|Photo by Ali of Tag Sale Style|
This past weekend I had a cocktail party, and wanted to have a fairly open bar. I decided to make a pre-mixed pitcher of a mocktail and a cocktail for those who wanted a drink made for them, and then have a nice variety of alcohol and mixers. I went to my trusted internet for guidance on what to get to ensure a good mix and enough supplies.
Now, I tend to be an over-buyer. And yet, I was blown away by how much the internet wanted me to buy for a 5 hour party with about 25 people. Short answer: way too much. Go ahead and search if you want. Then disregard that.
I decided to buy way less than what they said, on the theory that, hey, there's a bodega with soda and juice two blocks away and I could always run there or send someone there. The only thing I ran out of was Ginger Ale, and I had too much Coke (as in an entire unopened two liter bottle, plus most of another bottle.) I also should have gotten some beer. Your mileage, of course, may vary. If you know your friends like a specific type of booze, mixer, or mix drink plan accordingly. I know, for example, that the same friends who don't drink straight alcohol and might not want to mix their own drinks are the ones who like fruity, non-bitter drinks. I made a punch accordingly.
All that said, and with adjustments per social group, here's what I recommend stocking your bar with for a 25 person cocktail party for 4 or 5 hours. It's a lot less than the rest of the internet says, and I'd love to hear what your adjustments would be to optimize this list going forward.
Cocktail Party Stock (on the cheap)
1 1/2 gallon/1 carton Orange Juice
1 1/2 gallon/1 bottle Cranberry Juice
2 2 liter Ginger Ale
1 2 liter Coke (or other brand cola)
2 2 liter Diet Coke (or other brand)
2 2 liter Sprite (or other brand)
2 1 liter Tonic Water
2 2 liter Seltzer (I am guessing here, I have a seltzer maker and made as needed)
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 jar olives
mint leaves, the smallest amount you can buy
My advice--use mostly what you have on hand, unless you own nothing. We had a bunch of random things from previous specific cocktails like Blue Curacao, Peach Schnapps, etc.
Make sure you at least one bottle of:
Other than that, buy based on what your friends drink, if you know. And otherwise, buy based on what *you* like, so that if there are leftovers, you can enjoy them. Or if you don't drink, buy smaller amounts and know where the nearest open liquor store is and a sober person who can get there