I am planning my husband’s 50th birthday and will be providing food and beer. I know not everyone likes beer and it would be nice to have an open bar. Would it be appropriate to write the following on the invitation: “In lieu of a gift, please bring your favorite bottle of spirits to share!?”
–Sharon, East Greenwich
It would depend how many people attend the party and the quantity of hard liquor, wine and beer you expect to be serving based during the number of hours of the party. For a two hour party for twenty with cocktails and snacks you won’t need as much liquor as you would if you were hosting fifty to a buffet dinner over the course of four hours. Have a talk with your local liquor store manager once you have a headcount. A good liquor store will take back any bottle that hasn’t been opened or refrigerated (cold or ice damage paper labels). That way you could buy a couple of fifths or liters of, say, scotch, vodka, rum and gin to have on hand. A standard bottle of wine fills five ounces of wine in five glasses. Unopened, undamaged bottles could be returned the next day. If you encourage guests to bring their favorite bottles of spirits, you will have to provide mixers and recycled plastic glasses. Either way, whether it is BYOB, or not, you’re going to have get a handle on how much liquor you’ll have to be providing as well as mixers, ice and glasses.
Do use your BYO request, but don’t mention ‘to share.’ Have the gifts of hard liquor and wine placed on the bar. Then the invitation would read: “In lieu of a gift, please, bring a bottle of your favorite spirit.” Remember, a ‘bottle’ of hard liquor could mean a pint, a fifth, or a liter. For over 30 quests, you may want to enlist the help of a bartender, whose service can paid through a well-placed tip jar.
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