Hosting a cocktail party is cool; running out of something is not! Here are some guidelines to help you stay stocked the entire night.

For a one-hour party, plan for two beverages per guest. For a two- to three-hour party, plan on one beverage per person per hour. Basic tumblers and wine glasses (2 per person) are ideal for most parties.

Small bowls of lemon and lime wedges, half slices of oranges and cucumbers, olives and maraschino cherries are great to have on hand for garnishing.

  (750 ml)  
  Six 4-ounce glasses  
  (1 case)  
  Twenty-four 12-ounce servings  
  (2 liter)  
  Eleven 6-ounce glasses  
  (750 ml)  
  25.6 ounces  
  (1 gallon)  
  Twenty 6-ounce servings  
  (1 pound)  
  Fifty 6-ounce cups  
  Ice cubes     1 pound/guest  

Tiny Bubbles

A bit of bubbly Champagne or sparkling wine adds a special touch to any occasion. Here are some tips to keep the bubbles flowing:
  • Champagne styles, listed dry to sweet: brut, extra dry/extra sec, sec, demo-sec.
  • Serve in champagne flutes, not champagne saucers, to preserve the bubbles.
  • To store a partial bottle of Champagne, insert the handle of a silver spoon in the neck of the bottle and chill. The silver creates a chemical reaction that maintains carbonation.

Cocktail Party Appetizers

Not sure how much food you’ll need at your party? The best place to start is how long it’ll be. For a 30-minute cocktail hour before dinner, plan on four to six hors d’oeuvres per person. If the party is two to three hours long, along 10 to 12 appetizers per person.

Decide how many varieties of appetizers to serve based on the number of guests attending. Use our handy dandy chart as a guide!

  8-10 guests     4 types of appetizers  
  3-4 per person  
  14-16 guests     5-6 types of appetizers  
  2-3 per person  
  20-30 guests     7-8 types of appetizers  
  1-2 per person