Mounting an evening event often means alcoholic beverages will be served. It’s not that you’re looking to get people drunk—it’s just that alcohol is a very effective social lubricant. After having a drink or two, guests relax and interact with each other. Having this kind of vibe makes your event more fun and memorable to your invitees.

Drinks may well be a secret weapon to a successful event in the Philippines, but here’s the catch: It can eat up a big chunk of your budget. “If your client is conscious about the spending, then that’s a major consideration you should take into account,” says Enya Reyes, managing partner and events director of M2.0 Communications.

Whatever your budget is, you can actually stretch it if you make smart choices. Start by following these seven tips.

Choosing Wine

Tip #1: Take guest preferences into account

You could serve just one kind of alcohol, like, say, beer, but if most people at your event don’t drink it, that’s wasted money right away. “Have beer and one kind of clear liquor and one colored,” advises Chef Ed Bugia, owner of Pino and Pipino restaurants and one of the partners for Backyard Kitchen + Brew chain. “If serving neat or on the rocks, the usual suspects are vodka and whiskey. If you’re serving mixed cocktails, try gin and tequila.” By having some variety, you can then spread your costs out.

Liquor Selection

Tip #2: Don’t bring your own if drinks are available at the venue

While you may be able to cut costs by bringing in your own alcohol, it might end up costing you more in the end. “It’s best not to bring your own drinks if the venue can supply it,” explains Reyes. ”Because of corkage, it’s costly and venues like hotels usually carry the brands that you want.”

Mixed Drinks

Tip #3: Use cheaper liquor for mixed drinks

Choose to serve cocktails so you don’t have to buy top-shelf alcohol—go for locally available varieties instead. If you have a good bartender mixing drinks, it wouldn’t matter to your guests what brand of liquor was used or if it’s expensive.

Liquor Cap

Tip#4: Put up a liquor list and set a cap amount. 

Open bar events usually mean your guests can order at any time. Reyes suggests putting up a drink list so that people would know what they can order, and advise the venue staff up to what amount you’re willing to pay. “Usually, you’ll have the head waiter advising you periodically how far or close you are to that cap amount,” she says.

Tip#5: For bigger events, it’s better to get a keg of beer

Opt for kegs of beer instead of cases when mounting a big event. “It’s cheaper and it tastes better, but only if you can anticipate the number of attendees and people who’ll drink beer,” advises Bugia. Once you tap into a keg, you’ll have to finish it, so just be sure there are enough beer drinkers in your crowd.

Cocktail

Tip #6: Choose easy-to-make and cost-effective cocktail recipes

Drinks that have tons of mixers and ingredients will be an additional cost for you. Instead, choose recipes that suit your local liquor. “Mojitos go a long way because white rum is cheap and so do margaritas because, hey, tequila!” Bugia says. For colored liquor, you can’t go wrong serving rum and coke.

Open Bar

Tip #7: Consider dropping open bar altogether

Unless you have a heavy drinking crowd, ditch the open bar and do it at a per order basis. “You can have them order from the regular selection while having premium bottles placed at selected tables, because buying bottles of liquor will also come out cheaper than buying per shot,” says Reyes.

Let the free-flowing drinks commence! Got any more tips on how to shave pennies off your precious events budget? Tell us about it below!