Ice estimate needed - winter party edition
February 13, 2014 9:41 AM   Subscribe

I need help figuring out how many bags of ice to buy for an upcoming party. Information I’ve found online seems to apply only to outdoor summer parties, and isn’t applicable.

Details: 45 people in attendance, I suspect 20 -25 will have mixed drinks requiring ice (the rest I expect to drink beer and wine). The party is in the evening, 5 hours long. It’s will be freezing outside – and we’ll keep drinks and ice outside as fridge space will be at a premium (so, mix will be kept pretty cold). We do have one medium size ‘tub’ (would hold perhaps 18 beer) that may be used to hold some ice and beer, kept indoors. I can figure out ice for the tub, it’s drink ice I can’t get my head around. How many bags do we need? Thanks!
posted by walkinginsunshine to Food & Drink (5 answers total)
Ice is cheap. For 25 people drinking mixed drinks in the cold of the winter, I would say 2, maybe three bags of ice, but since it is about $2 a bag and if it is below freezing can be left outside, I would splurge and get 5 bags just in case.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:47 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

25 people averaging 5 drinks a piece would be 125 drinks. I'd get 4 or 5 bags to be safe, like JohnnyGunn said, the stuff is cheap. Of course by midnight everyone is doing shots, and you won't need ice for that, right?
posted by PaulBGoode at 9:58 AM on February 13, 2014

My ice maker is broken, so I've been buying bags of ice for the last few weeks.

We are lazy, so we use Red Solo Plastic cups in the house (bad for the environment... I know... though this may actually help you in this situation).

I have discovered that a 10 lb. bag of ice lasts us, on average, a bit over 7 days. Our average daily use as a family is usually around:

2 cups in the morning
3 cups in the evening (we top off additional soda using the same ice)
2-3 cups before bed

So... 7-8 cups per day, multiplied by 7 days would be a loose 50 chilled drinks (depending on how cold your guests want their drinks to be) per 10 lb. bag.

At about 50 drinks per bag, I would go with 2-3 bags at minimum (on preview what JohnnyGUnn mentioned) for a five hour get together, and possibly four if you're worried about running out.

Also, since it's freezing out and ice is relatively cheap, you could just buy a ton of bags and leave them in the snow in heavy duty garbage bags and bring them in as needed. Or coordinate with a person who normally shows up late or is scheduled to arrive later in the party to bring a bag just in case.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:59 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ice is SUPER cheap. So get about three or four 8 pound bags and keep them outside, with one in the fridge for folks who want ice in their drinks.

The good news is if you start to run out, you can ask a guest to go on an ice run, or snag someone who hasn't arrived yet and ask them to stop and pick up a bag.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:08 AM on February 13, 2014

I host parties of a similar size regularly and usually buy 2 bags, sometimes 3. It does depend how many mixed drinks each guest wants, but even if you run out it's not the end of the world - most people are happy enough with a cold-ish drink, and worst case you could have someone do an ice run for you. And ice is cheap enough that there's no need to stress over buying an extra bag or two either.

Tip: for the beer, pack a tub full of snow (if you have it) instead of using ice.
posted by randomnity at 1:26 PM on February 13, 2014

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