When Size Matters

Intro

Being an outsider in the cocktail revolution has its challenges.  I don’t have facial hair; I don’t wear vests and I’m a middle-aged principal consultant who deploys email systems in state and local governments across the western United States.  I’ve never even worked at a bar, but I do have some food service experience.  But these aren’t nearly as challenging as my need to reduce recipes for home use.  This became particularly apparent the first time I tried to reproduce Jamie Boudreau’s recipe for Amer Picon.  I love this recipe, by the way.

Solution

If you’ve ever read Jamie’s post, you’ll immediately notice that it is intended for people making a lot of Amer.  Seven and a half cups of orange ticture (that takes several weeks to make by itself) and 3 bottles of Amaro.  If you’re just a little home bartender like me, you have two problems.  The first is whether you’re even going to like the recipe.  The second is, assuming you do like it, you’ll ever be able to finish 6.72 bottles of the stuff.  I needed a way to reduce the recipe with precision.  I developed the Excel spreadsheet pictured below (pre-populated with Jamie’s recipe).

Picture of Reducer Spreadsheet

The functionality is pretty basic.  The large yellow area is for putting in quantities.  You may need to standardize a little.  For example, Jamie calls for 3 bottles of Amaro.  You need to put that in liters or mililiters.  At the top, specify the final size of your reduced recipe (375) and the units of the final bottle (ml).  You can also specify another unit  to display the recipe in (oz) in case you don’t have mililiter measuring tools.  Dashes will also have to be converted to teaspoons as well.

Once you’ve put in the recipe and conversion information, the spreadsheet displays four columns.  The first column normalizes the recipe.  It converts all the ingredients to the same unit of measurement for consistency in the other columns.  The reduced recipe shows the quantity of each ingredient that must be combined to produce exactly 375 ml.  The third column converts the reduced recipe from ml to oz, so you can use your standard US measuring tools.  The reducer works as a multiplier as well.  For example, you can convert a single drink into a recipe sized for a 375 ml bottle (for taking to the pool or something).

Finally, the fourth column is really separate from the other three.  It is used to multiply the recipe driven by the actual quantity of drinks, instead of the desired size of the container.  The original quantities and multiple by fields can be altered to produce fractions, if desired.

Take a look and let me know what you think.  I can’t tell for sure, but you might need Excel 2010 to use the “convert” function that does unit conversion.  If not, you’d have to put together your own spreadsheet that uses my macros for unit conversion (note: this isn’t exactly easy for most people).

Cocktail Reducer and Resizer

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