How Much Alcohol to Serve at a Party

Sometimes it's as simple as numbers in, numbers out. Who said math couldn't be fun as an adult? 

There is always a moment before a party where you wonder if you've pulled together too much or too little alcohol, where you're unsure if you'll be forced to make someone drive for ice (because hellloooo sun), and where you're hoping the bar setup doesn't look straight out of Animal House. I might not be able to help with the latter two, but the first one, we'll cover today. This calculation is adapted from Lauren Conrad's out of her latest book, Celebrate. It has been adjusted after my previous party experiences using her original. 

It goes as follows:

(AVERAGE # of DRINKS x # of GUESTS) x 1.30 = Total Drink Count

Depending on the party, the average number of drinks may change. For example, at a dinner party each guest might consume 1 or 1.5 drinks per hour versus a bbq where they might consume 2.5 to 3 per hour. The average mixed cocktail contains 1.5 to 2 ounces of alcohol, but if it's more of a wine/beer situation, know that a bottle of wine contains about four glasses each. Since I never pour that carefully, I usually estimate about three healthy glasses and know that if it is all running low, I can squeeze an extra glass in there. A fifth of alcohol contains just over 25 ounces. To calculate the average number of drinks, determine how much each person will consume per hour and the number of hours spent drinking; multiply these together. The 1.30 is a 30% buffer for any last-minute guests or friends staying extra late and drinking after the party ends. Just a tip, better to have a little extra booze left over than run out in the middle of the party. 

A Quick Example: 
I'll certainly be using this for my upcoming party, and I can rest assured I won't be scrambling for last minute drinks (thank goodness). I estimated my guests would drink about three drinks an hour, for a duration of about three hours, so nine drinks per guest. 

(NINE drinks x 17 guests) x 1.30 = 198.9 or about 200 drinks. 

I know I will be serving about 200 drinks to all my friends and family - lots of fun to be had! I wanted a variety of drinks, so I am serving:

+ Grapefruit Punch
+ Wine
+ Beer
+ Champagne
+ Soda and Pink Lemonade

With the 30 percent buffer, I'll be shopping for about 23 guests instead of 17, so after the necessary math, my shopping list is:

+ 12 Bottles of Champagne
+ 10 12-Packs of Beer
+ 2 Bottles of Grapefruit Secco
+ 2 Bottles of Pino Grigio
+ 2 Bottles of Sparkling Water
+ 2 Boxes of White Wine
+ 1 Bottle of Pink Lemonade
+ Assortment of Sodas

Note: I overestimated in some areas, because I would rather have extra to use at a later time than not have enough at the party now. Who said math couldn't be fun as an adult? 

+What do you think? Helpful or not helpful?