Besides the beverages, you'll also need accompaniments and accessories such as ice, garnishes, glasses, and napkins. Add these items to your shopping list to ensure your party is well-stocked with all the essentials.
Buy ice. You'll need 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of ice per guest to keep beverages chilled. Fill coolers with ice if you don't have room in the freezer. Keep them conveniently near the drink stations or bar. Be sure to keep ice for glasses separate from ice used to chill bottles and cans. When planning your party, here is a good estimate of how much ice you'll need:
-- 6 guests = 10 pounds
-- 12 guests = 24 pounds
-- 25 guests = 50 pounds
-- 50 guests = 100 pounds
Purchase or rent glasses. Whether you're using glassware or disposable cups, expect guests to use multiples. Start with these estimates:
-- 6 guests = 16 glasses
-- 12 guests = 30 glasses
-- 25 guests = 75 glasses
-- 50 guests = 150 glasses
Editor's Tip: Reduce the number of misplaced glasses by offering wine or cocktail tags. Purchase wineglass charms, or make your own with wire and a cardstock name tag. Cut the cardstock into a shape that suits your party. Punch a hole and thread the wire through the hole. Write a name on the tag and wrap the wire around a wineglass stem. This technique can also work for some beer glasses. For cocktails, glue or tie a tag to a cocktail stirrer, and place in the drink.
Remember cocktail napkins. Even if you're only serving food at the table, cocktail napkins protect furniture, mop up minor splashes, and keep guests' hands clean. Plan for the following number of napkins.
-- 6 guests = 24 napkins
-- 12 guests = 48 napkins
-- 25 guests = 100 napkins
-- 50 guests = 200 napkins
Choose your garnishes. Especially if you're offering a full bar, you'll want accents to add the finishing touches to mixed drinks. If you're only offering beer and wine, consider including slices or wedges of citrus fruits, such as limes and oranges; they're a pleasing addition to certain beer selections. Consider these popular options:
-- Green olives
-- Cocktail onions
-- Fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, or rosemary
Follow these tips and get our free Beverage Quantity Guide, available below, to make planning drinks for your party an easy and stress-free party-planning experience.