Curating the Ideal Beverage Menu for Your Event

When organizing an event, it’s crucial to assess the right amount of beverages—be it soft drinks, wine, or other alcohol—to cater to your guests’ needs. This guide aims to clear any confusion and assist you in planning a beverage menu suitable for any event size. Deciding on the types of beverages to serve is the first step, ranging from wine and beer alongside non-alcoholic options to possibly offering a full bar with mixed drinks and specialty cocktails. 

Following this, calculating the necessary quantities becomes simpler, ensuring your event is well-equipped to offer a memorable experience.

How to Choose the Ideal Beverage Pairing for Your Party Event?

Simplified Beverage Planning for Casual Events: Wine, Beer, & Non-Alcoholic Options

For casual events, offering just wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages can be both appropriate and appreciated. This approach simplifies the planning process for the host, allowing for an easier match of drinks to the Buffet Menu or Barbecue Menu. Our guide provides insights on estimating the right amount of soft drinks and alcohol to keep everyone content, including a handy chart for efficient shopping.

When planning beverages for your party, ensure your shopping list includes:

  • White wine
  • Red wine
  • Beer
  • Water (both mineral and bottled)
  • Soft drinks, including lemon-lime, diet lemon-lime, cola, and diet cola

Tailor this selection to cater to your guests’ tastes or to complement the event’s theme. For a touch of elegance, consider adding sparkling wine, or opt for a variety of specialty beers to appeal to connoisseurs. Remember to offer a range of nonalcoholic choices too, such as bottled water, an assortment of juices, homemade lavender lemonade, iced tea, and options like nonalcoholic beer and wine.

The Ultimate Guide to Stocking Your Party Bar

Setting up a comprehensive bar for your event involves careful planning and a larger investment. If you’re fortunate enough to have a home bar setup, you’ve got a head start with some essential spirits, mixers, and garnishes. It’s important to check what you already have to ensure you don’t overlook any party essentials or buy things you already have (remember, little bitters or vermouth can last quite a while).

For a fully stocked party bar, make sure to include:

  • Wine (both red and white)
  • Beer
  • Bourbon
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Scorch
  • Tequila
  • Vodka
  • Water (mineral and bottled)
  • Soft drinks, such as lemon-lime, diet lemon-lime, cola, and diet cola
  • Tonic water
  • Club soda
  • Juices, including orange, cranberry, and tomato

Additionally, if you plan to feature a signature cocktail or want to cater to your guests’ preferred choices, consider adding Food Station Add-Ons for that special touch.

How Much Alcohol Should You Buy for Your Party?

Determining the appropriate quantity of beverages for your event hinges on the number of guests you expect:

  • Aim to have one alcoholic drink available per guest, per hour.

Understanding what your guests prefer to drink, be it soft drinks, beer, wine, or spirits, is crucial for accurate provisioning. If you’re unsure about their tastes, it’s prudent to opt for a variety of beverages, ensuring you have a little extra on hand. Inquire with your retailer about the possibility of returning any unopened bottles. Even if returns are not allowed, remember that unopened drinks can usually be stored and used for future gatherings, reducing worries about wastage. For those who entertain often, purchasing in bulk may lead to discounts and savings on larger orders.

The key is to adjust your purchase based on the anticipated attendance. Whether your party is small or large, coordinating with your catering company to understand the dynamics of the Plated & Served Menu can significantly impact your alcohol needs, ensuring a successful and enjoyable event for everyone.

DIY Beverage Estimation for Your Event

If you’re inclined to calculate beverage quantities on your own, here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Nonalcoholic Beverages: Expect that guests will consume two servings in the first hour and one serving for each additional hour. In warm weather, anticipate a slight increase in consumption.
  • Wine: A standard 750-milliliter bottle yields five to six glasses. For a party, estimate one bottle for every two guests.
  • Beer: Guests are likely to drink approximately 12 ounces (one bottle) every half hour to hour.
  • Cocktails: Plan for one and a half ounces of liquor per cocktail. With a 750-milliliter bottle, you can prepare about 16 drinks. Allocate roughly one quart of mixer for every three guests.

It’s important to remember that not all guests will partake in every beverage option available. Adjust your estimates based on the variety of options you plan to offer and the known preferences of your guests. Additionally, consider Equipment Rentals for serving these beverages, such as glassware, to ensure you have the necessary tools to serve drinks efficiently and elegantly at your event.

Essential Supplies for Your Party’s Beverage Service

In addition to selecting your beverages, it’s crucial to account for the supplementary items that will enhance your serving setup. Ensure your shopping list includes ice, garnishes, glasses, and napkins to fully equip your party.

Purchasing Ice

Anticipate needing one and a half to two pounds of ice per guest to adequately chill drinks. Consider using a large outdoor cooler or an aluminum beverage tub if freezer space is scarce. Place coolers strategically near your drink stations or bar, ensuring that ice intended for individual glasses is kept separate from the ice used to cool bottles and cans. Here’s a basic guide for estimating ice needs based on guest count:

  • For 6 guests: Plan for 10 pounds of ice
  • For 12 guests: You’ll need about 24 pounds
  • For a gathering of 25: Aim for 50 pounds
  • And for a large party of 50: Stock up on 100 pounds of ice

This guidance will help ensure your beverages are served at the perfect temperature, making your event a refreshing experience for all attendees.

Purchase or Rent Glasses

When hosting an event, the choice between real glassware and disposables is key, but remember that guests are likely to use multiple glasses regardless of your choice. Here are some initial estimates to help you prepare:

  • For 6 guests: Aim for 16 glasses
  • For 12 guests: Plan for 30 glasses
  • For 25 guests: You’ll need 75 glasses
  • For 50 guests: Stock up on 150 glasses

Cocktail Napkins

Essential for any party, not just for serving food. They protect surfaces, manage spills, and keep hands clean. Here’s how many you might need:

  • For 6 guests: 24 napkins
  • For 12 guests: 48 napkins
  • For 25 guests: 100 napkins
  • For 50 guests: 200 napkins

Choosing Your Garnishes

If you’re running a full bar, the right garnishes are crucial for the perfect finish to your drinks. Even for beer and wine events, citrus slices can enhance the experience. Popular garnish choices include:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Cherries
  • Pineapples
  • Green olives
  • Cocktail onions
  • Fresh herbs (mint, basil, rosemary)

Incorporating these elements into your party planning ensures a polished and enjoyable beverage experience for your guests. Coordination with your Arizona Catering Company might also uncover unique garnish ideas that complement both your beverage and food menus, elevating the overall experience.

Elevating Your Event with AZ Inspirations Catering

Tie your event together beautifully by choosing AZ Inspirations Catering. This crucial selection complements your careful planning of beverages and party supplies, ensuring a seamless and memorable experience for all your guests. 

Reach out to us to elevate your event with their culinary expertise, promising an unforgettable feast that will be the talk of the town.

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Arizona Inspirations Catering 
2400 W Medtronic Way Suite 2
Tempe, AZ 85281

Phone: 480-241-7621
Email: [email protected]