A researcher, a data journalist, and a designer walk into a bar.
January 10, 2015 5:39 PM   Subscribe

The good people at Information Is Beautiful took the data from the "75+ classic cocktail recipes from the International Bartender’s Association’s list of drinks every bartender should know" and turned into into a beautiful reference chart. As an added bonus, they converted the ingredients to proportions for easy scaling. Cheers!
posted by Room 641-A (63 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
See, I keep saying "all day cocktails" is a real thing.


(This thing is totally cool)
posted by chasles at 5:48 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's gorgeous - I love the "Information Is Beautiful" crew. I will, however, take issue with their depiction of the Aviation in that it is lacking creme de violette, which gives it the amazing bouquet and lift. As James Spader's character noted in Blacklist, it "tastes of Spring" and the creme de violette is the source of that taste.

But this is a magnificent list and I encourage all of you to drink cocktails all day unless you are operating heavy machinery in which case you should hand the machine to your trusty robot sidekick and then drink cocktails all day.
posted by nfalkner at 5:53 PM on January 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


Lovely stuff.
posted by Artw at 5:58 PM on January 10, 2015


Bah, a dark and stormy is 50/50. Same with a pisco sour. Where's the Shirley Temple?
posted by sammyo at 5:58 PM on January 10, 2015


This site is my porn. I'm a total design groupie.
posted by the_royal_we at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "Information Is Beautiful" is - beautiful. It's the web at its best.
posted by vapidave at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sammyo, I blame the IBA for bad drinks across the country. I swear, the people who run it are a pro-beer group that wants people to hate cocktails.
posted by bswinburn at 6:38 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Quite marvellous. But no G&T?

I kid.
posted by arcticseal at 6:41 PM on January 10, 2015


Immediately emailed to my cocktail junkie friend--whom I expect to also complain about the Aviation.
posted by immlass at 6:59 PM on January 10, 2015


I'm usually pretty iffy on Information is Beautiful, which I feel usually leans towards "cool-looking" over "presenting information in any actually useful way," a bit much, but this sort of thing is why I keep coming back to them. Gorgeous, easy to understand, and useful. A perfect example of their mission.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:01 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I miss MiguelCardoso.
posted by gwint at 7:04 PM on January 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I totally agree that the recipe for the aviation is wrong, however what they present is the official IBA recipe for it, so ... the rabbit hole goes deeper!
posted by aubilenon at 7:08 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I want this in a print for my kitchen.
posted by headnsouth at 7:12 PM on January 10, 2015


It does run into the quandary with some of the glasses. Especially the one that I think is a margarita glass? But also the martini glass.

That quandary being, if you are displaying 3 parts gin to 3 parts apricot brandy to 3 parts calvados, do you present them all as equal heights because that's the easiest to compare, as equal areas for the 2D picture because that's what people are looking at, or as equal volumes because that's what the real world requires?

Now yes, people are going to reference the actual numbers when they use it, but it's still something to think about.
posted by RobotHero at 7:16 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's beautiful and useful, but only the first half of the chart prints for me. Is there a secret to printing this?
posted by monotreme at 7:49 PM on January 10, 2015


I don't know most of these cocktails, and indeed don't even know a lot of these liquors that go into them, but this is such a great visualization I think I can memorize them pretty easily.
posted by zardoz at 7:54 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lovely, cheers!
posted by pt68 at 7:56 PM on January 10, 2015


The Aviation, when made with creme de Violette, is the Blue Moon--I thought.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:59 PM on January 10, 2015


They claim to be converting to some kind of universal measurement but then continue to measure a lot of things in dashes/wedges/etc. I mean, yeah, it does make it more beautiful, but it sort of makes it less informative.
posted by NoraReed at 7:59 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


On the subject of actual recipes, I'm surprised to see the dirty martini uses vodka while the dry martini uses gin. This is the opposite of my own inclination that vodka is too easily overpowered by the olive brine where gin can hold its own. Is this a case I can just declare that obviously I'm right and the International Bartender's Association is wrong?
posted by RobotHero at 8:12 PM on January 10, 2015


The Aviation, when made with creme de Violette, is the Blue Moon--I thought.

I don't know that drink, but my cursory searching shows it with no maraschino liqueur. At least in the US, creme de violette was basically unavailable "for decades" until fairly recently. If that was true in other countries (or maybe the us alone would be enough to influence them) that might why the IBA omitted it from their aviation.
posted by aubilenon at 8:23 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, their screwdriver is 10:5. It should just be 2:1. That on them, not on the IBA.
posted by aubilenon at 8:26 PM on January 10, 2015


RobotHero: People who drink dirty martinis usually want vodka, in my bartending experience.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 8:41 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess it's just my personal preference, then, that I've been taking for granted as The Right Way To Do It.
posted by RobotHero at 8:54 PM on January 10, 2015


Totally seems like a ripoff of the "See Mix Drink" cocktail book. Sample image.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:04 PM on January 10, 2015


I don't see why it would be a ripoff. One could independently decide cocktail recipes needed to be illustrated as graphs in the corresponding glasses.

Though I do love that the "See Mix Drink" book skips part of the glass stem with // slashes. (Is there a name for the slashes?)

I'm not a fan of naming the ingredient list as a Key but not on the diagram itself. I am a fan that they sidestepped the quandary I listed above by providing a separate Proportions section where it's just a donut chart.
posted by RobotHero at 9:24 PM on January 10, 2015


RobotHero if you're drinking something with vodka it can't be a martini so there's that.
posted by Carillon at 12:12 AM on January 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


They claim to be converting to some kind of universal measurement but then continue to measure a lot of things in dashes/wedges/etc. I mean, yeah, it does make it more beautiful, but it sort of makes it less informative.

Yeah, the Old Fashioned is especially bad here. Most of the others are ratios, but the good Old Fashioned is "2 dashes Angostura" to "4.5 Bourbon". Uh....
posted by Gilead at 12:24 AM on January 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm going to need a bigger glass.
posted by biffa at 2:47 AM on January 11, 2015


You Should See the Other Guy: "Totally seems like a ripoff of the "See Mix Drink" cocktail book. Sample image."

They both look like Lokesh Dhakar's older (2007) diagrams of coffee drinks.

For actually comparing coacktails, I still like the 'Evolution of the cocktail' Phylogenetic tree.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 2:48 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Strawberry syrup in the Sazerac?!?! Total fail.
posted by slkinsey at 4:06 AM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just finished Jason Wilson's Boozehound (recommended) in which he breaks down the Aviation ingredients:
When I first began writing about cocktails in 2007, I published a recipe for the Aviation cocktail, a classic drink from the early twentieth century and one of my favorites. At the time, I called for gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and maraschino liqueur, all stirred over ice and served in a cocktail glass. I also wrote that no one really knew why this drink was called the Aviation. Well, it turns out I was all wrong. It's not totally my fault. I gleaned my misinformation, and adapted my recipe, from the august body of cocktail knowledge to which I had access in 2007. Specifically, I relied on the Savoy Cocktail Book - one of the bibles of its genre. My error perfectly illustrates a couple of points about the swift evolution of cocktail making that happened at the end of the 2000s As cocktail geeks delved further into dusty, out-of-print cocktail guides, we soon learned that the Aviation was missing a key ingredient: the purple, floral liqueur called Crème de Violette. Adding a tiny amount of it to the gin, lemon juice and maraschino results in a sky blue drink. So the name aviation suddenly becomes self-explanatory. Today, of course, you can find any number of speakeasies that will serve you a historically correct aviation. But that's a recent development - Crème de Violette didn't become available [again] until 2008.
.
This blogger presents a discussion of the difference between the Aviation and the Blue Moon. The difference is maraschino.
posted by Miko at 8:31 AM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


biffa: "I'm going to need a bigger glass."

I don't think that's what they mean by "all day cocktails."
posted by RobotHero at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It reminds me how many cocktails are overly saccharine buckets of liqueur. Never really could get the appeal of them unless they at least contained a good amount of something acidic to balance it out and even then half the time it feels like you're drinking syrup.
posted by Ferreous at 10:16 AM on January 11, 2015


I'm just going to come right out and say it: this is a trash infographic.
  • The glassware is weird: when did anybody ever use that margarita glass shape for anything but a margarita? Is that supposed to represent a coupe?
  • The visual presentation is misleading: the quantities wouldn't look like that in the glass (as RobotHero says, you could pick area or volume, but height is just misleading), and you wouldn't be building shaken or stirred cocktails in a coupe or cocktail glass anyway.
  • The universal measure introduces at least as many problems as it solves (c.f. the Old Fashioned, as Gilead points out). Also unless you have some knowledge already about how big a cocktail should be and subsequently do a lot of math to convert the universal measure to something useful, you're likely to end up with some stupidly large or vanishingly small cocktails.
  • Some of the recipes are just wrong, no matter what the IBA says (e.g. the Aviation and Sazerac mentioned above, among others).
  • The idea is unoriginal. We got a black and white version of something like it as a housewarming gift a while back, and searching for something like "cocktail blueprint" or "engineer's guide to cocktails" will show you plenty of prior art (literally).
  • As with all "you must know these" lists, the curation is kind of … crap (this one from Serious Eats also angries up my blood). What's with all the apricot brandy (Angel Face, Paradise, etc)? Who's Tommy and why do we care about his Margarita in particular? Can't we all just agree to forget about the Harvey Wallbanger (along with all the other Galliano drinks)? And so on.
When we got married we put together a cocktail recipe booklet as part of our favor for guests. Curating that thing was hard. For us it boiled down to two big criteria for inclusion: do we actually make it, and if it includes an unusual ingredient do we also have a recipe for a second cocktail that includes that same unusual ingredient? So we ended up making the case for Bénédictine and both green and yellow Chartreuse (and included at least two recipes calling for each of them) but we knocked out a few other recipes because they contained oddball ingredients we couldn't justify purchasing based on a single cocktail. And we also had to dig around for seconds in order to justify, say, the Aperol in one cocktail we particularly like (but which otherwise would have been orphaned).

So while I'm sympathetic to the plight, I feel like if you're going to do this sort of thing and present it as even slightly authoritative, you need to get some people involved who actually know what they're doing and don't just blindly recreate recipes cargo-cult-style.

TL,DR: harrumph.
posted by fedward at 10:27 AM on January 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


I don't think that's what they mean by "all day cocktails."

Gigantic slush-cocktail in a plastic container from a Vegas street vendor?
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2015


That's some great points fedward. Its like how I see people put the Brooklyn on a mnu but have never heard of amer picon.
posted by Carillon at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2015


As an added bonus, they converted the ingredients to proportions for easy scaling

Okay actually they just didn't do that at all. The numbers are exactly the same as the IBA recipes, which are in centiliters. So they just left the units unlabeled but otherwise left it alone. Which also is a failure of data representation.

(For easy scaling, make the French Connection with a simple 3.5:3.5 ratio)
posted by aubilenon at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


TL,DR: harrumph.

Precisely. It's a typical design school exercise in that it was done by people who have no idea how to make cocktails, and have barely ever drunk one. (One of my first year projects was creating a visual explanation of how to hit a baseball. Needless to say I had never hit a baseball before.)

It's a useful exercise for what it is-- beginners learning how form color and type come together--and has the potential added benefit of indirectly teaching you that you need to really understand a subject before you can explain it to someone... but it looks like in this case that lesson was not learned.
posted by danny the boy at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Legally, Dark n Stormy is not made with dark rum and ginger beer, but with Goslings Black Seal Rum and Goslings ginger beer.

Professionally, I'm kinda stunned that they left out the units of measurement. Because where I pour, our recipe book presumes ounces unless noted, so I looked at these drinks and had a bit of WTF?

Learning the IBA recipes (or in my case USBG) is mainly if you wanna compete or take the exams. Everybody tweaks proportions when writing up the house recipe book, even on the classics. Hell, we don't muddle fruit at the bottom of our Old Fashioneds.

BTW, in almost 10 years in the industry, I have never heard someone order a vampiro. Also, if you like cocktails with a little bite, but Campari has always been too intimidating, try a Boulevardier: Basic Negroni recipe, but swap bourbon for gin. The bourbon brings a little sweetness to the drink that takes just enough of the edge off that you're not making "Campari-face".
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:55 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, if one is looking for mar artistic interpretations on a similar theme, check out Alyson Thomas.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:02 PM on January 11, 2015




Bought some Kraken rum mostly for the label picture and got into making Dark Amd Stormys that way - no idea how different it is with the "legit" ingredients. Looks like the lime is more of a garnish than an actual ingredient in the proper version.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on January 11, 2015


I like the PopCharts version better.
posted by yoga at 1:58 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


For old school visualization, I'm a fan of the Engineer's Guide To Drinks.
posted by zamboni at 5:49 PM on January 11, 2015


What is the point of saying that an Angel Face is 3 Calvados, 3 Apricot Brandy, 3 Gin? Why not 1:1:1?
posted by kenko at 10:24 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


But this one goes to three.

Mentioned above, it was originally centiliters.
posted by RobotHero at 11:21 PM on January 11, 2015


This is a piece of shit and not even an original one. You could fit all the ratios in one set of stacked bars with a glyph for the glass type above it, rather than be distracted by the changing areas for similar volume designations. IIB always favors the needlessly complicated but cool looking over utility and simplicity.
posted by benzenedream at 11:41 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Artw: I love a good Dark n Stormy, and most places I know make them with Kraken now. I think it's really just as good as with Goslings.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:20 AM on January 12, 2015


I've come to the conclusion that these are basically pie charts, which are by definition almost always worthless, but they may actually be a rare instance of a good usage of pie charts as glancing at it let's you quickly pick up on proportions on a wide range of beverages at a glance.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on January 12, 2015


[DERAIL]
In regards specifically to the Dark 'n' Stormy, from the NYT article linked above by the aptly named Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey:
“We defend that trademark vigorously, which is a very time-consuming and expensive thing,” said E. Malcolm Gosling Jr., whose family has owned Gosling’s since its founding in Bermuda in 1806. “That’s a valuable asset that we need to protect.”
There are a few drinks that have some sort of legal protection. "Pusser's Painkiller" is a notorious example (made worse because they didn't originate the drink, where the Dark 'n' Stormy was at least created by/for Gosling's).

Some bars route around this issue by putting drinks like the "Dark & Sue Me" on their menus when they want to make the drink with an alternate base spirit (e.g. Kraken). Those that don't, and who market the drink to the extent that the Gosling family (or its legal representatives) find out about it, will find themselves on the wrong end of a C&D, if not a lawsuit.
[/DERAIL]
posted by fedward at 10:46 AM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


In 1936 the New York State Supreme Court ruled that a Bacardi Cocktail MUST be made with Bacardi light rum. Bartenders at the time were calling a daiquiri w/ grenadine and any old light rum a Bacardi Cocktail, and the issue ended up in court.

But honestly, those two drinks are the only ones I know of w/ court cases attached.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:05 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Has anyone here made their own cocktail? What does your process typically look like? Just a lot of trial and error?
posted by gucci mane at 1:10 PM on January 13, 2015


The Way Station (an awesome Doctor Who-themed Brooklyn bar) makes theirs with Kraken, and I am proud to have named it the Stormageddon for them, so that they may avoid any Gosling's C&Ds.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:13 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Then that shall be my drink when I inevitably visit there!
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Re: developing cocktails

Most recently I started with a classic as my template; the Monkey Gland, named after French doctor who tried to restore virility in his male patients by sewing a bit of monkey testicle inside their junk as a photo-Viagra.

Then I began swapping out the gin for other spirits, tried it with/without the absinthe, add a Little lemon for sharpness, ooh, try those sarsaparilla bitters on the kitchen counter, hey cats, try this, whadaya think, iterate…

Out the other end of this process came The Ship's Monkey.

Developing a cocktail is a little like Jazz (that other gift from the City of New Orleans to American culture); it helps to set out with a plan, and you have to have a basic mastery of the instruments. But the magic often happens when you start off in one direction, noodle about semi-productively back and forth for a while, and out of nowhere something unexpected and beautiful jumps into the mix.

Then you hope some fucking body in the room was taking some kind of notes before you forget just how you did it.

Otherwise there's a whole lot of "FUCK, how much Aperol did I use, 'cos this ain't the drink I made last night" when you try to recreate the moment for someone else.

That's the thing about cocktail Bartending: I follow Jeffrey Morgenthaler's dictum that Bartending is not an art, but a craft; it's not about creating unique, inspired beauty every time, but by recreating excellence over and over through technique, knowledge, and practice.

Gotta be a mad scientist behind the scenes and an cabinet-maker out front, with a dollop of showman/woman on top.

Unless you're out drinking with other bartenders and making shit up on the fly; then all bets are off.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Morgenthaler is a big deal here. Have you ever had a chance to go to his new bar, Pepe le Moko? It opened last year and it's great. Link to a bit of the menu. I haven't been to Clyde Common yet but I need to go.

Anyway, I asked because I love seeing drinks bartenders have made themselves. I'm not a bartender myself and don't remember recipes off the top of my head, but I enjoy experimenting. I wouldn't mind trying to make a career out of it after some time.
posted by gucci mane at 10:36 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Legally, Dark n Stormy is not made with dark rum and ginger beer, but with Goslings Black Seal Rum and Goslings ginger beer.

Only because Gosling are a bunch of jerks and dumped Barritt's (the one true ginger beer), apparently.
posted by naoko at 8:13 AM on January 14, 2015


To the imbibers of Dark & Stormys or the local variant: how does your watering hole serve it?

We do it in a Collins glass, ice, with the dark rum floated on top of the ginger beer, which seems to be that traditional way. But some places jus make a rum & gb in a rocks glass.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:05 AM on January 14, 2015


We're big on the bourbon sidecar at the moment - mainly because brandy is not a thing we usually have to hand. It may be a semi-official variant but it's still damn tasty.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


To the imbibers of Dark & Stormys or the local variant: how does your watering hole serve it?

Way Station floats the rum on the ice and ginger beer, served in a Collins glass or a pint, depending on the bartender. (Or maybe they just switched at some point. Most often in a pint glass, I feel.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:14 PM on January 14, 2015


Strawberry syrup in the Sazerac?!?! Total fail.

Also, why are they calling for cognac and not, you know, Sazerac rye?
posted by backseatpilot at 10:10 AM on January 15, 2015


Also, why are they calling for cognac and not, you know, Sazerac rye?

I don't know that drink very well, but I had an itchy feeling in my brain that Sazerac rye doesn't have anything to do with the Sazerac cocktail. So I looked it up, and it turns out that's wrong. But only a little wrong.

Apparently the cocktail was originally made with a cognac called Sazerac de Forge et Fils. The cocktail was named after that cognac. The bar where it was invented was renamed "The Sazerac Coffee House", after the cocktail. They grew and morphed into the modern Sazerac company. Somewhere along the line, the Sazerac company started making rye and they called it Sazerac rye.

Summary: It is totally legit to make a sazerac cocktail with cognac. When folks do use whiskey instead, there's little reason to specifically choose Sazerac rye.
posted by aubilenon at 11:51 AM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


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