Beverages & Liquor

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Choosing what beverages to serve and how much you need can be a tedious job. Here are some helpful tips:

Liquor: How Many Bottles?

No matter how often one entertains, there’s always the question, ‘How many bottles of liquor do we need?” Using the following measurements as a guide, one is able to judge the number of drinks per person. The average guest will have two or three drinks, or figure roughly one drink every half hour per person. A good rule of thumb in gauging how much champagne is required is to figure one bottle for every two people. For a large group and a long reception, it’s better to use small glasses (6 oz. or 8 oz.), because people frequently set a glass down and forget where they put it. For this reason, for a long reception with dancing and so forth, you will need about three glasses per person.

Table of Liquor Equivalents

If You’re
Pre-Dinner Cocktails
You’ll Average
For a Party
You’ll Average
4 People 8 to 12 drinks one fifth 12 to 16 drinks one fifth
6 People 12 to 18 drinks two fifths 18 to 24 drinks two fifths
8 People 16 to 24 drinks two fifths 24 to 32 drinks two fifths
12 People 24 to 36 drinks three fifths 36 to 48 drinks three fifths
20 People 40 to 60 drinks four fifths 60 to 80 drinks five fifths
30 People 60 to 90 drinks five fifths 90 to 120 drinks seven fifths
40 People 80 to 120 drinks eight fifths 120 to 160 drinks ten fifths
60 People 120 to 180 drinks twelve fifths 180 to 240 drinks fifteen fifths
80 People 160 to 240 drinks sixteen fifths 240 to 320 drinks twenty fifths
Wine: Serving Temperatures 

The wine serving temperature can greatly influence the taste of a wine. Serving wine cool can help to mask the flaws seen in young or cheap wines, whereas serving wine warmer can allow the bouquet and complexity to be expressed, which is ideal for aged and expensive wines. Lower temperatures also repress the ‘bite’ that alcohol can give in lighter bodied wines. Click here for a table showing ideal wine serving temperatures.

Generally refrigerators are set too cold (38-40°F) for white wines and modern day room temperature (66-70°F) is too warm for reds. However, specialized equipment, beyond a good wine thermometer, isn’t always necessary: a few minutes of either letting a white stand to release some of the chill or chilling a red for 15 minutes can work wonders. Wine serving temperature chart from

Helpful Hints to Ensure Enough for Your Party

1 case (12 fifths) serves 50 people (82 drinks). Champagne fountain will operate with as little as 3 bottles of champagne and as much has 5 gallons.

Plan an approximately two drinks per hour, per person. There are 21 to 28 drinks per quart of liquor. Taste preferences today are: Vodka, Scotch, Gin, Bourbon.

One gallon of punch serves approximately 24 persons (32 – 3oz. drinks with ice).

Cocktail Napkins
Plan approximately two to three napkins per person for a three hour party.

One pound of coffee serves 60 to 80 cups.


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