How much drink should you buy for a party?

Entertaining | March 6, 2017 | By

When you’re having a party, one of the key purchases you’ll make is drink. Have you ever had a large gathering and been uncertain about how much drink to buy?

It’s always a delicate balancing act between not getting enough and getting too much. There are often going to be different things to consider, like you may know that most of your guests prefer red wine rather than white. We’ve put together some tables to help give you a general idea about what quantities to buy.

First, you’ll need a rough estimate of how many people you’re hosting and how many drinks they will consume. The rule of thumb is to allow 2 drinks an hour per person for the first two hours, and then 1 drink an hour thereafter. Apart from alcoholic drinks, you’ll also need to factor in a quantity for soda and/or water – this should be around 1 can of soda or 1 bottle of water per person, per hour. To make this slightly easier, here’s a table with the approximate number of drinks each guest is likely to consume:

  1 Hour  2 Hours 3 Hours 4 Hours
4 People 8 Drinks 16 Drinks 20 Drinks 24 Drinks
6 People 12 Drinks 24 Drinks 30 Drinks 36 Drinks
10 People 20 Drinks 40 Drinks 50 Drinks 60 Drinks
12 People 24 Drinks 48 Drinks 60 Drinks 72 Drinks
20 People 40 Drinks 80 Drinks 100 Drinks 120 Drinks
50 People 100 Drinks 200 Drinks 250 Drinks 300 Drinks

So, now you know roughly how many drinks you’ll be serving, it’s time to translate that into something more meaningful such as, how many bottles of wine or beer you’ll need. Each standard 750 ml bottle of wine should give you around 5 glasses. The following table provides suggested quantities based on the number of drinks served – add or multiply the quantities in the lines below to get you to the expected number of drinks to serve:

Serving Wine Only

# Drinks White Wine Red Wine Extra Wine* Soda/Water
8 1 Bottle 1 Bottle   6 Cans/Bottles
10 1 Bottle 1 Bottle   8 Cans/Bottles
12 1 Bottle 1 Bottle 1 Bottle 9 Cans/Bottles
16 2 Bottles 2 Bottles   12 Cans/Bottles
20 2 Bottles 2 Bottles 1 Bottle 16 Cans/Bottles
30 3 Bottles 3 Bottles   24 Cans/Bottles

* Your preference
Serving Wine and Beer

# Drinks White Wine Red Wine Extra Wine* Beer Soda/Water
8 1 Bottle 1 Bottle 1x 6-Pack 6 Cans/Bottles
10 1 Bottle 1 Bottle   1x 6-Pack 8 Cans/Bottles
12 1 Bottle 1 Bottle   2x 6-Pack 9 Cans/Bottles
16 1 Bottle 1 Bottle 1 Bottle 2x 6-Pack 12 Cans/Bottles
20 2 Bottles 2 Bottles   1x 24-Bottle Case  16 Cans/Bottles
30 2 Bottles 2 Bottles 1 Bottle 1x 24-Bottle Case  24 Cans/Bottles

* Your preference

 
Note: All wine bottle estimates are based on regular sized wine bottles – 750ml. If you’re purchasing the large 1.5 Liter bottles, you should get 10 glasses from each bottle.
Tags: