How to up your party game: cup size matters! And smaller is better! (finally!)

Posted on Sep 24, 2015


How to up your party game: cup size matters! And smaller is better! (finally!)

Dinner parties. Birthday parties. Housewarming parties. ‘Tis the season it’s almost fall parties. We love all parties. You do too, right? Regardless of the type, there’s a fair amount of work that goes into them: the planning, inviting, shopping, prepping, hosting, cleaning, and some amount of stressing over when and if and who will arrive. No one plans a party and thinks “I want this to go terribly.” But in the midst of all the “Can someone get the door?” and “Shoot, I just burnt the chicken” “and, “Hmm, I accidentally forgot to invite that person,” it can be hard to keep track of the details and pull off a gathering that feels welcoming, fun, and shall we say a bit elegant?

Here’s the small, easily overlooked, detail we’ve actually found to be crucial to a smooth and elegant party: CUP SIZE!

Unless, it’s Thanksgiving or you invite your friends over for elaborate dinner parties (in which case, we’ll be eagerly awaiting your invitation) it’s likely that most of your parties revolve around a beverage and a handful of finger foods. In order for beverages to be consumed, you must have cups! And your decision about which cups to use will make a world of difference. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Obviously, whenever you can, use your glassware.

That said, we do this thing called ‘urban living’; we could have a grand hutch for your china, but we’d have to choose that over a clothes closet. Thus, once we get over a certain number of guests–that number being about 8–plastic is just necessary (sorry Martha, I’m sure you always have a china cabinet filled to the brim with crystal).

Small Cups! Help your guests.

We’re assuming you’ve made some delicious cocktail in a large pitcher. We’ve given you a few ideas here, here, and here. (We’re assuming if you have time to mix single servings of cocktails on the spot that your not-so-large-glassware collection can still accommodate).

Here is what will inevitably happen. Your guests will see a pitcher full of a delicious-looking beverage. They will grab the first available cup they can find. They will then proceed to pour. until. the. cup. is. full. Guests don’t know that most cocktails are often only 3 oz of fluid liquid, and they definitely don’t know how many fluid ounces a cup holds (I now can almost instantly spot this, but even I get stumped a time or two). Regardless, the last thing you want a guest at your party to be doing is mental math calculations. Come to think of it, maybe the last thing you want at a party is a guest drinking 3 or 4 martinis when they think they’re only drinking one.

Get the right sized cups. They’ll automatically tell your guests what a serving size is.

The Right Sized Cups Help You!

While it’s helpful for guests to have a nudge in how much to consume (yes that is a behavior economics principle. And no, I’m not entirely certain I’ve captured it correctly), it’s also helpful for you. Serving cocktails at your party is a sure fire way to make your party unique. But you only get the desired effect if you plan accordingly. And here cup size must be a factor in your plans.

Let’s go back to standard party guest A from above. You’re expecting 20 people at your party. You’re making 50 servings of your favorite cocktail just to be safe. But then you have 9oz cups and quickly 7 of your guests consume all of your cocktail.

The right sized cup helps monitor intake and makes sure that your precious cocktail gets enjoyed by all. (We make no promises about it running out, as the best ones almost always do).

So what sized cup should you aim for? 

If you are serving cocktails straight up, you want 5oz cups. (Get em here) They will look small and they are. But for show and tell, make a drink, pour it in a martini glass, and then pour it in a 5 0z cup. It should fit roughly the same.

If you are serving cocktails on the rocks, you want to use 9 oz glasses. (Get em here). We like the shorter, wider ones better as they feel slightly closer to their closest glassware counterpart: the low ball. This is also our favorite plastic cup for serving wine.

If you are serving cocktails that get topped with soda, we recommend the narrow 9 oz as they more closely resemble a high ball.(Get em here)

If you are serving a draft beer then 16 oz solo cups might what the situation calls for. But just remember, 16 0z is the size of a Starbucks grande latte; so just make sure you really want people drinking a latte’s worth of whatever you’re serving. I will not link to red solo cups because you every. single. store. sells. them. But, these would be great alternatives.

They just look better. There is really no way you can argue with me here.

Solo cups definitely have a purpose. In case you need clarification on their purpose it is as follows: parties centered around being in college or acting like you’re in college, i.e parties with drinking games; or parties with an explicit Americana theme, i.e. parties with drinking games.  So let’s be kind to the solo cups and only use them for their intended purpose (insert ‘i.e. drinking games’ here). Resist, please for the love of God, resist their abundant distribution and cheap price. If that doesn’t convince you, think about what goes through your head when you see a new FB photo with people gripping a red (or blue) solo cup. Does it not enforce points 1 & 2? Bad decisions almost always seem to originate with the solo cup. Do yourself a favor, resist!

Serve your party drinks in clear plastic cups and you’ll add 7 notches of elegance just like that.

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