Working out how much booze to buy for a party can be a bit of a conundrum.  Miscalculate and you risk running out of drinks just as the party gets going and your thirsty guests are having the time of their lives.  While a quick dash to the off-licence usually saves the day, it’s a stressful interruption that could easily be avoided.  Conversely, a big over-calculation can be an expensive error, and while you might think “we’ll drink it anyway”, the delights of prosecco or a summer rosé might start to wane after a time!

To help you avoid these pitfalls, Forkful Food has put together a simple, downloadable Party Booze Planner which helps you work out:

  • How many drinks to supply per person
  • How many drinks you get from a bottle of wine, fizz, spirits, or a keg of beer
  • How many soft drinks to allow
  • How many glasses (and what types) you’ll need
  • The best and quickest way to chill down your drinks


You can download our Party Booze Planner here, but in a nutshell, this is all you need to know to get your drinks planning right:

  1. Allow 2 alcoholic drinks per person in the first hour of the party, and one per hour thereafter
  2. Allow 350-500ml of soft drinks per person per party
  3. Allow 1.25 glasses per guest – generally you’ll need wine glasses (use 175ml glasses for both red & white wine), hiballs and champagne flutes
  4. A 750ml bottle will yield 6 x 125ml flute glasses of fizz, 4-5 glasses of wine (depending on size of pour) and 16 x 45ml servings of spirits (for which allow 100-150ml of mixer per drink)
  5. A beer keg contains about 80 pints and a mini keg holds 18-36 pints (keg size varies from supplier to supplier)
  6. The best and quickest way to chill drinks down is in a chiller bin filled with a mix of ice and water – a bottle of wine will only take about 30 minutes to reach perfect drinking temperature.


In our experience, this calculation has always served us well and heavier drinkers will be balanced out by non-drinking guests and those that leave earlier.  Deciding what split of drinks to serve will, however, rely on a little educated guesswork on your part.  Are your guests a champagne crowd, or would a keg of beer be more their style?  Whatever you decide, here are a few observations to bear in mind:

  1. Generally, if you’re serving fizz, guests will drink it until it runs out, so make half to three quarters of your drink allocation bubbly
  2. Fewer people will drink red wine in the summer than in the winter, so weight your wine purchasing accordingly
  3. In our view, it’s better to keep things simple rather than try to offer all things to all men. That being said, if you decide to serve only champagne or other fizz, make sure that you’ve got a few bottles of red and white wine available for those who dislike or can’t tolerate bubbly wine.
  4. You’ll probably need to hire in glasses, chiller bins and purchase ice. High street wine merchants such as Majestic offer free glass hire (with purchase) rent chiller bins, supply ice and they also deliver.  Some supermarkets, such as Waitrose, offer free glass hire (no purchase necessary).  In both these cases, you get basic quality “party glasses” that you will need to clean yourself before returning.  You will find a wider selection and better quality glasses from catering hire companies which will arrive sparkling clean (not always the case with the free hire glasses) and are returned dirty, so no washing up the following day with a hangover!  However, bear in mind that delivery and collection charges will be relatively high and charges for lost or broken items can quickly rack up.