Bottoms Up!

by | Food & Catering Wisdom, Wisdom


Alexx of Luxury Tastings

How much to serve or to drink: These are the questions?

You’re at a wedding or indeed a party, and the drinks are being trayed through the room at an exciting pace. There are two questions that arise: As an organiser, how much do I need to provide or allow for so that I can forecast and budget the correct amount of drinks. Secondly, how much am I drinking?

Forecasting drinks for a wedding or party
If the venue you’ve chosen provides the drinks package in house, then you at least won’t need to worry about running out but it’s a great idea to discuss before hand with them, if you have any limitations from a budgeting perspective. You should allow one drink per person, per half hour for a short party of 2-3 hours. For longer receptions 1 drink per hour is what it will slow to once the dinner is finished and the dance floor gets going – unless it’s a Russian or Greek wedding, which is when the vodka and ouzo have their volume turned up, and then you’re on your own folks!

If you’re catering the wedding yourselves, which is what we did, we followed the drink per guest per half hour and added 10% to the champagne and beer to allow for enthusiastic mums who don’t get out much and boys who, if you have lots of them, will sometimes drink a beer rather quickly.

If you wanted to slow consumption of wine down during dinner to save on your beverage costs, the easiest way to do it is to have the wait staff topping up, instead of bottles at the tables. It just makes people pace themselves a little and will definitely save you money. This way, a bottle won’t be opened to top up half a glass right at the end of the reception and then be charged to you, despite all the wine left in there! I have a post coming on what to choose on your beverage pack soon, so I look forward to sharing that with you shortly!

How much are you drinking?
The best way, if you want to watch how much you’re drinking at a wedding, is to not allow top ups until your glass is empty. A function glass of wine will generally be poured 120-150ml at a time, and that is 1.2-1.5 standard drinks per glass. If there’s a cocktail, generally event cocktails will not be stronger than 1-1.5 at the most standard drinks, given they’re usually designed to be light, fresh and low alcohol to promote longevity rather than on-the-floor embarrassment right at the start of the reception!

A beer will be around 1.5 standard drinks, and the boutique brews often more. Spirits are around 1 standard drink per 30ml, unless cask strength or over proof (which I would stay right away from at a reception!).

Whatever you’re drinking, if there’s a way you can avoid driving at all, then do it. Make a trip of it with ferries, car pooling with lots of friends in a minibus or maxi cab or hiring a limo with a few other couples – much more fun and it means you don’t have to think about your levels too strictly or the safety of getting behind the wheel after even just a couple of drinks – it’s simply never, ever worth ‘wondering’.

So, if you’re the drink forecaster for your reception or simply wondering how much is in your glass, hopefully either way this post helps you have a think about things and gives you some ideas and direction.

I always say, drink excellent quality and a little less than you do, and generally a delicious balance can be found!

Photography by Robert Wen from Pepper Image via La La Love You


Ms Gingham says: Great post by Alexx from Luxury Tastings, to help your guests find the balance between having a good time and being inebriated!

About Alexx: My inspiration for Luxury Tastings came from seeing the effects that ’inspired hospitality’ has on people. It can be a little luxury tasting of champagne after a conference day, or a full gastronomic extravaganza, if it is delivered with expertise, passion & love, it can lift the room and all of the people in it and when it comes down to it, that’s what I and the experts I have chosen, love to do.

View previous posts by Alexx here.


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