So you’re throwing a party. Like a real one, not a BYO Coors Light and Manischewitz blowout in your weird cousin Barry’s basement. How much booze do you need and what should you provide?
The general rule is you need one drink per person, per hour. 30 people for four hours? 120 drinks. And I’ll define “drink” in that boring way that DARE does: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor (though realistically, people will pour more liquor than that). You get 5 glasses of wine and 15ish shots of liquor to a standard 750ml bottle.
I recommend evenly splitting your drinks between beer and wine, though the particular makeup of your party may encourage you to adjust your offerings accordingly. Unless you really want to, my personal opinion is that it’s not necessary to offer liquor, however if you know that your gin loving creepy cousin Barry is coming, then it would be in good taste to have gin available. Consider liquor an added embellishment and offer it if you’d like with a modest array of typical mixers (soda, tonic, and a couple juices, Diet Coke if you’re a Tri-Delt, Red Bull if you’re a douchebag).
As trendy as weird high alcohol beers are right now, for party purposes I recommend sticking to more modestly potent beers in the 5ish percent alcohol range. Think a nice pilsner or pale ale. The same goes for wine. Avoid those 16% abv Paso Robles Zinfandels. Remember, it’s a party for grownups, not a Cloyne Court stoplight party.
On the wine front, you should get two bottles of red for every one bottle of white. Get medium-to-full bodied red wines. Spanish and southern French reds are often excellent, reasonably-priced party wines. For white wines, opt for light, crisp wines like unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Verdejo, Gruner Veltliner, or, if you must, Pinot Grigio. Essentially, you want wines that are delicious but not overly challenging. It’s a party, after all.
Don’t be afraid to buy too much booze. It doesn’t go bad quickly, so worst case scenario you’ve just got a jump start on the next party. Or you die of alcohol poisoning. Either way it’s a win-win.