How Much Ice to Have at a Party

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Quick math for cold drinks

So chill... your drinks will stay

When throwing a party, it's important to have enough ice on hand to keep everyone's drinks cold. But how much do you need? And what kind of ice chest or bucket will you need to hold it all? We're here to help you figure out just how much ice you'll need for your next get together.

how much ice do i need for having people over

How many guests are coming? 

To start, think about how many guests you'll have. Then, consider how many beverages each person is likely to drink. If you're serving mixed drinks or iced coffee, you'll need more ice than if you're just serving canned soda, sparkling water, kombucha or beer. And of course, if it's a hot day (or if your party is outdoors), people will probably drink more iced beverages than if it's a colder day or your party is indoors.

What will hold the ice? 

Next, consider what kind of ice chest or bucket you'll be using. If it's a small cooler, you won't need as much ice as if you're using a large bin. Also, think about whether your guests will be serving themselves, or if you'll have someone assigned to dole out drinks. If it's the latter, you might want to get a little extra ice so that your helper can top off glasses as needed.

what is the best cooler for ice

How much ice per drink?

Generally, parties report about a ½ pound of ice per glass. So if a guest has three drinks, that is 1.5 pounds of ice. If your party has 10 guests, you can estimate 15 lbs of ice. A small algebra equation for our Hermione Grangers out there:

X = 0.5 (D) x G

  • X = pounds of ice
  • D = number of drinks
  • G = number of guests

Consider the elements

Finally, keep in mind that ice melts, unless you're throwing an outdoor Apres Ski party in Aspen, of course. So if your party is going to last a while, or if it's particularly hot outside, you might want to get a little extra ice to account for the melting.

With all of these factors in mind, you should have a good idea of how much ice you'll need for your party. So go ahead and fill that cooler (or bucket) and enjoy your event!

how much ice should i buy for a party

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