Catering like a boss

Something people often ask me about is how to get around the curly conundrum of catering the drinks order for an event. “How can I make sure I don’t buy too much or too little and how can I cover all my bases without breaking the budget?”


Well reader, I’ve organised a few do’s in my time and it’s only been through trial, error (and the odd success) that I’ve learnt how to buy the right amount to get the party started and keep it going without giving my wallet heart failure. 

We’ve all been to sad soirees where the hosts have paid little or no attention to the drinking habits of their guests.  People end up leaving thirsty and unhappy. And the last thing you want is for your mates to mumble something like “Sorry, but I, er, really have to stay home and paint my computer” the next time they’re invited over to yours for drinkies right?

Whether it’s just organising drinks after work, or catering an event for 200, it’s not the easiest thing keeping everyone happy, but it can be done.  I also know loads of people who are also trying to organise weddings and the alcohol order is turning into a huge headache, a headache which should rightly only kick in the day after. 

So read on, heed my advice and rest-assured your next shindig will be a triumph (although if you’re a seasoned organiser, please just talk amongst yourselves, make a cup of tea or go feed the cat).

OR simply phone us at WineFriend and we can absolutely take the hassle and guesswork out of sorting your order and soothing your wallet.


Here goes:

No matter how casual or formal the occasion, it is always a good idea to start with a good bubbly.  Think about the style of wine that your guests prefer; if they normally drink dry whites (e.g. sauvignon or chardonnay) or dry reds (cabernet’s, merlot’s shiraz etc…) then it’s a good idea to serve a ‘dry’ bubbly (i.e. anything with the word ‘Brut’ on the label)

If your guests like the smoother, sweeter styles then go for an Asti or Prosecco. 

If you don’t know – then grab a couple of bottles of each style – you’ll be able to find great fizz for around the $18-$20 mark.

Always serve your bubbles in a flute, never a shallow glass.  It tastes better and looks much better.  Don’t own enough flutes to go around?  Call a hire company – they’re usually less than $1 a glass.  The same goes for normal wine; get the right glasses and get loads of them.  Don’t spend all night rooting around in the pantry for odds-n-sods glassware when you could be out there enjoying yourself. 


How Much to Buy…

Deciding on your quantities is really just applying simple mathematics and here are the factors:

You’ll get 4 healthy-sized flutes of fizz from a standard bubbly bottle (allowing for a bit of frothy spillage when the cork is popped). 

You’ll get 5 decent-sized glasses of wine from a standard bottle of ‘still’ wine.

Allow 6 x 330ml bottles of beer for each man (for a small soiree) (this includes zero 0% and low-alc examples, which you should ALWAYS have on hand)


So let’s say you’ve got 20 people coming over.  Most of the women will probably drink wine, half of the men drink only beer, and the other half will possibly drink a bit of both.  Assuming no-one is driving home, your booze order would be:

  • Approximately 6 bottles of bubbly
  • Six bottles of white (mix it up a little, a bit of chard, bit of sav, bit of pinot gris perhaps…) and six bottles of red wine (maybe include 2 x rosé).
  • Approximately 5 dozen beer.

For a wedding, remember that pretty much everyone will have at least one glass of bubbles when they toast the bride and groom.  Some will drink more, but others will move onto wine, beer or something non-alcoholic.


If you’re planning a wedding/party for 100 people, then here’s a sure-fire recipe to keep everyone lubricated:

  • 5 dozen bottles of sparkling wine (prosecco or brut)
  • 4 dozen red wine (choose a soft, crowd-pleaser like pinot noir or shiraz)
  • 8 dozen white wine (2 doz sauvignon, 2 doz chard, 2 doz pinot gris, 2 doz rosé)
  • 40 dozen beer (include at least a few doz of 0% and low-alc examples in this mix)
  • One large bottle each of vodka, gin, bourbon and rum
  • One dozen selected two-litre mixers (lemonade, coke, ginger ale)
  • 6 large 3litre orange juice
  • Lots of water
  • And tea and coffee for the more fragile.


IMPORTANT TIP – make sure the bar staff at your wedding/party only open bottles of wine as they are needed.  You DO NOT want to be left with a lot of bottles of wine that have been opened and not consumed.  That’s a waste of wine AND money. 


IMPORTANTER TIP – There are also lots of good-quality zero% wines on the market now, so try to make sure you have a few bottles on hand for those who want to socialise without consuming alcohol and not feel like the odd one out.







26th July, 2021Jul, 2021 by Yvonne Lorkin

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