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Drinks
Allow 2 to 2.5 drinks per person for a one-hour reception and 3 to 3.5 drinks per person for a 90-minute to two-hour reception.

Bartenders

Secure one bartender per 100 people if guests are arriving intermittently. If guests arrive in one large group, use one bartender per 50 people.

Bars
Set up one bar per 100 people for a one-hour reception, and one bar per 50 people for a half-hour reception.

Liquor Allocation
Typically, guests consume about 60-percent whiskey, 25-percent rum, and 15-percent vodka.

1 quart soda or ginger ale = Six drinks (8-oz. highball glass, 1.5-oz. liquor)
1 liter whiskey, rum, or vodka = 22 drinks (1.5-oz. liquor)
1 liter wine = Six 6-oz. servings
1 gallon Manhattans = 32 cocktails (4-oz. glass)
1 gallon Martinis = 32 cocktails (4-oz. glass)

What’s the cheapest way to buy liquor for your event — by the person, by the drink, or by the bottle? The answer depends on the number of guests and how much they like to party.

As a rule, buying by the drink is smarter if you have fewer than 100 guests, and buying by the bottle is best if you have more than 100 guests. And you should only pay per person if the majority of your attendees are heavy drinkers.

Use the following equations to figure out which option is best for your event. Base your estimates on data from previous events or on your attendee demographics. This example is based on an event with 150 attendees.

It pays to be precise when you buy alcohol by the bottle. To ensure you pay only for the alcohol attendees actually drink, establish a consistent inventory system before the event, based on the following guidelines:

1. Count bottles in (write down numbers, and have the bartender sign it).
2. Give the bartender the following instructions:


Don’t discard empty wine bottles.
Don’t use empties as water bottles.
Don’t give out wine or liquor by the bottle.
Use jiggers or posi-pours (bottle-toppers that control serving size).

3. Conduct inventory out in the same room as the reception.
4. Check under the bar and on tables for extra empties.
5. Count all empty bottles.
6. For partials, estimate the amount consumed to the nearest tenth.
7. Record everything on an inventory sheet and have the bartender initial it.

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