Back home

Go to Reviews

An explanation of our ratings system

Go to Recipes

Go to Adventures

Go to web links

Go to special events

Learn how to send Samples to Spirits Review

Go learn about the owner/moderator of this website

Contact the owner / moderator

Cocktail Math
or How much does a Good Drink Cost vs. a Bad One ?

This is to settle an long standing question and try to at least attempt to frame a methodology for deciding on cost benefit analysis on cocktail ingredients. In plain English - just how much more does it cost to mix a cocktail from top shelf ingredients than bottom shelf or well liquor.
As Gary Regan, famous author and bartender pointed out to me – I would have to analyze hundreds if not thousands of recipes to come up with an average serving for ingredients. So I rapidly abandoned that approach. Instead here are some calculations and formulas based on cost and how many shots per bottle. Depending on the measurements (ounces, parts, mls, etc.,) it is fairly easy to do the math. Below is a table showing yields:

Bottle Size
Shot Size
# of Shots
750 Milliliters
1/2 oz
50.72
750 Milliliters
1 oz
25.36
750 Milliliters
1 1/4 oz
20.29
750 Milliliters
1 1/2 oz
16.91
750 Milliliters
2 oz
12.68
750 Milliliters
2 1/2
10.14
1 Liter
1/2 oz
67.66
1 Liter
1 oz
33.83
1 Liter
1 1/4 oz
27.01
1 Liter
1 1/2 oz
22.55
1 Liter
2 oz
16.91
1 Liter
2 1/2 oz
13.53

If we round these off for the sake of simplicity,


Size

Shot Size

# or shots

@$10

@ $15

@ $20

@ $25

@ $35

750 ml

½ oz

48

21¢

31¢

42¢

52¢

73¢

750 ml

1 oz

24

42¢

63¢

84¢

$1.04

$1.46

750 ml

1 ¼ oz

20

50¢

75¢

$1

$1.25

$1.75

750 ml

1 ½ oz

16

63¢

94¢

$1.28

$1.56

$2.19

750 ml

2  oz

12

83¢

$1.25

$1.66

$2.08

$2.92

750 ml

2 ½ oz

10

$1

$1.50

$2

$2.50

$3.50

Size

Shot Size

# of Shots

@ $10

@$15

@$20

@$25

@$35

1 Liter

½ oz

64

17¢

23¢

34¢

39¢

55¢

1 Liter

1 oz

32

31¢

47¢

62¢

78¢

$1.09

1 Liter

1 ¼ oz

26

38¢

58¢

76¢

96¢

$1.35

1 Liter

1 ½ oz

22

45¢

68¢

90¢

$1.14

$1.59

1 Liter

2  oz

16

66¢

94¢

$1.32

$1.56

$2.19

1 Liter

2 ½ oz

13

77¢

$1.15

$1.54

$1.92

$2.69

So if you add up the ingredients based on this formula you get the total cost to compare a low end to high end cocktail. For more expensive ingredients, just add whatever increments you need (example: for a $45 bottle add the $10 and $35 together)

As Liqueurs are usually in addition to a base product they usually run ½ oz to 1 ½ oz at most so anywhere from 21¢ to 62¢ difference between a $15 bottle of cheap stuff and a premium, like Marie Brizard. So on average about 50¢

If you look at the cost and volume ratios if you are using top shelf liquor for the base you are looking at a cost percentage of 25% or less (for the base ingredient cost) to go with the best.

Personally for home consumption I think my drink and my friends' drinks are worth it.
For a bar it is certainly worth it in the price increase of $1-2 for using a premium spirit and the large jump in the quality of the drink . There is also the added benefit of having both the perception and reality of having much better cocktails than the competition for a small premium to the customer.


home