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Party Drink Calculator

Created by Maria Kluziak and Wei Bin Loo
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


If you're the kind of host who likes to plan ahead and meet all of their guests' needs, you're in the right place — this party drink calculator is a tool for you! 🍾

Whether you're planning a wedding reception or a simple house party with pizza and beer, this alcohol calculator for a party is bound to make your life a lot easier. Use our calculator to answer the question: "How much alcohol for the party is appropriate?"; and read on to find out how to do the estimations on your own.

Party drink calculator illustration - people toasting with wine glasses.

How to use our party drink calculator?

Using our drink calculator for parties is as easy as pie! To answer the question of how much alcohol for the party should I get?, you only need to provide some very basic information about the event and your guests. Follow this set of instructions, and you will get the appropriate amount of drinks estimated in no time!

1. The first thing you need to do is pick whether you know what will be drunk by whom. Do you know exactly how many people will drink beer, how many will choose wine, and who will opt for stronger liquors? If you do, leave the calculator at the default "Yes" in the top-most field and carry on to the following sections:

  • If your guests will have beer 🍺, input the number of beer drinkers and the expected duration of the party in hours. At the bottom of this section, you will get the total number of beers that you need to get. Remember that our alcohol calculator for party rounds the result up to the closest integer.

💡 Got some spare time on your hands? You can use it to step up your beer game and give homebrewing a try. Check out our ABV calculator for more details.

  • For wine 🍷 calculations, you will need to input the number of wine drinkers - and that's it! The calculator will return the number of standard 750ml wine bottles that you will need to get.

  • For hard liquor 🥃, it is also enough to input the number of people who will be drinking it. Remember that in the case of mixed drinks, this calculation only includes their base - the alcohol! It does not take into account whatever soft drink you mix with it. For example, if you're planning on serving vodka with cranberry juice, the final field of this section of the party drink calculator will only show you how much vodka you need as the drinks' base.

2. If you don't know the specifics of who will drink what and need more of a general prediction, tick "No" in the top-most field of the calculator. After that, all you need to do is input the number of guests and the duration of the party in hours.

3. Our tool has an additional section reserved for soft drinks 🥤. Use the advanced mode to find out how many soft beverages you should serve for those of your guests who abstain from drinking alcohol during the party. To do so, input the number of non-drinkers and the duration of the party in the appropriate fields.

💡 Speaking of non-alcoholic beverages, remember to hydrate yourself during and after the party. Getting enough water in your system might save you one nasty hangover!

How to calculate drinks for your party?

This party drink calculator will do the work for you, but we understand that you might be interested in the math behind it. Here are the formulas that we use to provide you with the most accurate party drink estimations you can get!

For clarity's sake, let's break them down into three separate sections.

1. When you know how many guests drink a specific type of alcohol:

  • Calculating beer 🍻: the general rule is that one person drinks one beer per hour of a party, so we get that:

    # of beers = # of beer drinkers × party duration in hours

    For comfort's sake, you round the result up to the nearest integer. After all, no one will sell you ⅓ of a beer bottle!

  • Calculating wine 🥂: with wine, it is customary to divide the number of drinkers by 2.15 and then divide this number by two. The result is the total number of standard 750 ml wine bottles, one of which typically makes for five or six glasses. Just like with beer, it's a good idea to round the result up to the nearest integer. So, the final formula goes as follows:

    # of wine bottles = ½ × (# of wine drinkers / 2.15)

  • Calculating liquor 🥃: for drinks with an alcohol content of around 30% and higher, you usually get 0.5 liters per person. So, the formula we get is quite simple:

    liquor (in liters) = # of liquor drinkers × ½

    The volumes of alcohol bottles are often given in the metric system, even in countries that normally use imperial, hence our choice to only include liters in this party drink calculator. Feel free to use our volume converter if you'd like to see your result in a different unit.

2. When you need a general estimation, not knowing exactly who will drink what:

In this case, it all comes down to one basic equation telling you the total number of needed alcohol:

total # of drinks = # of guests × party duration in hours

Then, you modify this short formula to get more precise results:

  • Starting from beer 🍺, it should make up 40% of all the beverages you'll serve. So:

    # of beers = total # of drinks × 40%

  • Next, you calculate wine 🍷, which should account for 60% of the remaining alcohol. Hence, we get that:

    # of wine glasses = (total # drinks − # of beers) × 60%

    Since, assuming that you're not holding your party in a restaurant, you can't buy wine by glasses, we need to convert that into bottles. Traditionally, a glass of wine is about 150 ml, meaning that a standard 750ml wine bottle fits five of them, so you can easily figure out that:

    # of wine bottles = # of wine glasses / 5

  • What's left are hard liquors 🍸, which are counted in standard shots (about 1½ oz / 45 ml). Here, you simply take what's left of the total number of drinks you first calculated, so:

    # of shots = total # of drinks − # of beers − # of wine glasses

In all these cases, you probably want to round the result up to the nearest integer. That will make shopping a lot easier.

3. Calculating soft drinks

Let's not forget about your abstinent and driving guests! You can find the soft drink 🥤 section in the advanced mode of our party drink calculator. It's a lot easier than calculating how much alcohol for a party to get. The formula is short and simple — all you have to do is make sure that every guest has a drink for every hour of the party, plus one extra in case they want more. So the formula is:

# of soft drinks = # of guests × (party duration in hours + 1)

Note that an hour is the only time unit in our party drink calculator. That is because we believe it's practically impossible to plan to the minute how long a celebration will last.

💡 Need more tips on party planning? Perhaps you'll find inspiration in one of our related tools:

Party drink calculator illustration - three beer bottles

Additional notes on using the alcohol calculator for party

There are a few additional notes you should remember about:

  • Although we know you don't need to be told this by us, we would like to clarify that we wholeheartedly discourage drinking and driving. Always remember to have a designated driver who abstains from drinking any alcohol at all — even a low blood alcohol content level is enough to impair your perception and make it dangerous to drive❗ If there is no driver available, or they want to drink, consider switching to public transport 🚌 or getting a taxi 🚕.

  • Please keep in mind that frequent drinking can lead to alcohol addiction. If you're worried about your or a friend's drinking patterns, you can refer to our Audit Score calculator for a quick assessment. Remember that you can always seek help at the Alcohol Addiction Hotline (USA) or the NHS alcohol overuse support website (UK).

FAQ

How do I keep drinks cold at a party?

To keep drinks cold at a party, use ice buckets, cooler boxes, or a fridge. You can also pre-freeze cups and use ice packs or chilled serving ware for added coolness.

How many drinks per person for a party?

Plan for 2-3 drinks per person for the first hour and 1-2 drinks per hour thereafter. Include non-alcoholic options.

How do I serve drinks at a party?

Set up a drinks station with a self-serve bar or dispensers. Offer a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. Include cups, straws, and ice. Use ice buckets or coolers to keep drinks cold and replenish as needed.

How do I calculate wine per person for a party?

You can calculate the wine needed in three steps:

  1. Calculate the attendance.

  2. Determine the party's duration.

  3. Apply the number of glasses of wine formula:

    total glasses of wine = attendance + (attendance × 0.5 × (duration − 1))

Maria Kluziak and Wei Bin Loo
Do you know who will drink what?
No
Party details 🥳
Total number of guests
Number of guests who drink softs
Party duration
hrs
Results 🎉
🍻 Beer needed
standard cans
🍷 Wine glasses needed
🍾 Wine bottles needed
🥃 Hard liquor needed
shots
🥤 Soft drinks needed
½ l / 16 oz servings
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