Are Ready-to-Drink Cocktails Okay to Serve at a Party?

A party is always a great idea at the start. What’s not to love about having a list of your favorite people to come to eat, drink, and maybe even dance with? Of course, for many of us, planning a party can get a bit overwhelming.

In principle, a social event is a breeze. Then, the practicalities come in. Who will you invite? What sort of food will you provide? And the ever-burning question: what drinks will you offer that will suit everyone’s taste?

If you’re planning to host a party and are stuck debating which beverages to serve your guests, there’s good news: ready-to-drink cocktails are here to save you time and energy.

The Ready-to-Drink Cocktail Craze

Move over, mixologists… RTDs are on the scene! Okay, it’s not a competition. Any mixologists reading this may scoff at the notion, and hear us out:

Hip bartenders making drinks with specifically-designed ice cube shapes and artisanal bitters will always have their place – and rightfully so. Popping out to a nice cocktail bar for a carefully-crafted old fashioned is an experience all its own. Stocking a bar and hiring a talented bartender for your party is an entirely different conversation. Thankfully, ready-to-drink (RTD) options have arrived to offer more accessible choices. 

RTDs are true to their name: cocktails ready to drink without preparation. These premixed concoctions make it easy to stock, serve, and enjoy a mixed drink without fumbling for ingredients. And people nationwide have taken a liking to them. The current market for RTDs is a reported $32.94 billion, and that figure is expected to more than double by 2030.

Convenient, portable, and well-priced, RTDs are a favorite for a variety of occasions, including a simple drink to unwind after a long day. Ready-to-drink cocktails are particularly popular for events and parties as they make it easy to offer options without investing in a full bar.

Host(ess) with the Most(est)

Being a good host is hard work. There are a lot of things to manage to ensure your party goes well and your guests are happy. Managing the bar and refreshments is a big task, and every host wants to ensure they have enough things with enough variety to serve everyone.

RTDs boost your hosting power. With a variety of flavors and styles, guests are sure to have the drinks they enjoy. Your guests will be your biggest fan with a bar stocked with RTDs.

Benefits of RTDs

Sure, RTDs are popular, but how will they make your life easier? There are a few key benefits of stocking ready-to-drink cocktails, and they’re more than just stress relief for you.

Faster Service

To start, RTDs are, well, ready to drink. Rather than keeping your guests waiting in long bar queues, try offering pre-mixed cocktails and saving some time. Lines for drinks not only take time, but they take up space in your venue. They also keep your guests from enjoying other aspects of your party, like mingling, dancing, and enjoying the vibe.

Lower Your Costs

Stocking a bar is a costly venture, and it’s only one element of paying for a party. If you hire a bartender or catering service, you’ll likely end up paying for a lot of open yet unfinished bottles. Even if you supply the drinks yourself, you’ll have to foot the bill for spirits, mixers, citrus, and perhaps bar supplies like shakers and muddlers.

Ready-to-drink cocktails will save you the expense. You know exactly how many servings you have on hand, and you don’t need to worry about opened bottles remaining at the end of the night.

Wider Variety

If you were to start from scratch, you would likely do your best to strategize stocking the bar with a wide enough variety. Unlike the nightclub in town, you can’t be expected to stock a full bar for your guests. You’ll have to pick and choose and estimate what your guests might like best. That likely means several key spirits and mixers in hopes that you can offer a few different drinks.

When you have ready-to-drink cocktails, you can stock your bar shelves with a huge variety for every taste. Margaritas, espresso martinis, mai tais, martinis, daiquiris, cosmos, gimlets, and even the classic old fashioned – all these can sit proudly on display to appeal to your whole guest list. No need to leave anything out to save space or money.

How to Determine Your Order

Once you’ve decided how you’ll stock your bar, you want to be sure you have enough for your guests. How do you decide what and how to order? We have a few tips.

Your Guest Count

A good place to start is to understand how many drinks you may need. Stocking too much means you’ll have a lot on hand at the end of the night (and a larger bill at the outset). Stock too little, and you’ll have thirsty guests with nothing to drink.

A rule of thumb for determining quantities is to estimate one drink per person, per hour. If you plan to have 40 people for three hours, have at least 120 drinks available. Bear in mind, that restocking is a last resort. Of course, if you live somewhere rural, your party will run late, or you’ll enjoy alcoholic drinks yourself, this may not be an option. 

Your Variety

Now that you know roughly how many drinks you’ll need, what will you get? Ready-to-drink cocktails make it easy to stock up, but you still need to decide what to have.

Ready-to-drink cocktails are typically available in popular, crowd-pleasing flavors. That makes it easier on you to decide. To start, if you’re hosting friends, you may have an idea of the kinds of drinks they like. If you have a group that regularly meets for Margarita Monday, it’s pretty safe to assume they’ll be happy to have some margs on hand.

Next, consider the season, theme, or occasion for your party. Are you having a nice poolside gathering on a mid-summer afternoon? Mai tais and daiquiris will fit the mood. Is it a pre-holiday get-together in a colder-weather period? What’s cozier than a gimlet or an old fashioned? Try estimating your drinks based on the circumstances and timing of your party.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

We’ve been covering the virtues of ready-to-drink cocktails, but every party needs more than just alcoholic beverages. You’ll have designated drivers and people who opt not to drink, so you’ll want to cater to them as well.

Along with sodas, sparkling water, juices, and water for your sober friends, consider fun non-alcoholic beverages like Ritual Spirits alternative cocktails, Athletic Brewing “beer” and some of these other highly-rated, non-alcoholic canned cocktails. While you’re thinking about your non-alcoholic needs, don’t forget to add ice, lemons, limes, and even oranges to your list. While you may not be mixing your own cocktails, it’s still nice to spruce them up with a wedge of lemon or a twist of orange.

Not Just for Private Parties

Ready-to-drink cocktails may seem an obvious go-to for a house party with friends. That’s especially true if you’re a fan of them yourself and have your favorite brand on hand. But RTDs aren’t limited to a nice gathering in your garden or to supplement a dinner party.

Larger events will also benefit from stocking ready-to-drink cocktails. The same benefits above apply to parties of any size. Saving money, time, and space is appealing to any party. Whether it’s an open or cash bar, your guests will be happy to receive drinks swiftly, and you’ll find it easy to keep track of your financial investment on the beverage front.

Ready-to-Drink Cocktails for a Memorable Event

Every party host wants their event to be memorable, and to stick in guests’ minds for all the right reasons. Serving ready-to-drink cocktails ensures you have a variety of drink options, and you can serve them easily without keeping your guests waiting.

Opting for RTDs doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing on quality, taste, or freshness of ingredients. When you choose ready-to-drink cocktails from Post Meridiem, you get thoughtfully designed and carefully crafted drinks made in small batches. It doesn’t get much better than the taste of a cocktail bar with the ease of RTDs.