Drinks are an essential part of any celebration, and I’m not just referring to alcoholic beverages here!  As always, a little advance preparation will ensure the smooth running of your bar, so follow these steps for your next shindig:

The Basics

  • Bottle opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Ice bucket and tongs
  • Ice (lots of it!)
  • Water jug
  • Cocktail shaker (if serving cocktails)
  • Small knife and cutting board
  • Garnishes for drinks (lemons, limes, cherries, olives, onions)
  • Cocktail sticks and stirrers
  • Napkins (small paper napkins are ideal)


Slim Jim (water, soft drinks, mixers, and beer)

1-2 per guest

Wine (red or white)

2 per guest


1 per guest


A rule of thumb is approximately two drinks per guest, per hour at your event.


Place your bar in a central location, with easy access from different points, and in a separate area to the food - you want your guests to keep moving and mingle, not create bottle necks (pun intended!). Place the drinks in the centre of the table, mixers, and ice close by and the glassware towards the edges. On that last point of course, common sense should prevail to avoid glassware being knocked over! Perhaps don’t place all the available glasses on display, instead keep some in their crates out of the way and add only when required.

Consider this…

  • When buying alcohol, wholesalers offer good value but may not take back your leftover stock.
  • Think of the time of day, year and type of party when making drinks decisions.
  • Older guests tend more towards spirits and wine. Younger groups will prefer beer, cider, or cocktails.
  • Everyone drinks less when food is provided.
  • Last but not least, the maxim “Enjoy alcohol responsibly” should be paramount to any host. And keep the numbers of your local taxi services to hand also, for your guests’ safety!