Planning a proper party requires paying attention to details. Part of those details are knowing what you will need and how much. This applies to all aspects of the party menu including the bar. What follows are the basic rules in setting up a successful basic party bar. (It should be noted that a standard cocktail party lasts a minimum of 4 hours).
A basic bar contains the following items; bourbon, brandy, cognac, gin, run, scotch, tequila, vodka, Irish whiskey, blended whiskey or rye, lager style beer, lite beer, dry red wine (cabernet or sauvignon), dry white wine (chardonnay), vermouth (sweet and dry), dry sherry, basic condiments, basic liquors and basic mixers.
A list of basic condiments includes; coarse salt, fine (powdered) sugar, black pepper, horseradish, cocktail onions, cocktail olives, maraschino cherries, cinnamon and nutmeg.
A list of basic mixers includes; angostura bitters, club soda, tonic water, cola, diet sodas, ginger ale, lemon and lime soda, orange juice, tomato juice, grenadine, Rose’s lime juice, lemons, limes, milk, light cream, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and bottled water.
A basic liquor bar contains the following ingredients; Apple Jack or Calvados, Amaretto, Anisette, Cointreau or Triple Sec, Crème de Banane, Crème de Cacao (light and dark), Crème de Menth (white and green), Crème de Cassis, Grand Marnier, Pernod, Amer Picon, Benedictine, Kahlua, Sambuca (white), Bailey’s Irish Cream, Curaco (blue and white), Sloe Gin and Southern Comfort.
How much is enough?
The basic rules of thumb when determining how much alcohol is needed are relatively simple.
One should ideally have one liter of liquor on hand for every six guests. In addition, for every liter of liquor one will need two quarts of mixer.
In regards to wine and beer; one should bear in mind that one case of wine (12 bottles) serves sixty and one case (24 bottles) of beer serves ten guests.
Furthermore, one will need one lemon for every twenty people, one lime for every 5 people, and plenty of cocktail napkins, ice and stemware.
Bar on a Budget
If obtaining all of the items on a basic bar are financially out of reach, there is a budget bar option that can be employed.
A bar bones basic bar should include two kinds of light alcohol (i.e. Gin, Vodka), two kinds of dark alcohol (i.e. Scotch, Bourbon), one white wine, one red wine, one regular beer, one lite beer, tonic water, club soda, colas, lemon-lime soda, vermouth (sweet and dry ), tomato juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, fresh lemons and limes.
One should keep in mind that there are additional party bar options like a full bar. Though full bars can be expensive to set up they are often well worth it when planning a large special event. Those wishing to learn more about setting up a full party bar should contact their local catering or special event planner.