Hosting the Holidays: Alcohol Guidelines

Last night, Steve and I continued our tradition of grocery shopping the Friday before Thanksgiving. Not only is this outing fun for us since we incorporate dinner before shopping, we also beat the giant crowds that will be flocking to the grocery stores for the next week.

This year’s trip didn’t disappoint. Our first stop was Total Wine in New Jersey, where we picked up alcoholic beverages for the week. Our strategy at Total Wine was simple: buy decent wine and beer without going overboard. Considering this year’s festivities are for all over 21 (well, there’s one minor), we also needed to have some filler beer that guests could drink after consuming one or two nice microbrews.

Here’s what we came away with at the end of the shopping trip:

Holiday Drinking, Beer and Wine Style

We bought a variety of local and cheap beers, bottled and boxed wines, and a case of Natural Light (my dad’s favorite) that, to me, goes in the undrinkable category. While it would be wonderful to treat our guests with only local or notable microbrews and mid-shelf wines, our alcohol choices came down to staying within our budget. Plus, we have a stocked liquor cabinet at home and can break into several hard liquor choices at any time.

I wasn’t able to use Martha’s “Party Calculator” that I enjoyed reading in the November issue of Living since I have guests for an entire week, but I thought her rule-of-thumb alcohol guidelines for parties was fantastic:

  • Wine: One bottle per two people per hour
  • Beer: Two beers per person per hour
  • Spirits: One bottle per five people per hour
  • Mixers: Three bottles for each bottle of alcohol
  • Ice: At least one pound per person per hour

I can’t wait to get the libations flowing at this house. I won’t have to wait long since my first guests arrive tonight!


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