Costmenu Blog Post

Setting up the perfect bar for an event: Part 4 of 5 - The Mixers and Other Things

The right mixers choices for an event bar

This is part 4 of 5 of the series explaining how to set up the perfect bar for an event. Here we break down what mixers for drinks are needed and that go best with alcohols you choose. As we noted prior, the bar dictates the tempo and enjoyment of the event. With that in mind it is critical to have the drink orders simple, consistent, and moving fast. Links to the first three articles can be found at the end of this blog.

As we noted in the prior article: Setting up the perfect bar for an event: Part 2 of 5 - Audit Your Event Prior, it is critical that you audit your event prior to making alcohol purchase decisions. Every event has its own theme, and those themes needs to be taken into consideration. After considering part two, the audit, we got into, Part 3 of 5 - The Alcohol Choices we broke down the basic alcohol choices and consumptions. In this article we talk about what mixers tend to work best, go the furthest, are needed the most as well as other important options to consider when setting up a perfect bar.

Understand what mixers work best with your alcohol

Assuming the bar is limited on the options or choices of alcohol described in our previous blog, Setting up the perfect bar for an event: Part 3 of 5 - The Alcohol Choices, you will find that the primary request for mixers are as follows: Soda Water, Cranberry Juice, Coke, Diet Coke, 7-Up, Grapefruit Juice, Orange Juice, Tonic, and flat water. Below are some topics of consideration when purchasing your mixers:

Soda Water: This is the most used mixer. You will tend to use more soda water than anything else. As and an example, a vodka soda, is half vodka and half soda (heavy pour of booze) or can be 2/3 soda and 1/3 vodka, so the quantity tends to be more when using soda as a mixer. In addition, soda water goes well with all alcohol types and can be combined with other mixers.

Cranberry Juice: This is the 2nd most requested mixer. Cranberry Juice actually goes a lot further than you realize. Most drinks that use cranberry only require a splash of it or is mixed with other item like soda water or OJ.

Coke, Diet Coke, 7-Up: Coke is often requested with bourbon and Diet Coke is requested with Vodka, and 7-Up with either of them. Over the years, Coke and Diet Coke has been replaced with Soda Water, but both are still required mixers and are requested slightly more than 7-Up. In addition, all three soft drinks are excellent options to have on hand for non-alcohol drinkers and children attending the event.

Grapefruit and Orange Juice: Both of fruit juices are must to have on hand though the amounts of them are not typically in that high of use. Grapefruit Juice is used with Vodkas but has seen more of a surge in use with Tequila. OJ is always a must but again is often used only in splashes or as a topper.

Tonic Water: Like Gin drinkers, its use is not often, nor a big percentage, but it is always represented and requested by a small percentage.

Bottled Water: This is ALWAYS good to have on hand. Not only is needed for some drink mixes, but it is used throughout the night to help keep the party inline. A good bartender should promote a bottle of water along with a cocktail order to help event goers enjoy their night responsibly. Water orders definitely increase towards the end of an event, especially the longer ones.

Additional Mixer Options: The following mixers are a 'must have' with your bar, but often a single bottle of each can suffice. Simple Syrup is good to have on hand for the bourbon drinkers. It is always great to have a bottle of bitters simply because it is small and goes a long way. A small bottle vermouth for martinis is important, noting that vermouth also goes a very long way. In addition don't forget the grenadine (cherry syrup) as it too can go a long way in adding color and a splash of flavor. Obviously depending on the event, other mixer options can be included but those really depend on the event type, length, age of attendees etc. Red Bull or energy drinks can be offered as mixers or drinks, but these are more specific to the party type.

Other suggestions/tips that go a long way in making a successful bar.

You will definitely need to have additional items that go with the cocktails as well. Many of these items are noted on the spreadsheet but we will list them here as well for additional reference:

Whole Limes: If cut proper should get 8 slices per lime also used for 20% of beers.
Whole Lemons: If cut proper should get 10-15 slices per lemon.
Cocktail Straws: 220% of cocktails - 1-2 straws per drink, waters, cokes etc.
Napkins: 200% of all drinks - 1-2 napkins per drink including wine, plus spills and extras.
Low Ball Glasses: Approximately 25% percent more glasses than cocktail estimates, also serve sodas.  Best cocktail size is 10oz glass.
Wine Glasses: Approximately 10% more wine glasses than wine offered.
Champagne Flutes: Approximately 10% more flutes than champagne served.
Serving Ice (lbs): Purchase in 5-10 lbs bags. Based on number of cocktails. Approximately 6 oz of ice per cocktail + 20% for melt. Additional bags of ice for cooling beer/wine optional.

What Quantities of Alcohol Should I Get For My Event?

Now this is the key question for purchasing. To make is simple we offer a free download of a spreadsheet via Google Sheets that can help you determine roughly what you should purchase. The information on the spreadsheet is based on our experience from hosting events and the above information. It offers and easy way to calculate the amounts of each alcohol to purchase. It's up to you what labels to get. You can download the spreadsheet here at this link, and feel free to use it as you like. Remember that Costmenu does offer more information on their system to help with the decisions and track your success rate in the case you are an event planner. Please try out the application on a 14-day free trial basis by clicking here.

Additional Information and References for an Event or Catered Bar

Remember to also check out all of the articles related to this blog:

About Costmenu:

Costmenu is a food/menu/recipe costing software that offer many advantages over excel spreadsheets and other inventory management programs. Costmenu integrates a powerful dashboard, food, prepared, and menu item costing features, menu building features, custom qr code label makers, document storage, event/catering management features, data security, performance measurement, data analysis and comparisons, CRM, and generation of various reports. For more information on Costmenu, visit, email, or phone (949) 274-4814.