Should we provide the alcohol for your upcoming event or should you provide the alcohol?

This is a question we get a lot, so we decided we would answer it right here so that it’s easy to reference.

After facilitating bar serves for over 1,000 events, we have discovered that if you are hosting a wedding reception, a house party, a corporate happy hour or any other private event, it is more advantageous for you to provide your own alcohol, as opposed to having it provided by us or another third party vendor (like a caterer).

Here are five reasons reasons why:

  • No TABC permit needed - If you (the client) provide alcohol for free to your guests, you will not need a special event permit. If Drink Slingers or a caterer (the vendor) was to provide alcohol on your behalf, or if we were to set up a cash bar, we would have to obtain a special event permit from TABC to effectively the sell alcohol on premise at that particular venue. In order to obtain this permit, the vendor would have to apply for it no less than 10 business days prior to the event and there is a cost associated with this application. Please keep in mind a permit to sell is not the same as a permit to serve and in all cases a TABC certified server is required to serve the alcohol whether it is free or not.
  • Overall costs - By cutting out the vendor middleman, when purchasing alcohol directly from a retail store the overall prices will be lower than they would be if purchased through us or a caterer. We have reviewed hundreds of invoices from local stores like Spec’s and Twin Liquors, and we have found that the average alcohol cost for a four hour event tends to range between $7-$15 per guest for beer & wine only events, and $12-$20 per guest for beer, wine, and liquor events. Events with more complex cocktails or longer service times tend to be on the higher end of that cost range. Please note that this is an approximation only, not a guarantee.
  • Wide range of selections - Retail stores have a large range of alcohol selections and prices, and the sales accountants can help you find special deals on these selections (which often change week to week) as well as brainstorm other ways to make your alcohol purchase fit your budget. Some sales agents even offer tastings. Caterers typically have only a few selections to choose from in their packages, so if you have a favorite beer, wine or liquor brand that they don’t offer, your price will increase. This is because they must sell any unused alcohol at future events so they stock only those brands they know they can re-sell.
  • You keep the leftovers - At the end of your event you get to keep any leftovers for a future party, to give as gifts to friends, or to stock your home bar. You also have the choice to return any unused (and untampered with) bottles of liquor and wine and any unopened cases of beer, minus a 10% restocking fee. Be sure to confirm this option with the store you plan to purchase from before you place your order. However, if you order the alcohol through a vendor, by TABC law any leftovers become their property.
  • Delivery - With the exception of Sundays, most retail stores also offer delivery services so you don’t have to worry about transporting it to the venue. Keep in mind the stores can only deliver within the same county, so if you call a Spec’s in Travis county but are hosting an event in Hays or Williamson county, they would have to transfer you to a sales rep at a store in the venue’s corresponding county.

However, it may make sense for us to provide the alcohol if:

  • You or your organization have a higher budget and your event is longer than four hours
  • You or your organization are from out of town and managing leftover product would pose an issue
  • Your event is a festival (or akin to it) and you wish to do a cash bar

And on the Subject of Cash Bars:

You may request a cash bar because you don’t want to pay for your guest’s alcohol. However it is important to understand that you would still have to cover the upfront costs of a cash bar, such as staffing, permitting, bar set up, admin fees, etc. Or, there will be a cash bar minimum to meet, so that the vendor’s costs are covered and a reasonable profit is made on alcohol sales. In the case of us providing a cash bar for a small event, we would typically keep all sales profits from the drinks. For larger, festival style events, we would negotiate a net profit split.

Festivals with cash bars will have to meet other TABC and Health Department requirements. These may include, but are not limited to flooring, fencing, tents, security, and permission from the Austin Police and/or fire departments.

Please note if alcohol is being donated by a sponsor, in no instance can that alcohol be sold, it must be handed out for free. This is TABC law - neither you or your organization can benefit from the sale of donated alcohol. For more information on this, click here.

We hope this helps illuminate the differences between us providing the alcohol and you providing the alcohol at your next event!

Still have questions? Email us and we will get back to you shortly.

How to have the best party ever

A party: It isn't just about one thing, it's about the careful curation of many factors that make it either super successful or a total dud. We do a lot of parties, and so we have a pretty good idea of what edges it over to the successful side of the street.

Our top 4 ways to have the best party ever

Lights, lights lights, yeah! If your party is outdoors and at night, string some inexpensive holiday lights around to create a sexy ambience. If your party is indoors, low lighting is best (get those switches on dimmers). No one wants to have deep and meaningful conversations under the glow of compact flourescent.

Food for thought. Eating food at a party is like drinking from the communal well, it bonds us, delights us and nourishes our body and spirit. Choose the best quality you can get that will fit your budget, and don't go overboard. Drop and go services from caterers or even Costco catering can feed a lot of people on a small budget.

Music madness. Music is a way we connect to both ourselves and to other people. But not all of your guests will have the same taste in music as you do, so mix it up by incorporating several genres of music into your playlist or DJ set. Adding some oldies but goodies that most people know the lyrics to is also a great way to unify groups of people that might not have had the chance to connect yet.

Drinks by the Slingers! You've had the party where guests served themselves and you had to tackle a trashed kitchen at the end of the night instead of going straight to sleep like you wanted to. Drink Slingers sets up a fully functional bar and takes the mixing and serving of drinks off your hands so that you can enjoy your party. And then they break it down for you at the end of the night, so all you have to do is decide when to throw your next party. Because it's been a total success and you can't wait to do it again!

Get a quote for an Austin Event Bartender!

Another 5 Star Review on The Knot!

When our clients are happy, we are happy!


"These guys and gals are the best. They're professional, friendly, accommodating, and very timely in the planning process. They helped us with our wedding and it was a wonderful experience across the board. They'll come up with a custom menu, bring all the necessary supplies as needed, and help you host the perfect event. If I could write in 6 stars, I would. Don't get caught up in the cheaper options, you will not regret spending a little bit more for real professionals like those at Drink Slingers." - Tyler O.

Read all our 5 star Knot Reviews here

A chat with wedding coordinator Jessica Ryan

We love Jessica Ryan of 3 of Cups Events! And since we are embarking upon wedding season we thought it would be fun to sit down with Jessica and have a chat about what she does so well - wedding planning.

 image credit: ideology photography

image credit: ideology photography

How did you get started planning weddings/events?

I started my career over a decade ago in New York City while assisting filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff (Director of "I Believe in Unicorns"). I produced the release party for a music video she had directed. The video's cast performed live at the event - we had burlesque dancers, drag cheerleaders and fire breathers. I have a theater degree and so I applied my production and stage management skills towards coordinating the event. And while it was my first stab at promoting a public event, it got a lot of publicity. It all came full circle a decade later when Meyerhoff's film debuted at SXSW in Austin and I produced her unicorn-themed after party. Since that first event, I have produced everything from vaudeville cabarets to thematic costume parties, which have earned mentions in the New York Times. But now I almost exclusively plan weddings.

How much of the design aspect are you involved in?

It's really fun to work with clients who are looking to do something a bit more out of the ordinary. I had a couple who wanted to have a Surprise Wedding. They staged a fake elopement on social media and invited everyone to their "Reception Party". It was fun to stage the ceremony and surprise the guests in that way. To add to the fun, we also featured a face painter, put on an improv show and brought in live alpacas!

My approach to designing with a wedding client is practical. I create the overall layout design and outline the rental items. From there, my clients have the option to contract with Coley Jackson on the other side of the company - 3 Of Cups Design + Florals. She creates the aesthetic experience that our clients want, based on an inspiration board that they create with Coley.

When we produce events with themes we can really get creative in collaborating with our clients. In addition to being a Wedding + Event Planner with 3 Of Cups, I am also Director of Events at a The Sanctuary Event Space. Our most recent open house theme was NORDIC LIGHTS. We projected lighting throughout the canopy of the Santctuary's beautiful live oak trees to make it look like the Northern Lights and we partnered with Euphoria Fest on a styled shoot for this event. Euphoria will be using the photos to promote weddings at this year's festival where Coley will be representing 3 Of Cups by installing a ceremony site. 3 Of Cups plans to have more open house events this summer, so stayed tuned to 3 of Cups on Facebook!

What kind of personality does it take to be a successful planner?

It takes all kinds! You have to be very organized, be able to prioritize, and be adaptable to all types of personalities and situations. You have to be able to remain calm when things get stressful, to delegate tasks to staff and vendors, to think things through and to be prepared for anything. You have to be a leader and communicate effectively so that people will trust you. I can't say that I am the best at any of these things; I do make mistakes but I learn from them and always strive to be my best.

What is the most important piece of advice you give to couples in planning their big day?

I always encourage my clients to take at least 10 minutes of Alone Time after their ceremony. Families and friends want to show their love and wish them well throughout the entire reception which means that they really don't get a chance to be alone. It's so important that couples (whether they be Bride and Groom, Bride and Bride, Groom and Groom, etc.) remember why they planned the wedding in the first place - because they wanted to get married. The wedding is just the first day of their lifetime together. Taking just a few moments to embrace and breathe (or makeout!) is more important than any wedding-budget line item. For more of my advice, your readers can hire me as their Wedding Coordinator ;)

If you would like to consider Jessica as your wedding coordinator, you can contact her here.

 image credit: ideology photography

image credit: ideology photography

An entertainment idea for your Austin wedding

According to The Knot, one of the wedding trends for 2017 is "Exceptional Entertainment" and they list a handful of "outside the box" ideas, one of which we really loved: hire aerial performers to entertain your guests! And we immediately thought of Rapt Aerial Dance, an Austin-based aerial company whose talents are unparalleled and whose performances will leave your guests positively spellbound. We have worked with Rapt and cannot speak highly enough about their professionalism and grace.

Contact Rapt directly for rates and availability.

 Rapt Aerial Performer Maya Kaough

Rapt Aerial Performer Maya Kaough

Austin event bartenders Drink Slingers partner with elite caterers The Vanilla Orchid

We consider Drink Slingers to be a premium service - providing top-notch event bar services in Austin and beyond. But up until very recently, we were unable to provide alcohol for your corporate event, private party, wedding or festival.

And so we are pleased to announce that we have partnered with The Vanilla Orchid to offer a variety of premium bar packages for your next event. The Vanilla Orchid is an elite catering company who, like us, view each event as a personal collaboration between all parties involved, turning the traditional client/service provider relationship on its heels.

Choosing our services has always meant that you will have a personalized detail at every turn. And now it also means that you have the opportunity to choose bar packages that will be delivered straight to your Austin event, and you won't have to do a thing ... except enjoy the party.

For more information about this and other packages, contact us.

Drink Slingers Event Bartenders Featured in Yahoo Weddings

Sabrina Rojas Weiss of Yahoo Style called our office yesterday and interviewed Drink Slingers co-owner Nannette Taft about our best practices in avoiding guest drunkenness at weddings.

Weddings can be awkward for some folks, and the easy solution is often to hit the bar ... again and again. This can be disastrous for not only the guests but the bride and groom, so it's in everyone's best interest if the bartenders can keep drunkenness to a minimum.

Today the article was published. Here is an excerpt:

1. Limit the bar options

The main thing you have control over from the start is what you offer and when. “The best way to avoid having people get too drunk is to not have a full bar,” Nannette Taft, co-owner of Drink Slingers bartending service in Austin, tells Yahoo Style. Taft has a “no shots” policy at her events. If you really want to be conservative (and thrifty), you could keep the offerings down to beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages. To that, you can usually add a couple of specialty cocktails to make things feel a little more, well, special.

If you’re offering a limited cocktail menu, remember that martinis are pure alcohol, and it’s probably unwise to offer nothing but straight liquor before anyone has eaten. A safer but equally delicious bet is something mixed with juice or soda and served on ice, Taft advises.

You can read the full article here.

Looking for Bar Services in Austin and Don't Have a Trustworthy Referral? Look No Further Than Yelp!

We do parties of all kinds - from small intimate gatherings to large scale corporate events and festivals. We do weddings of all shapes and sizes for people of ALL identities, we do birthday parties, bachelor & bachelorette parties, bar & bat mitzvahs, pool parties, housewarming parties and any other kind of celebratory occasion you can consider.

With all that said, don't take it from us that we provide excellent service at every turn. Instead, turn to our clients for help in making a decision about who would be the very best bar service provider for your event.

Here is one of our most recent reviews on Yelp:
*(Click here to see them all!)

"Sadie and her team of Drink Slingers provided exceptional service. Our wedding had a few logistical obstacles that Drink Slinger's quickly overcame prior to our event. During our wedding reception, Drink Slingers created and served delicious signature cocktails. The bartenders always had a smile on their faces, were very nice, and provided a very stylish bar set up!

The drinks and service provided by Drink Slingers was exceptional. We are very happy to have selected Drink Slingers for our special day and we highly recommended them for any special occasion where great libations are a must!

Thanks again!! G+M 6.10.16"

Some of Our Favorite Summer Cocktails

It's July, which means one thing - It's HOT out there!

But our Austin bartenders can keep you and your guests cool and comfy with these specialty cocktails from the Drink Slingers repertoire!

Blueberry Basil Gimlet
Vodka, blueberry basil syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, soda water and a basil or lime garnish
(see image below)

Watermelon Cocktail
Tito's Vodka, fresh watermelon juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, ginger beer and a lime garnish

French 75
Gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne

These aren't all of our offerings, of course. Just some of our favorites! Contact us for a quote for bar services, and to discuss drink options for your summer party!

 Happy customers enjoying our Blueberry Basil Gimlet at  The Inn at Wild Rose Hall  open house

Happy customers enjoying our Blueberry Basil Gimlet at The Inn at Wild Rose Hall open house

Austin Event Bartenders Love an Organized Bar

You know that messy, disorganized drawer everyone has in the kitchen – where you can always find a spare battery, loose change or a flashlight? Such chaos is fine for a drawer, but not an Austin bar!

When you hire an Austin bartender from Drink Slingers, LLC, you not only get a TABC certified bartender, but someone who loves to be organized! Using our portable bar (available FREE of charge), we make your liquor selection shine!

(Or “glow” after we put up our candles.)

We have all been to parties that offer a “serve yourself” set up. Eventually, someone will spill some gin, a wine cork will be broken in a bottle and somehow the top of the vodka bottle will end up MIA. Why worry about such things?

Not only will our Austin bartenders keep things neat and tidy, but we will keep an eye on your guests, to ensure everyone has fun and no one over does it!

So, if you are having a party, wedding or corporate event – consider hiring an Austin bartender from Drink Slingers, LLC. We can’t promise you a clean kitchen drawer, but we will promise a spectacular looking bar (and as evidenced here, a spectacular looking bartender!)


Drink Slingers LLC - A Professional Austin Event Bartending Service

Today we received this lovely sentiment in the body of an email:

"We look forward to working with you guys and admire your professionalism so far compared to other quotes we've gotten."

And we were, of course, grateful that our professionalism was recognized.

Drink Slingers LLC is a specialty service. It is a specialty service in the way that house cleaning, lawn care, tax preparation, organizing services, financial advisement services, website development, food catering, personal training, cake creating services, etc, all make your life easier. And just like having your house cleaned or your lawn mowed or your taxes prepared, you want it done right. Right?


And that is something that Drink Slingers LLC promises: To do it right.

Just take a look at our Five-Star Yelp Reviews if you don't believe us.

Some of our competitors don't pay their bartenders at all, but ask them to rely on tips only. We pay our Austin bartenders a living wage. Some of our competitors don't have insurance. We carry a large ($2 million) insurance policy (which is extremely important when serving alcohol). Some of our competitors send in people who don't really know much about the event they are working. We never send our Austin bartenders in "blind". Our team of extremely competent (and cool) lead bartenders are given the full-411 on the event they are leading and thus have total understanding of who they are serving and what to expect. They have this information because Drink Slingers LLC goes out of its way to make sure that the lines of communication between us and you, the event host (or bride or groom), have remained open from the get-go. By the time your wedding or party rolls around, we have all gotten to know each other pretty well!

And because we are a professional service, and we do all that we can to ensure that our clients have the most successful event possible, we love it when our hard work is recognized. So thank you. We will continue to do all within in our power to keep up the good work.

Stocking A Bar For Your Austin Wedding

You selected your Austin wedding or Texas Hill Country venue (beautiful!), you have the Austin event bartender (TABC-certified with liquor liability insurance!) and you have the caterer (yum!) – now all you need to do is stock the bar!

Here is an insider tip from this Austin event bartender – do not get too crazy with the menu. Let’s talk beer, for instance: Weddings are not the time to introduce your guests to some exotic craft or home brew you recently “discovered.”

Drink Slingers LLC has worked over 200 events in Austin in the past year or so – we know what we are doing. It may be your first (or second) wedding, but we have met more brides than the fitters at David’s Bridal Shop on both Research Blvd & Brodie Lane combined!

Our suggestions for stocking the bar at your Austin wedding or Texas Hill Country Wedding are:

• No kegs
• Offer only three brands of beer, including one lite beer.

I know having a keg is very Texan and shows your “fun, laid back” side. Forget it – you're not at a college tailgater! Kegs are very, very heavy to move, are super slow to serve, requires cups, the keg has to be returned and your guests are stuck with one type of beer that they may not like! For more reasons why you shoulnd't serve beer from a keg, read our other blog post on the subject.

(Hint – if, however, you have been dreaming of kegs at your wedding since you were
9 years old, then spring for a CO2 Tap rather than the hand pump).

We worked a wedding once that offered a keg of some really dark beer we had never heard of – and yes, they had to return the keg almost full after the reception!

At a recent wedding, the couple purchased 8 types of beer. Here is what happened – first, the bartenders had trouble trying to store the beer in an organized way (too many brands, not enough beer tubs). Your guests will see brands they have never heard of, want to try a “sip” and then cannot decide on which one they like.

Meanwhile, the other 74 guests are waiting in line! Including your co-worker who is hoping the song doesn’t end so he can invite that cute hipster from Brooklyn to dance ...

Remember, you are not stocking the bar for yourself. You are stocking the bar for the masses – the common man and woman who work hard and know what they want.

Which in Texas, is usually a Shiner Bock. See, now you only have to pick two more beers.


Lucky you!

The higher ups thought YOU would be a great choice to find a private event bartender in Austin to serve you and your guests at the: company holiday party, the family reunion, your daughter’s wedding reception, the new home party, a corporate event, your fantasy football party, a memorial service or your son’s (he-finally-got-a-job) party!

No matter the event – simply follow these 5 steps before you hire someone unknown to come into your office, home, wedding, apartment, clubhouse, etc.!

STEP 1: Know that Texas has a Host Liability law. For example, you have a party at your house. You give your ex-wife’s new boyfriend lots and lots of vodka, because “he is gonna need it.” On his way home, the 20-year-old boyfriend (“He looked older”) rides his jeep over your neighbor’s lawn furniture. Yikes – you (the Host) can be held liable for serving someone underage and serving someone who appeared to be intoxicated.

STEP 2: Hire only a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certified bartenders. Drink Slingers LLC supplies ONLY TABC-certified bartenders for your events. You can check a bartender’s certification at TABC’s website.

STEP 3: Make sure the person or company you hire is insured! Most venues require a minimum of $1 million dollars in liability insurance – simply because alcohol is being served. Remember that Host Liability law? If your bartender makes a mistake, which causes damage, and he/she is not insured, guess whom they are coming after? YOU – The Host. Drink Slingers LLC carries a $2 million dollar liability insurance.

STEP 4: Talk to your bartender before the event! Drink Slingers LLC always talks with clients before an event, occasionally at the venue. This allows us to introduce ourselves and discuss the party details with you in person.

STEP 5: Make sure the bartender you hire has their own bar tools! Nothing worse than having a bartender come in 10 minutes before a party and ask, “Can I borrow your cork screw?” Yikes! Drink Slingers LLC provides all bar tools, ice buckets, ice chests, buckets to chill beer, coolers to chill wine and soda, plus a FREE portable bar, which look gorgeous in any location (choice of black, red, white or ivory cloth).

And then enjoy your party!

Austin Event Bartender's Hidden Costs

Bartending in Austin isn't and it isn't cheap!

Hopefully, you are hiring a professional Austin Bartender who is Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certified, has experience and is watching out for your best interests. For example, everyone knows Bartenders should never serve an underage or intoxicated guest!

But do you always get what you pay for? Some Austin bartending companies will provide a bartender, but then charge you extra to use their bar, ice chests, bar tools and utensils, ice buckets, pitchers, cups, napkins on and on. We worked with one Austin Bartender who even charged for a tablecloth. It seems Austin bartenders are getting worse than airlines with their hidden charges!

Read More

Our Austin Event Bartenders Serve at Ray Benson's Birthday Party

Last month, our Drink Slingers Austin bartenders were contracted by the organization that provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians; [HAAM][0] - Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. HAAM hired us to sling some drinks for their fundraiser/Birthday celebration for Ray Benson, HAAM's co-founder and frontman of the grammy-award-winnng band [Asleep at the Wheel][1].


Read More

Finding the Best Event Bartender in Austin Texas

Many bartenders will offer their services for your private parties, weddings and corporate events.  However, how do you find the best bartenders in Austin Texas?

Here are the questions you should ask BEFORE hiring a bartender:

**Is the bartender Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certified?** Did you know you could verify a bartender’s credentials at the [TABC website][1]. You can also determine a complaint was ever filed against the person. Being certified means the bartender has completed official training and knows how to keep you and your guests safe. Most importantly, a TABC certified bartender might help you avoid liability under the Texas Host Liability Law.


Read More

Serving Alcohol at Austin and Texas Hill Country Weddings

A couple of weeks ago, Drink slingers LLC of Austin, Texas sent two of our highly trained and professional bartenders to serve guests at a wedding. We had been working with the bride and groom for months on the bar menu. They only wanted choice wines and three labels of local Austin beer.

Sounded great to us!

Read More