Play Host: How To Shop for Your Cocktail Essentials

You’re throwing a party. The menu is set, the décor nearly done. Now, for the best part (some might say): the liquid refreshments. Estimating whether guests will guzzle or sip? Far from easy. Susan Spungen, Rue Living Inspirer and author of What’s a Hostess to Do?, breaks down what – and how much – to stock up on.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 8.55.33 PM

First things first – the hard stuff:

  • On average, assume your guests will have 2 drinks per hour (10 guests x 2 drinks x 2 hours = 40 drinks).
  • There are approximately 5 glasses of wine per bottle.
  • Most mixed drinks are made with a 1-ounce shot of liquor. A 1-liter bottle of liquor contains enough for 32 drinks.
  • Mixers are usually poured in 4-ounce portions. One liter of mixer will make 8 drinks.


Now, on to the mixers:


  • Tonic
  • Club soda or seltzer (San Pellegrino or other sparkling water is fine)
  • Cola and diet cola
  • Ginger ale
  • Extra soft drinks for nondrinkers



  • Sour mix or fresh lemonade
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix
  • Heavy cream or whipped cream (for winter drinks)


Excerpted from What’s a Hostess To Do? by Susan Spungen (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013.

Susan Spungen is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, editor, and author. Most recently, she was the culinary consultant and food stylist on the feature films Labor Day (a Fall 2013 movie directed by Jason Reitman), Julie & Julia, It’s Complicated, and Eat, Pray, Love. She is the author of Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook and co-author of the best-selling Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook. She lives in New York City.

For more entertaining advice, grab a copy of What’s a Hostess to Do? at our Sunday Supper: Girls’ Night In Boutique on Sunday, November 3, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

November 3, 2013