What to serve at your open bar – and how much of it. Having a good bar set up with the right products makes for a better party, pure and simple.
There are a few rules of thumb, according to seasoned catering bartenders, although, says one, “You never know for sure what people will drink at any given event. It depends on the age of the crowd, the time of year, and frankly, the brands of the liquor you stock.”
At Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering, we agree. We’ve learned that what people ask for at the bar depends on the season and the temperature. Outdoor summer event? More light beer and white wine. Probably lots of vodka tonics as well.
Fall or winter event? Offer more hearty red wines, more scotch, and definitely more bourbon – which is really trending right now.
In general, younger crowds will drink more beer and less wine. Older crowds will drink more wine and scotch.
Interestingly, younger and older groups drink just about as much vodka. And gin, which had been quite trendy the past several years, has tapered off in popularity. Bourbon is the new favorite, with many folks looking for popular (and pricey) brands.
Not sure what your crowd will want? Try offering a couple of signature cocktails, tied by name or type of liquor to your event. For example, at a wedding reception, name a cocktail after the honeymoon destination. At a business event, name a signature cocktail after the
CEO or your brand in a creative way. Guests will love it. And you can also cut down on how much other liquor you have available at the bar.
With all that in mind, how can you plan what to serve?
12 bottles or red (more during cooler months)
12 bottles of white (more during summer months)
4 cases of light domestic
1 case of craft domestic (more if your crowd is under 40)
1 case of imported
10 liters of vodka
4 liters bourbon – it’s very popular right now
2 liters scotch
4 liters of tequila
2 liters of rum
1 liter of gin
One more pro tip -- Planning how bar traffic flows at an event is very important too. Nobody wants to push past people ordering a drink or leaving with one while running into traffic from the restroom.