What you need for a party: a list of liquor requirements

What you need for a party: a list of liquor requirements

A buddy of mine is throwing a party and he emailed me about what kind of booze he should get and how much. It was surprising to me how many ideas come flowing from inside me, like some deep spiritual well of wisdom.

I come from a good family, who knows how to throw a party (i.e., if mom’s not on the table one-leg-fluting it to Jethro Tull, the party hasn’t started yet). I’m grateful for the blood-deep education I have on giving people a good time at a party. And in the spirit of “all good truths are free” I thought I’d share some of this deep wisdom. Please comment with any ideas of your own!

Note: these are ingredients and thoughts for a party of 15-30 people. If it’s smaller, I’d go towards more of a focus on sippin’ higher quality drinks. These party time parties tend to be more about the cold, large beverages. So please take it with a grain of salt.

What To Get: Basics

Whiskey: a couple of handles of Old Crow is the way to go — it’s the best value for a decent taste, at least in my research. Most people will be mixing this with coke or soda water anyways, so quality get’s run over anyways. Get at least 1 handles of this, 2 if you want to ‘P’arty.

Note: if you want to go with a better whiskey to sip, I’m partial to Bulleit bourbon — good flavor, good value.

Gin: I always go Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray. Those are pricey, but gin’s my drink so it’s worth it to me… the better the gin, the more gentle the next day will be. Depending on the kind of party you may need to go with Monarch or something to keep cost down. That’s fine, keep the advil next to your bed.

Vodka: Honestly, I go with 2 big handles of Seagrams — it’s cheap stuff, but vodka drinkers tend not to care. Skyy and Stoli are good medium priced options if you want to turn up the quality a bit.

Tonic Water: have loads of it. A couple 2 liter bottles should do.

Club Soda: have loads and loads of it. A couple 2 liter bottles should do — why not have more, though?

Ice: lots and lots of fucking ice. Trust me on this one: when the ice is all gone one of two things happen — 1). the party ends and people go home, 2). the party keeps going, people make tepid drinks, and things end ugly.

Lemons & Limes: Have a bunch on hand.

Cups/Glasses: if you have enough glasses, those are nice. Otherwise get the red plastic party cups. Why is this item even listed here? Because I’ve forgotten to think about it more than once.

What to get: Advanced

Cointreau: It’s pricey, so you’ll want to keep this in a secret place, but boy can it mature a whiskey-soda. A cap-ful of this in most drinks and all of a sudden you’re a cocktailier.

Tequila: Just a fifth of this should do. Don’t get any of the clear stuff, go with a reposado — Sauza, Hornitos, 1800, Cassadores are all fine choices. And don’t go for any of that fucking Cuervo either.

Fernet Branca: You might see it as little more than a novelty. I, on the other hand, consider it my mentor and physician. This stuff is peppermint and motor oil and a million herbs, roots, fungi and spices. Cures hangovers, indigestion, boredom and lackluster marriages. Pricey, so share it with the good folks.

Some Cocktail Thoughts

The Simple Margarita: No fucking mixers. Mix 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 spoon sugar, and 3 oz tequila in a mixing glass until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over rocks glass, ice to the brim.

Blue Collar Manhattan: No fucking cherries. 50/50 whiskey to club soda. Splash of Cointreau on top (fill the bottle cap and pour it in). Finger stir. In a rocks glass, ice to the brim.

Pro Tip: Tequila at 9:35pm

Here’s a little tip from an experienced party-thrower from outside my family:

At 9:35pm have a serving platter or waiter tray of shots of tequila ready, then walk around to different groups and say “I’ll do one if you do one!” Taking a shot at this point is the perfect little kick-start for your guests. To show up with a gift like this at a very vulnerable time in your party-goers’ night can turn your little soirée into a life-altering sleep-over! (if that’s your thing).

Your Thoughts?

Everyone has some tips about throwing parties. Above is just a little bare bones basics on what to have ready. What tips do you have to make people’s parties bettah?

If you’re not on the list   I can’t help you.   Help me help you!

Yum! don’t forget the beer though if you arnt in the bay area, like for the NW folks!

Angus Nelson

My caveat to this is that I’m from Wisconsin – a Brandy Old Fashioned is an amazing beverage: tasty, gotta have it sweet, and you can safely enjoy several of these crowd pleasers. Perhaps an “old guy” drink to some, this family favorite will cause your shindig to up the adventure in variety, and experience an altogether easy-drink beverage sure to create conversation with the unlearned long after bar time… remember a slice of orange, cherry for flavor; diet Slice wash; and extra bitters to spice it up. You can make from scratch or buy a mix.Love the gin factor! A T&T in hand is my recipe for ridiculousness however. Please limit me to one before I embarrass you, myself or family tree.

Chase Reeves

@zach… That’s true, I totally spaced that here. For beer I actually love the Costco Kirkland beer sampler pack. The bottles say “Kirkland” but the beer says “hey, that’s pretty damn good!”@Angus… Your brandy Old Fashioned sounds friggen good! I may have to experiment with that this weekend!


It’s for a party, Jae, not a fuckin’ reading group.


Don’t forget the “55 select” for those in the crowd that plan to look so good for bon iver.

Mick Jaegger

I will scotch party you into the ground


also, fucking seagrams? how about some tito’s handmade.


hey pal, you want a vodka party? You want to start tasting vodkas and classifying them? They’re odorless, tasteless. Good luck.

And as for your goddam scotch parties, try me, just try me!

Conner callahan

Joe Callahan would be very upset about your hatred for Jose cuervo!!

It's Me

I disagree with the vodka comment. I’m not a big vodka drinker and I thought they were all the same until I started dating a vodka drinker. He showed me that there are definitely differences in the quality of vodka. The better the vodka the smoother it is.

And what is it with Wisconsin and Old Fashions? Lol I’m from Wisconsin too and Old Fashons were to be had at every event. :)

Good basic list though. I figured whiskey, vodka, tequila, gin, beer, and wine. I’ll get the varieties we usually get like Jack, and Grey Goose or Kettle One. One of our guests is known to bring Patron. But gin…I don’t drink Gin so I appreciate the sugestion.

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