Drinks by the Numbers

For this year’s December issue, Food Network Magazine took the guesswork out of figuring out how much alcohol to buy for your holiday soiree.
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For this year’s December issue, Food Network Magazine took the guesswork out of figuring out how much alcohol to buy for your holiday soiree. With the handy “beverage formula,” you can easily calculate the number of drinks you’ll need. Wondering why there is an asterisk? It’s simply there to explain that guests generally consume two drinks in the first hour of a party and one drink for each additional hour. So pour yourself a drink, relax and enjoy your own party.

Scroll down below for affordable champagne alternatives and festive big-batch cocktail recipes. Each of the pitcher drinks can be made in advance and serves about 16.

Gin and Juice

Combine 1 liter gin, 8 cups white cranberry juice, 2 cups white grape juice and 1/4 cup elderflower liqueur in a pitcher. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary.

Tequila Fruit Punch

Combine 1 liter tequila, 4 cups pomegranate juice and 1/2 cup fresh lime juice in a pitcher. Serve over ice and top with seltzer; garnish with pomegranate seeds and sliced star fruit.

Spiced Vodka Grapefruit Punch

Combine 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, 5 star anise pods, 5 pieces crystallized ginger and 1 vanilla bean (split and seeds scraped) in a pitcher. Add 1cup hot water; stir to dissolve the sugar. Stir in 1 liter vodka; let cool, then add 4 cups grapefruit juice and 1 cup ginger liqueur. Serve over ice; garnish with grapefruit.

Bourbon Cream Punch

Melt 1 gallon vanilla ice cream. Combine with 1 liter each bourbon and cream soda, 12 ounces evaporated milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a pitcher; whisk until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

Bubbles on a Budget: Instead of champagne, try one of these reasonable options.

  • Prosecco (Italy): fruity and floral
  • Cava (Spain): dry and crisp
  • Asti (Italy): slightly sweet
  • Sekt (Germany and Austria): available as dry or sweet
  • Crémant (France): dry and made in France but not in the Champagne region
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