- I like options and lots of them.
It's a Wedding - How Much Alcohol
Friends, this is the exact calculation I have used for dinner parties, bachelorette weekends, summer BBQs, and 100s of weddings. It will work perfectly.