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Running out of alcohol, beverages or ice (or all three!) is every host's nightmare. These guidelines for stocking enough wine, beer, spirits, mix and ice will ensure your party guests not go home thirsty.
Enough wine for cocktails, lunch and dinner. Have both red and white wines on hand. Sparkling wine can also be a festive addition. One bottle (750 mL) yields five 5 oz (150 mL) glasses. For lunch, allow for 2 glasses per person. For dinner or wine-and-cheese party, allow for 3 glasses per person.
Enough spirits for a party. One 750 mL bottle yields about eighteen 1-1/2 oz (40 mL) drinks. For parties, plan on two drinks per person per hour for the first hour, and one drink per person after that. Stock the bar with two or three basic liquors such as vodka, rum and gin. Build with additions, such as tequila, scotch or rye whisky. Or, cut back completely and serve only wine and beer, plus one signature cocktail served with festive garnishes.
Enough beer and coolers for everyone. A 341 mL bottle yields one drink. Count on 2 bottles per person per hour for the first hour, and one per person after that. If serving numerous beer drinkers, consider getting a keg.
Have enough soft drinks, juice, water and ice. Plan on 8 oz (250 g) of ice per person. Have water and mixers (such as soda water, soft drinks, tonic water and fruit juice) available for cocktail mixing and nonalcoholic beverages.