Social and Party Planner

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Whether you're throwing a social, planning a wedding reception, or putting together the office Christmas party, there are always questions with the beverage alcohol you plan to serve, and the responsibilities associated with being a host. The tips in this section will help you with your planning. Please also see our Host Guide for Responsible Entertaining.



About half of all Canadians express a preference for beer. The rest of the party-goers will be more or less equally interested in mixed drinks and wine. Visit your local Liquor Mart to speak with our knowledgeable staff.

You can manually calculate the alcohol you need. First, estimate how many people will be drinking at the event. Second, multiply this number by four (most people drink 2 to 3 standard drinks at a party. We estimate one extra drink per person so that you won't run out!) This tells you the number of standard drinks you need to accommodate. Next, translate this standard drinks number into the different kinds of drinks. A bottle of beer provides one drink, a 750ml bottle of wine provides five drinks, and a 750ml bottle of any spirit is about 17 drinks.

Finally, multiply those numbers by the preference percentages above (50% beer, 25% wine, 25% spirits) and you have a shopping breakdown of the alcohol you need to buy.

For example, a typical selection for a party of 100 people would be 400 standard drinks, distributed in this way:

  • 200 x 12-oz. bottles of beer (200 drinks) AND
  • 20 x 750ml bottles of table wine (100 drinks) AND
  • 6 x 750 ml bottles of spirits (100 drinks)


Once you know how much to buy, you still have to decide which kinds of alcohol to buy. After all, what will people want?

It may help you to remember that in Manitoba, the most common spirits are these, according to our sales statistics. (All values are approximate, and fluctuate from season to season.)
  • Whisky
  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Scotch
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Vermouth (for martinis and manhattans)
  • Other (aperitifs, liqueurs)

A number of aperitifs and liqueurs are very popular in Canada, including Bailey's Irish Cream and Kahlua, both of which are often served with milk or coffee. That's right, don't forget milk, cola, orange juice, tonic water, soda water, and all the other mixes that make mixed drinks great, and don't forget to get extra soft drinks for non-drinkers and designated drivers.

Of course, if you're having a theme party, you may want theme drinks, so this math may not apply. A South Seas Barbeque might need more rum and tequila, for example.