How Much Alcohol Does Your Holiday Party Need?

Anyone who has ever thrown a party as an adult has inevitably found themselves faced with this question: How much alcohol do you supply your guests with? Thankfully, Serious Eats’ Matthew Dietsch (via First We Feast) has come up with a way to take the guesswork out of the conundrum. In his “How to Plan the Ultimate Cocktail Party” guide, he’s included a helpful little calculator he calls the Booze-O-Matic Drinks Calculator. All you need to do is plug in how many guests your expecting and how long your party is going to last, and voila! Instant results! I’ve never been a huge one for parties, but if you absolutely adore them — specifically throwing them — this one’s for you.

Dietsch goes by the following rule when calculating how much alcohol to have on hand: “Expect your guests to drink two drinks in the first hour, and one in each hour thereafter.” The math, he notes, isn’t exactly difficult — but if you’ve got absolutely no head for numbers, the Booze-O-Matic will crunch them all for you. Let’s take a look at a few examples, shall we?

For the purposes of this experiment, let’s keep the duration constant throughout: Four hours. That way, if, say, your Friendsgiving starts at 6 p.m. and you’re the one hosting, you can kick everyone out by 10 p.m. and sleep the sleep of the overly stuffed. Bear in mind that in each case, no matter how large or small it is, it’s perfectly acceptable to make your event at least partially potluck; whether it’s a drink or a dish, go ahead and request that everyone bring something if you’re the one hosting.

Small Get-Together (Five People):

Parties don’t have to be huge to be fun. I’m a big fan of the small get-together, myself; there’s less pressure to circulate, you actually have time to catch up with everyone, and generally you can be sure with a gathering of only a few people that all the attendees actually like each other. For a gathering of five including yourself, plan on having enough booze for 25 drinks.

Medium Hangout (8 People):

If you’re in the mood for something a little bigger, but still not huge, eight people is a good number. Whether it’s beer, wine, or cocktails, plan on having enough supplies for 40 drinks.

Large Gathering (14 People):

Got 14 people in your good books? Have a large gathering. Obviously the booze will get pricier the more people to whom you have to cater, so budget wisely. 70 drinks should do it.

Full-Blown Shindig (20 People):

Do you live in a giant loft or in an actual house? Congratulations — you officially have enough space to host a par-tay. 100 drinks will see you through the night.

Like I said, I’m not really a big party-thrower (or partier in general); if you are, though, keep this handy little tool nearby as you get ready for all your holiday events. Oh, and if you’re hosting a big Thanksgiving in a tiny apartment? We’ve got you covered. Live it. Love it. Happy holidays!

Images: add1sun/Flickr; Serious Eats