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How to Buy Alcohol for a Party

Alcohol can be the most expensive party supply item. Follow these guidelines so you won't run out or spend more than necessary.


  • Step 1: Decide what kind of party you'll be throwing. You'll need less alcohol for a lunch party than for a cocktail or dinner party.
  • : Don't drink unless you're of legal age. Drink responsibly, and never drink and drive.
  • Step 2: Make a guest list. Who and how many you invite will determine what types of alcohol and how much to buy.
  • Step 3: Decide how much alcohol to serve. As a rule of thumb, allow two drinks per guest for the first hour of your party, and one drink per guest for each additional hour.
  • TIP: Most people will have two or three drinks at a party in the evening. If you allow four drinks per guest, you should have more than enough.
  • Step 4: Plan to buy a combination of beer, wine, and liquor. Provide a variety of liquors, such as scotch, vodka, and gin, plus the appropriate mixers.
  • TIP: A guideline for a large party is 50 percent beer, 25 percent wine, and 25 percent liquor.
  • Step 5: Figure out how many servings you'll get from each bottle of wine, champagne, or liquor you buy. If you buy beer in a keg, you'll need to know how many servings that holds, too.
  • Step 6: Adjust these ratios for your guests. For example, if many of your friends prefer wine, you'll want to buy more wine and less beer or liquor.
  • TIP: Allow for 12 ounces per serving for beer, 5 ounces for wine, 4 ounces for champagne, and 1½ ounces for liquor.
  • Step 7: Consider hiring a bartender for a very large party. Ask them to order the supplies and help ensure that no one drinks too much.
  • FACT: Did you know? The most expensive party ever thrown was in November 2008, at a cost of $35 million, to celebrate the opening of the new Atlantis resort in Dubai.

You Will Need

  • A plan
  • A head count
  • A budget
  • A calculator

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