Liquor / Beverages

There is usually price latitude with beverages and liquor, depending on the amount of alcohol served.

Options: Sodas and fruit punch are popular non- alcoholic beverages served at receptions. While white, red wines and beer are the most popular alcoholic beverages, you may also serve scotch, vodka, gin, rum, and of course, don’t forget coffee or tea.

Things to consider: If you plan to serve alcoholic beverages at a reception site that does not provide alcohol, make sure your caterer has a liquor license to serve alcohol and that your reception site allows consumption of alcoholic beverages.

In selecting the type of alcohol to serve, consider the age and preference of your guests, the type of food that will be served, (most receptions last three hours) and the time of day your guests will be drinking. Never serve liquor without some type of food, allow 1 drink serving per person per hour on the average. A bottle of wine, (most come in 750ml) will serve six glasses. Plan for an average limit of at least 3 glasses of wine per person. This means for instance, that you will need 4 bottles of wine (preferably 2 of white and 2 of red) per table for an 8- person table.

If you intend to serve cask wines, you will need an average of 8 casks of 5litres each to serve an average 100 people. For the spirits- one 750ml bottle can serve up to 25 tots. Assuming that each guest will have 2 tots per serving per hour, you will need 8 tots per person translating to a bottle per 3 people If you are hosting an open bar at a hotel or restaurant, ask the catering manager how they charge for liquor: by consumption or by number of bottles opened. Get this in writing before the event and then ask for a full consumption report after the event. It is also helpful to have a person you trust behind the bar to ensure it truly is your party that consumes all the liquor.

Beware: Ensure you put in place adequate security, as the host of a party is held legally responsible for the conduct and safety of their guests. Therefore keep this in mind when planning the quantity and type
of beverages to serve. Remind your bartenders not to serve alcohol to minors.

Tips To Save Money:

  • To keep beverage costs down, serve punch, wine, or non-alcoholic drinks only.
  • If your venue or caterer allows it, consider buying liquor from a wholesaler.
  • Avoid salty foods such as potato chips; these foods will make your guests thirstier so they will tend to drink more.
  • Host alcoholic beverages for the first hour, then go to a cash bar. Or host beer, wine, and soft drinks only and have mixed drinks available on a cash basis.
  • Cask wines are less expensive than serving bottled wine.
  • Corkage fee can be waived if you meet the minimum requirements on beverages consumed.
  • For the toast, serve champagne only on the high tables. Many people will make a toast with whatever they are currently drinking.
  • Consider serving sparkling wine in place of champagne.
  • Avoid waiters and waitresses. Instead, have an open bar in which your guests have to get their own drinks. People tend to drink almost twice as much if there are waiters and waitresses constantly asking them if they would like another drink and then topping up their drinks.

Corkage Fee
Many reception sites and caterers make money by marking up the food and alcohol they sell.

You may wish to provide your own alcohol for several reasons. First, it is more cost effective. Second, you may want to serve an exotic wine or drink that the reception site or caterer does not offer. In either case, if your reception site or caterer allows it, be prepared to pay a corkage fee. This is the fee for each bottle brought into the reception and opened by a member of their staff.

Things To Consider: You need to consider whether the expenses saved after paying the corkage fee justify the hassle of bringing in your own alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages are the most expensive. There are a number of options and variations for serving alcoholic beverages:

  • A full open bar where you pay for your guests to drink as much as they wish
  • An open bar for the first hour, followed by a cash bar where guests pay for their own drinks
  • Cash bar only
  • Beer and wine only

Non- alcoholic beverages only; or nay combination there of

Beverages Amount based on 100 guests
Gin 33 bottles (750ml)
Rum 33 bottles (750ml)
Scotch 33 bottles (750ml)
Vodka 33 bottles (750ml)
White wine 50 bottles (750ml)
Red wine 50 bottles (750ml)
Cask wine 8 casks each 5 liters
Champagne 20 bottles (for just tossing)
Other 2 cases each; tonic water, Ginger ale, cola, beer

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