Hosting a party is a high-pressure job. There are invitations to send, menus to write, appetizers to assemble, and most important of all: drinks. Whether you’re planning a sophisticated soirée or a Super Bowl blowout, you’re gonna need to bring the booze if you don’t want people making excuses to leave before the second quarter. And there’s no better way to shop for a crowd than by buying in bulk.
But how much bulk do you actually need? When considering your guest list, figuring out how much booze is enough (without ending up with a cabinet full of half-drunk hooch) can be a tricky task. If you’re the host with the most, there’s no better bang for your liquor store buck than a handle, but how many drinks are you actually getting out of that hefty bottle? We’ll break it down for you below so you can focus on planning the festivities.
What Is a Handle?
A handle of liquor is a large bottle of alcohol that contains exactly 1.75 liters of booze. This is more than twice the average size of a standard liquor bottle and about half of a gallon. If you’re throwing a big party, handles are the cheapest and most convenient option for your gathering.
As you might imagine, this type of bottle gets its name from the included handle that makes it easier to carry. Nowadays some 1.75 L bottles don’t include the traditional handle, but they’re still referred to as handles. And they’re available in all your favorite types of alcohol. Whiskey, vodka and rum all come in handle sizes. Just pick your poison and enjoy.
How Many Shots Per Handle?
1 shot glass = 1.5 ounces
I handle = 1.75 liters
If you’re still cringing at the thought of doing math, take a deep breath and remember you’re an adult now. No need to ask Mr. Davis if you can use your calculator. So, here we go:
Joe bought a handle of vodka at the liquor store and invited his friends over for shots. The handle had 1.75 L of vodka and 1 L = 33.814 oz. Each shot glass was 1.5 oz. How many shots did Joe and his friends chug? Round your answer to the nearest shot.
Definitely more fun than your average middle school word problem. And you don’t need to be a math whiz to figure this one out:
If one liter equals 33.814 ounces, then 1.75 L is the same as 59.1745 ounces. Divide that by 1.5 and you’ve got a total of 40 shots. Good thing Joe has tons of friends, because 40 shots is a lot.
How Big is Your Shot Glass?
The size of your shot glasses is key to figuring out how many shots or drinks you can get out of a handle. Shot glasses come in different sizes, but 1.5 ounces is what you’ll get when you order a shot at a bar.
If you’re not sure about the size of your own shot glasses, it’s a good idea to check before you buy your handles. Some shot glasses are as small as 1.25 oz and others are as big as 2 oz. Once you’ve confirmed the size of your shot glasses, you can adjust the calculations as needed.
How Many Handles Do You Need?
The answer to this question depends on how much your friends drink and how many of them are invited to the party. If you’re having 40 pals over, each could get one shot from a handle. But if your friends have an average of 3 drinks, you’ll need to get at least 3 handles. Maybe one more, to make sure there’s enough to go around. After all, it would be disappointing to cut the party short because you ran out of booze.
Tips for Mixed Drinks
Of course, not everyone at the party will want to do shots. Some may prefer refreshing cocktails or classic drinks. But this doesn’t mean you need to buy a ton of alcohol, either. If you’re unsure how many handles you’ll need, it’s time to do some math again.
You already know a handle has just under 60 ounces of liquor. Knowing this information also lets you figure out how many cocktails you can make. Since most recipes call for 2 ounces of alcohol, you should be able to make approximately 30 drinks from one handle.
Now that all your math knowledge is coming back to you, it’s easy to apply the same logic to your mixers. No need to buy a ton if you won’t use them all. Just check the total number ounces in your bottle of mixer and then see how many ounces your recipe calls for. This will let you know how many drinks you can get from a bottle of mixer.
If all this math is making you thirsty, it’s time to get your handles and reward yourself for the hard calculation work. But remember, you’ll have to subtract the ounces you drink to the total number of shots you’ll have for the party. And if your head’s already spinning, it’s probably not the math.
How many standard drinks in a handle?
There are 40 1.5-ounce shots in a 1.75 L handle of liquor. Most cocktail recipes need 2 ounces of alcohol, for a total of 30 drinks per handle.
How many bottles are in a handle?
One handle of alcohol has 1.75 L of liquor, or 1750 ml. The most common size for a liquor bottle is 750 ml. This means that one handle is equal to 2.3 standard bottles.
What are the sizes of alcohol bottles?
Alcohol bottles come in a variety of sizes. The standard is 750 ml, which is also known as “a fifth” because it is 1/5 of a gallon. Other common alcohol bottle sizes are 50 ml, 100 ml, 200 ml, 375 ml, 1L and 1.75L.
What is the difference between a fifth and a handle?
A handle is 1.75 L or 1750 ml. A fifth is 750 ml or one fifth of a gallon.
Where can I get a handle of alcohol?
Handles are pretty common. Most of the time, they’re available for purchase at your local supermarket, liquor store or warehouse store. Online retailers also sell handles of your favorite spirits and deliver them right to your home.
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