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Ordering liquor for a party


jsmith
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Hi,

I am getting married in April and the wedding will have an open bar. The venue will provide a bartender, but to cut down on costs we will be ordering the booze. It will be standard drinks (wine, beer, vodka, gin, whiskey, rum) with standard mixers. Both our families are pretty average drinkers, and there will be about 50 guests.

How much booze does one order for this? It seems like a pretty common problem, so I know there must be a forumula somewhere for X number of drinks per guest per hour, but I can't find it anywhere. Also, what are the ratios of booze to order? I assume more rum than gin would be consumed, but other than that I don't know where to look.

If anyone could point me in the direction of some resources it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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I'm surprised that no one with more experience than me has responded to this question yet! (For that matter, I'm surprised the venue wouldn't be able to give you more assistance in this regard.)

I don't have any advice to give you about consumption rates, but I will say this: If you're holding the wedding in Ontario, you can always return the unopened bottles to the LCBO. So you're not on the hook for the cash if you end up buying way more than you need.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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There are 17 1.5 oz drinks in a bottle.

5 glasses of wine p/b, same for champ.

If it is normal people (as opposed to cocktail geeks) Order more vodka than anything else. Then equal gin/rum (gin and tonics and rum and cokes same amount go out) Order a couple of decant bottles of scotch, nothing too brash in flavor, Laphroig not such a good choice. More white wine than red is consumed during weddings because people are danncing. Think light (not Lite) beers for the same reason. Tequila is a bad option unless you have the makings for a good marg, but rarely are cater-tenders up to the challange. Always get an extra bottle of each of what the parents drink.

People average 2 drinks an hour. Maybe 3 due to it being a wedding. If there are any bartenders/chefs/line dogs in the mix bring that average (even with a base of 50) up to 5-6 an hour.

Congrats.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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jsmith: Rather than having a free-for-all open bar, I would suggest that you come up with 4-5 good-but-not-too-challenging cocktails, batch them and have a list. Then you only need to have a little beer, wine and vodka around for the die-hard anticocktailians. This is what I did for my wedding party, and it worked like a million bucks.

--

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Another rule of thumb is 3 drinks every 2 hours. However, even if the reception lasts 6 hours, I doubt many of your guests are actually going to have 9 drinks (but who knows). Don't forget to factor in how much champagne will be served. You also need to know your family, are they going to stick with beer and wine regardless of available cocktails? I think sometimes hanging out in here skews ones perception of how much cocktail drinking goes on vs. other alcohol. That being said, there are lots of helpful websites that will give you an idea of the proportion of the different types of liquor and lists of mixers. Only shop somewhere with a return policy (if you can help it). Then you can over order to your worried hearts content, and return all the unopened extras.

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Returning booze? That is crazy talk. It doesn't go bad for the love of god. You could order just what you like and then bring anything you don't use home to bolster your home bar. You are going to be married for Christ's sake, you will have the need for a cocktail often.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I tended bar for an event last summer (click) and was very glad that I had real glasses. It's not only a nice touch instead of crappy plastic cups; it also keeps the drinks colder longer.

For similar reasons, think about ice, too. If you can have access to a freezer, then you can have a steady supply of genuinely cold ice. If you can't, then I'd follow Sam's advice and have some dry ice on hand to keep it cold. Otherwise, you're going to be serving lousy drinks after the first round.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I just wanted to thank everyone for the great advice. I'm still wading through wedding details, so I haven't had a chance to make any final decisions, but the above will be very helpful when I do.

I also wanted to add that as cheezy as it sounds, bartending for dummies turned out to have a lot of really useful information about the above concerns. Our library had about 15 of them.

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