Well its party time but do you know the quantities to have and what to remember in the drinks department?


How to choose your drinks

The best thing i can suggest is finding a well stocked and staffed bottle shop who know what they are doing and can help you not only choose your products but give you the best advice on quantities.  Jim Cellars cheap wine online.

There is also some party planning websites that have a drinks calculator on them this might give you a good general idea.

If cost is an issue and lets face it the drinks can be expensive and everyone's preferences hard to cover. Why not just ask your guests to bring their own wine and beers and let them know you'll cover the soft drinks and ice.

Its also lovely etiquette to take a bottle or two or some beers to a gathering - your own esky or cooler is usually helpful too:)

Questions and Thoughts for your planning:

  • If you plan for each guest to have two drinks in the first hour and a drink every after that you are at around about figures.  Keep in mind the scenario. Most backyard BBQs would probably consume more drinks than at a sit down dinner.
  • Think of your guests are they mostly wine or beer drinkers?
  • There is a general rule of 60% wine 40% beer but this may not suit your guests? Also if you are serving spirits then it changes more to a 50% wine, 30% beer and 20% spirits.
  • Are you planning on having spirits?
  • Dark or White?  Mixers? Ice? Cocktails?
  • Hows the weather?
  • If its hot expect more drinking. More alcoholic, soft drinks and plenty of water
  • Do you want to offer Tea and Coffee?  plan ahead and have enough milk,sugar etc ready to go.


Beer -  Go for a mid alcohol strength. This will keep majority happy. A few light beers would probably be a good idea too.  Plan for two 375ml drinks per person within the first hour and one for every hour after that.

WINE: One bottle for every two guests for a two hour party. One 750ml bottle will give you 5 to6 glasses of wine.  Don't get one of each varietal you can find. Just get two varietal or styles in a white or a red.  Of course if you are just having red wine for instance and you're not after something particular then maybe try a few of styles.  Only open one bottle of Red and one White at a time if you can. You dont want to end up with lots of half full bottles at the end of the night.  Also have a think about cask wine, wine in casks has improved over the years and this may be an easy solution for your party.

CHAMPAGNE OR SPARKLING WINE: One 750ml bottle fills 6 Champagne flutes.  If serving as a toast, one glass per person is enough.  If serving throughout the two hour party, plan on 3 glasses per person.  The bubbles will dissipate so open one bottle at a time.

SPIRITS AND MIXERS: One 750ml bottle will serve 17 drinks or about 41 nips.

Plan on 3 drinks per person for 2 hours.  Depending on your party, if its just a casual gathering most people are happy to bring their own spirits if you mention it. Just make sure you have enough ice and mixers.

WATER:  Buy small bottles of water or one of those 5ltr water coolers for outdoor parties. Jugs of tap water are fine chilled tap water would be better and throw in some sliced lemon and ice. For indoor or sit down parties Sparkling water maybe more appropriate.

SOFT DRINKS : If you are only serving soft drinks then three glasses per person for two hours is a rough guess.  If there are children at the party you'll need to include them in your quantities.

Would any of your guests prefer diet?

If you are using them as mixers think about which are the drinks appropraite for your spirit. Cola, lemonade, tonic etc.

A good way to save on cups is to serve soft drinks in cans, this is also a more convienient way for your guests if having a standing or outdoor party.  If having a sit down dinner party for instance its not really appropriate for cans and consider cups or glasses.

Dont forget to:

Plan where you are going to chill your drinks before the party. You'll need space.  Drinks should be chilled about 24hrs before the party.  Make sure you dont need the fridge space for food first.

Bottle openers. Corkscrews and bottle caps.  You'll need these of course make sure they are on hand.


What are you going to serve and store your drinks in during the party ? bucket, bath, laundry tub. Whatever it is get the ice a couple of hours before and stock it up.

Pending on your party and its guests. Make sure you have some coffee, tea and milk available.


Plastic, glass, flutes tumblers, beer stubby holders?  plan and if buying plastic cups make sure you have plenty. plan for everyone to use a new cup each drink.  Buy a lot more than you'll need.

Some liquor stores hire glassware and ice tubs which takes a great pressure off. A deposit is usually required and a pay for breakages of course but is a great problem solver if you don't want plastic.

If you want everyone to use the same cups and glasses have a marker or name label or some other identity tag so people know their drink.

The best thing about your gathering will be you.  Have plenty of Food and Drinks organised and enjoy your party and spend time with your guests.  Enjoy!


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