Patricia Moore, managing director of Host Helpers, a registry for waiters, waitresses and professional bartenders in Southern California, thinks it’s easier to let a liquor wholesaler handle the beverage needs for a large party. “They are skilled at knowing what people drink and how much,” Moore says. “They take care of the mix and ice requirements and have the proper bar equipment such as ice, tub and portable bar. Wholesalers are set up to take back wines and credit the buyer; most other retailers are not.” If, however, you assume the task, use discount stores such as the Price Club, Trader Joe’s and others.
Should you use the services of a waiter, waitress or bartender, count on an hourly rate of at least $17 with a four-hour minimum. “Be prepared to tell the staff precisely what to clean up,” says Moore. “The more detailed the instructions the more mileage you will get from any help. Trouble begins when the help is expected to second guess the employer and work with little or no instruction.”
Here is Host Helpers’ table of party equivalents to help you decide how much liquor to buy for a party.
* Champagne: One case (12 fifths or 82 drinks) serves 50 people.
* Champagne fountain: One fountain will operate with as few as three bottles of Champagne and as much as five gallons, and is thus more economical than bottled Champagne.
* Liquor: Plan on approximately two drinks per hour per person. There are 28 drinks per quart of liquor. Vodka, scotch, gin, bourbon are major liquors in order of popular preference.
* Punch: A gallon of punch serves 24 persons.
* Coffee: A (one-pound) can of coffee makes 60 cups.
* Cocktail napkins: Count on two or three napkins per person for a three-hour party.
Table of Beverage Equivalents
No. of No. of Cocktails Desired No. of Dinner Drinks Desired Guests (Liquor Required) (Liquor Required) 4 Glasses: 8 to 12 12 to 16 Bottles: (one fifth) (one fifth) 6 12 to 18 18 to 24 (two fifths) (two fifths) 8 16 to 24 24 to 32 (two fifths) (two fifths) 12 24 to 36 36 to 48 (three fifths) (three fifths) 20 40 to 60 60 to 80 (four fifths) (five fifths) 25 50 to 70 75 to 100 (five fifths) (seven fifths) 40 80 to 120 120 to 160 (eight fifths) (ten fifths)
SOURCE: Host Helpers