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Over $600 back from Bat Mitzvah spending

October 3rd, 2008 at 05:47 am

Last night, I returned most of the unused alcohol we had bought to stock the bar for the Bat Mitzvah. We had originally spent just over $1,100 using the recommended list the caterer had given me.

We were able to return any unopened bottles of liquor or wine or unopened cases of beer. We kept 8 bottles of wine for ourselves. We also had to keep, I think, 3 12-packs of beer because we had written on the boxes. And, of course, we couldn't return any opened bottles, so we have quite a few of them at home now.

End result was I returned $554.00 worth of stuff which I was very happy about. That means we spent about $566 for alcohol including all the stuff we get to keep. Knock off the 8 bottles of wine, which really shouldn't count as a Bat Mitzvah expense, and the total was under $500. Had we gotten the liquor from the caterer instead of supplying it ourselves, the charge would have been $15/person. We had 106 people so we would have paid $1,590, meaning we saved over $1,000 doing it ourselves. Plus that way we wouldn't have gotten to keep the leftovers.

I think what really kept the liquor bill low was that I make my own homemade Lemoncello. A lot of our synagogue friends are familiar with it and many others became familiar with it that night. I brought about 4 liters of it to the affair and we used about 2.5 liters. That only cost me about $35 to make but a lot of people drank that instead of the other stuff.

The other money back came from the balloons. We had changed the original balloon order but I realized after the fact that when I picked them up on Saturday, they charged me for the original order, which was more. I went back with the receipt last night and explained the error and they credited me $54 for the overcharge.

So I got back a total of $608 dollars last night which was a nice little bit of change.

13 Responses to “Over $600 back from Bat Mitzvah spending”

  1. gamecock43 Says:

    Steve- how many people came to your event? I am also buying/supplying my own alcohal for the wedding and was budgeting $800. for 45 people. Grooms mother insists on 30 bottles of wine. then theres beer...

  2. disneysteve Says:

    We had 106 adults.

    Unless you have a younger, really heavy drinking crowd, I can't imagine you'd spend $800 for 45 people. That's nearly $18/person. Are you doing a full bar or just beer and wine? Top shelf stuff or more mundane options (Grey Goose or Smirnoff, for example)? As I said, we ended up spending about $500 for just over 100 people. We did, though, have a fair number of older guests and everyone had to drive home at the end of the evening so they really couldn't have all that much.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    What is lemonocello??

  4. disneysteve Says:

    Lemoncello is an Italian liquor made from grain alcohol, lemon zest, sugar and water. Very simple to make, very smooth and tasty and packs quite a punch. The stuff you can buy ready-made in the liquor stores is lousy compared to the homemade stuff.

  5. gamecock43 Says:

    yeah- now I am excited thinking we can get away with cutting it down to $300.

  6. disneysteve Says:

    Don't go crazy on wine. I wouldn't spend more than $15/bottle tops.

  7. Aleta Says:

    Please give us your lemoncello recipe. It sounds great.

  8. disneysteve Says:

    Aleta - I was waiting for someone to ask.

    Disneysteve's Lemoncello

    Note: You could do the same thing with oranges, though I haven't tried that yet myself.

    Part One

    1 liter of grain alcohol (you can substitute vodka but if you do, use an ultrapremium brand, not the cheap stuff)
    Zest of 18 lemons (a couple more if they're really small)

    Combine the zest and alcohol in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. I put a rubberband around the rim to seal it.
    Put in cool dry place like the basement. Give it a swish around every couple of days. Leave the mixture there for 2-4 weeks. I haven't really seen a difference in the outcome beyond 2 weeks.

    Part Two (2 weeks later)

    1 liter of water
    4 cups of sugar

    In a saucepan, make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water and heat on medium high, stirring frequently, until the sugar is all dissolved and the mixture is clear. You do not need to boil it.
    Remove from heat and cool completely.

    Strain the zest out of the alcohol. I strain twice, first with a fine mesh strainer and then a second time through a paper coffee filter to get the fine sediment. If it isn't clear, run it through another coffee filter.

    Combine the alcohol with the cooled sugar syrup. Stir well. Bottle. Keep in freezer and serve ice cold.

  9. Analise Says:

    Thanks for the lemoncello recipe. I was going to ask, but saw that Aleta beat me to it. Where do you buy grain alcohol? Also, do you think it could be made with granulated Splenda instead of sugar (to reduce calories)?

    I tried lemoncello at someone's party recently and it was delicious. It would also make a nice hostess gift if presented in a small, attractive bottle. You could attach a card with the recipe, too.

  10. disneysteve Says:

    We can get grain alcohol at a liquor store, but I seem to think I've heard that isn't true in every state. If you can't get grain, you can use a good quality vodka.

    I've given bottles of Lemoncello as holiday gifts a few times. There is a make-your-own beer and wine store nearby that sells a variety of nice bottles.

    I'm not sure how Splenda reacts with alcohol. If you want to reduce calories, have a Diet Coke.

  11. fruitbowlk Says:

    how long it would take to zest 18 lemons?

  12. disneysteve Says:

    Zesting is the hardest part of the process. If you are going to do it, it is worth purchasing a Microplane. It is so much easier than a little strip zester. We actually started a batch today. My wife and I split the zesting duty. I'd say it took us 15-20 minutes to zest them all.

    By the way, don't waste all those lemons after you zest them. Squeeze all the juice and make lemonade. 18 lemons will give you 3-4 cups of juice. I made a container of lemonade with 1 cup and portioned off 2 more cups and froze them. I'll use those to make lemonade when the first batch is finished.

  13. whitestripe Says:

    wow, that sounds delicious, i will try it out one day soon! i'll probably be using the vodka (we've got a few bottles spare - I don't drink often and BF enjoys the rum more). thanks for the recipe!

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