Party Drinks Calculator

How much wine do I need for my party? How much beer do I need? When deciding what party drinks to serve and how much you need, check out this easy party drink calculator. The simple guide helps you decide how much liquor and nonalcoholic drinks you should have to satisfy your party guests. Plus, get our free take-along chart to help you make smart decisions when you're shopping for party drinks.

Serving Wine and Beer

Choose Your Beverages

You'll need to make a couple of decisions about beverages before you can decide how much to buy. For your gathering, would you prefer to serve wine and beer with an assortment of nonalcoholic choices? Or do you intend to offer a full bar with mixed drinks and specialty cocktails?

Especially for casual gatherings, serving only wine, beer, and nonalcoholic choices is perfectly acceptable and may be the preferred approach. Most guests will find a satisfying option, and for the hostess, a limited alcohol selection simplifies planning and allows you to match beverage choices to your menu.

When shopping for your party, include these beverages on your list:

-- White wine

-- Red wine

-- Beer

-- Water: mineral and bottled

-- Soft drinks: lemon-lime, diet lemon-lime, cola, and diet cola

Customize the list to suit your guests' preferences or to match a theme. For example, you may want to include a sparkling wine for a special celebration or focus on specialty beer choices for guests with sophisticated palates. Also, provide nonalcoholic choices, such as bottled water, juices, lemonade, iced tea, soft drinks, or nonalcoholic beer and wine.


Offering a Full Bar

Obviously, hosting a complete bar will require more thought and investment. If you already have a home bar, you may have a foundation of spirits, mixers, and accents. You'll need to review your home bar inventory to avoid duplicating purchases (a small bottle of bitters or vermouth goes a long way) or skimping on party favorites.

For a full party bar, include these elements on your list:

-- Wine: red and white

-- Beer

-- Bourbon

-- Gin

-- Rum

-- Scotch

-- Tequila

-- Vodka

-- Water: mineral and bottled

-- Soft drinks: lemon-lime, diet lemon-lime, cola, and diet cola

-- Tonic

-- Club soda

-- Juices: orange, cranberry, and tomato

Besides these basics, if you're making a signature cocktail or know guests' favorite drinks, add the appropriate ingredients to your shopping list.

Editor's Tip: If you plan to offer a full bar, make sure you have the necessary tools and appropriate glassware, as well as drink ingredients, to mix and serve a variety of cocktails.

Continued on page 2:  Make a Party Shopping List