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Old 09-28-2012, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
414 posts, read 899,820 times
Reputation: 619

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Is there some nuance to "part" that I'm not understanding? Or are other people just failing to understand?

I work with a group that needs a signature drink for events it hosts, and so I created one that was agreed upon by the rest of the group. We always received high compliments on it for the first couple of years we used it, while I was making it and later when we started using a professional bartender as I became busy working other parts of the event.

I formatted the recipe in what I thought would be easy to understand and to scale, since sometimes an event will only require one gallon of the drink and other times I've served up to 40 gallons.

So the recipe looks something like this:

1 part Alcohol A
1 part Alcohol B
1 part Alcohol C
1 part Juice A
3 parts Juice B
3 parts soda A
NO ICE

Every time I've made it and every time a professional bartender has made it, it comes out tasting the same, no matter how far the recipe has been scaled. I figured it was foolproof. But we've since transitioned to other people making it. Every time someone else in the group makes it, it tastes off (and they usually put ice in too, which makes me think they may just not follow the recipe at all). Most often, the juice is overdone, drowning out any flavor from the other ingredients. And we've been getting complaints that the drink tastes watered down like there's no alcohol in it. Am I wrong in using "part" to describe how much of each ingredient goes into the drink? Is there some other way to write the recipe to ensure people get it right?
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,607,793 times
Reputation: 10575
I think you've described the recipe correctly, and yes, I would totally feel comfortable making up that cocktail in whatever quantities were required (once you made the ingredients specific.)

The fact that bartenders get it right is a clue. The proportions work.

The fact that others get it wrong is another clue. My guess is that they are making some judgment about the recipe, perhaps thinking it calls for too much booze, or that it is too expensive to make, so they are altering the proportions to fit their own bias (needs more juice!), or they are just confused.

On thing that might clear this up is to add specific quantities as an example, after the general recipe. Another missing is the serving size.

So let's just calculate out what this looks like if we make one part = 750 ml (25 oz) , a standard size for a bottle of liquor. That would yield 7500 ml of mixed drink, or 250 oz., and a 5 oz serving size would = 50 servings. A 6 oz. serving size would = 42 servings. A 4 oz serving would yield 62 servings. For planning purposes, you need to specify that serving size. I used 5 oz because the final blend looks to be about 12%, similar to a glass of wine. Use whatever you feel is appropriate, but be specific.

With one part = one measuring cup (8 oz), the total would be 80 oz, or 16 5oz servings.
With one part = 1750 ml (a 1.75 L "handle" bottle) the total batch would be 592 oz, or about 118 5 oz servings.

To make it bullet proof, I'd work up a table of representative "part" sizes and total yields, so that anyone can follow along.

Now, as to the NO ICE, I'll admit that I'm a little confused. I presume this beverage should be served cold, so what's up? Is it chilled after mixing and served straight up? Is it kept at room temperature and served over ice? You need to specify.

Good luck!
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
414 posts, read 899,820 times
Reputation: 619
Thanks for the reply!

You're correct about the serving size and the alcohol content. We serve in 8oz cups, filled just over half, which we measured to be 5oz.

The "no ice" is for the final poured drink and is there for a couple reasons. The ingredients are kept chilled before mixing and it is dispensed from a cooler, so it's served chilled, but slightly warmer than most mixed drinks (those with ice). We initially added ice, but had a couple of problems. First, that people felt it tasted watery--tasted fine to me, but then I'm careful to finish drinks on ice before too much melts. Second, some of our volunteers give really inconsistent pour amounts because they have difficulty judging how much they've poured depending on how much ice is in the cup. It seemed easier just to specify "no ice" and show them how full the cup should be.

That's a really good idea to write down a specific example and work up a table of part sizes and total yields. I've also considered hosting a "get to know the drink" party for people who are unfamiliar with mixing it a few days before the event so they can get a touch for the proper mix and taste exactly how it should be.

I probably sound really nitpicky about this drink, but our group operates on a tight budget so we have to keep costs predictable. Knowing exactly how much alcohol is in the mix and how much it costs is very important. And since the drink is our "signature drink" and part of our branding, we really want it to taste consistent from event to event.

Edit:
I suppose this could also be a reason why people felt the drink was weaker when it had ice: http://www.quora.com/Cocktails/How-d...ste-of-alcohol

Last edited by lovecda; 09-29-2012 at 11:34 AM.. Reason: added link
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,607,793 times
Reputation: 10575
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecda View Post
The ingredients are kept chilled before mixing and it is dispensed from a cooler, so it's served chilled, but slightly warmer than most mixed drinks (those with ice).
I think you might be able to improve the customer experience by chilling the drink more, if that is possible. Maybe one of those double-walled dispensers with an ice compartment separate from the the beverage, or ice filled containers inside the cooler. Or maybe Sangria pitchers, that have an ice filled insert. Then there would be less perceived "need" for ice in the glass.

Quote:
We initially added ice, but had a couple of problems. First, that people felt it tasted watery--tasted fine to me, but then I'm careful to finish drinks on ice before too much melts. Second, some of our volunteers give really inconsistent pour amounts because they have difficulty judging how much they've poured depending on how much ice is in the cup. It seemed easier just to specify "no ice" and show them how full the cup should be.
Understandable. Another option would be to have ice available separately, to one side, for those who wished to add it. There's a bit of psychology involved here... first, they'll typically take a sip first to taste it, and then, when people add their own ice, they tend to take responsiblity if the drink seems watery afterwards. And a few might actually prefer that.

Quote:
That's a really good idea to write down a specific example and work up a table of part sizes and total yields. I've also considered hosting a "get to know the drink" party for people who are unfamiliar with mixing it a few days before the event so they can get a touch for the proper mix and taste exactly how it should be.
Good ideas all. The key thing is to eliminate personal judgment from the mix. The recipe is the recipe... don't vary it!

Quote:
I probably sound really nitpicky about this drink, but our group operates on a tight budget so we have to keep costs predictable. Knowing exactly how much alcohol is in the mix and how much it costs is very important. And since the drink is our "signature drink" and part of our branding, we really want it to taste consistent from event to event.
I understand completely, which is why I ran the calcs to see if I could figure out what's been going on. And it occurs to me now it could be as simple as people trying to eyeball the proportions instead of actually measuring them. Do you provide appropriate measures to use? You could tie the recipes to specific measure sizes being used for X number of servings.

Quote:
I suppose this could also be a reason why people felt the drink was weaker when it had ice: Cocktails: How does temperature affect the taste of alcohol? - Quora
No, the drink does get weaker when you pour it on ice, diluted by the melting ice. That's no illusion. If you add the ice they'll blame you for making it watery, but if they add the ice after the drink is poured, I think they'll take responsibilty. In any case, you might give it a try.

Good luck.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
414 posts, read 899,820 times
Reputation: 619
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Do you provide appropriate measures to use? You could tie the recipes to specific measure sizes being used for X number of servings.
Since we mix it in "bulk" we make about 50 5oz servings at a time, which equates to a fifth of each alcohol. So I recommend for measuring that they pour the alcohols, then use a funnel to measure the other ingredients by using the empty bottles. 1 bottle of the first juice, 3 bottles of the second juice, etc. It's entirely possible they're taking a shortcut and eyeballing the amounts.

Thanks for all your insight! It's been really helpful talking this over and thinking through solutions.
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,607,793 times
Reputation: 10575
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecda View Post
Thanks for all your insight! It's been really helpful talking this over and thinking through solutions.
You're welcome. It's my pleasure. I really like being able to help when i can.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:21 PM
 
3,373 posts, read 3,781,976 times
Reputation: 4189
I think your mixologists need a little training.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:22 PM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,202,457 times
Reputation: 62049
Drinks are measured? who knew......
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,607,793 times
Reputation: 10575
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs.cool View Post
I think your mixologists need a little training.
In private chat about the issue she was trying to solve, the OP and I both reached that same conclusion.

Part of the challenge is that this recipe is being prepared by far flung volunteers, so I suggested giving them a couple of example batch sizes on the recipe sheet,explaining why it contains no ice, making sure they have a good way to measure other than full-bottle batches, and giving them training on how to mix this signature cocktail and what it should taste like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
Drinks are measured? who knew......
Yeah, in order to be consistent in taste and alcoholic content they have to be. Mixing up a batch of drinks for 140 people requires more precision than a free-poured single cocktail would.
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