20 Jun 2018
How to host a boozy house party on a budget

A night on the town is always fun, but there’s nothing better than a house party, when you get to throw down in the comfort of your own (or someone else’s) home.

While attending a house party means you get to avoid the messy aftermath, hosting one means you get to choose the guests, the music and the general vibe – and your bed is within stumbling distance. But how do you ensure your party isn’t an embarrassing failure?

The answer is simple: alcohol. And lots of it. (Unless it’s Halloween, nobody really cares about decor). But how do you booze-infuse your fiesta without going bankrupt? Read on…


The absolute cheapest way to get booze to your bash is to ask guests to bring their own, and then you only have your personal poison to worry about. And unless the party in question is a one of those zero birthdays (or a 21st), this is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

Community spirit

If your party is of the birthday variety (zero or otherwise), ask your friends to bring booze instead of gifts. Then set up a communal bar, with ice and mixers, and invite everyone to go to town.

Warm welcome

While there’s no need to fully cater your party, don’t forgo welcome drinks. Because, well, they make your guests feel welcome, and they immediately set the mood for the event. Opt for something with pizzazz, like a berry fizz cocktail, or a sparkling limoncello, Prosecco and raspberry cocktail.

Land a punch

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, punch is your best friend when it comes to parties. Firstly, punch is unfailingly festive, especially when you dress it up with flowers or fruit (extra points if you cut it into stars). Secondly, it’s a cost-effective way to serve a crowd. And finally, and here’s the best part, punch slides, so your guest will get their buzz on in no time.


Sangria is another jolly option – you can even make it with inexpensive box wine and no one will be the wiser. Go the traditional route, or try something more interesting.

Beer goggles

You can get a 5l keg of premium beer (like Darling Brew or Bitburger) for around R300 from Takealot or Makro. Sure, you can make your money stretch further if you buy certain brands in cans, but as anyone who’s ever watched a fraternity film knows, kegs bring out the crazy (in a good way).

Supply and demand

Some liquor stores have a sale-or-return policy, meaning that you can return unused stock provided it’s in resellable condition, i.e. they won’t accept incomplete cases, or bottles where the labels have peeled off from being soaked in an ice bucket. Buying this way is a great way to avoid overspending. Also, ask about other perks, like free ice-bucket use with bulk purchases.

Break the ice

Okay, so ice isn’t the most expensive stuff, but making big ice blocks for your booze coolers by filling and freezing ice-cream containers is both economical and practical: it costs you nothing and it takes longer to melt.

This post first appeared on Food24 on 18 June 2018.

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