Calculating Cocktails

Calculating Cocktails

November 30, 2022

Whether you choose a full bar or just a beer/wine bar, you’ll surely impress your guests. Here’s a guide to help you decide how much you need so you don’t run out and you don’t end up having to rent a storage locker for the extras!

Bartender Pouring Drinks

Full Bar

A full bar is just that – a bar that’s full of all kinds of drinks including hard liquor, beer and wine. Full bars enable you to create signature drinks and give your guests a plethora of options. Typically a full bar serves a mix of 50% wine, 30% liquor and 20% beer. It’s up to you whether

Bottle Count:

  • Liquor: 10
  • Wine: 75
  • Beer: 120 / 1 Keg
Serving beer at a wedding

Beer/Wine Bar

Whether you’re a fan of beer or wine or you just want a low key affair with drinks that might help your wedding reception not turn into a wild party, a beer/wine menu might just be the ticket. Consider picking your favorites or highlight the local area of your wedding by featuring local microbrews or winery favorites. A beer/wine bar will typically serve 75% wine and 25% beer.

Bottle Count:

  • Wine: 112
  • Beer: 150 / 1 Keg


Photo by Fábio Alves on Unsplash

Bride and groom's champagne toast

How much do you need?

  • Champagne: 1 bottle = 8 servings
  • Wine: 1 bottle = 5 servings
  • Hard liquor: 1 bottle = 18 drinks
  • Beer: 1 bottle = 1 serving

Depending on your crowd, an open bar can be one of the costliest endeavors for your wedding. In the past, it was considered poor etiquette to make your guest pay for ANY drink. Today, it’s perfectly appropriate to keep the options limited to beer, wine and soda, with mixed drinks available for cash purchase. Although rare, depending on your reception site and/or caterer, ask if you can provide the liquor and beverages for the open bar, and look into buying your own beverages at a discount liquor store or wholesale club like Sam’s Club or Costco.

Photo by cottonbro studio

Coffee Drinks for weddings

Other drinks

Beyond booze, incorporate nonalcoholic refreshments so that there’s a little something for everyone. Kegs of root beer are fun for the kids. Large jugs of lemonade are not only thirst quenching at a summertime wedding, but they also make for a very pretty picture. When it’s time for dessert or a late night second wind, consider a coffee bar complete with flavor shots and donut pops as stirring straws. In the winter months, a hot cacao bar with all the marshmallow trimmings and peppermint stick trappings leaves a warm, lasting impression.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Calculations assume an average of 1 drink per hour for 100 guests with the bar open for 6 hours.

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