The Economics of Cocktail Making

Recently I was asked by my brother and his fiancée if I would make cocktails at their Indian Mendhi night wedding celebrations up in London in a few months’ time. Now I LOVE cocktails (especially in the summer) and this got me thinking: what’s the best drink to make, if you want to take advantage of economies of scale, especially when serving drinks for a large crowd at an event?

I decided the only way was to create a simple spreadsheet, but this quickly escalated into a dashboard-esque suite of tools for analysing a host of our favourite cocktails, including Piña Coladas, Jamaican Rum Punch, Mojitos and more!

Vaguely inspired by this: The Architecture of Happy Hour: plotted, not stirred, the Google Sheet is reminiscent of a schedule or cost-benefit analysis in architecture. The tool is complete with inputs allowing you to test specific numbers of servings, adjusting prices of ingredients. It even provides a graph of costs vs servings for the first 200 drinks, showing the point at which the cost per serving reaches almost its minimum for each drink.

Because I am such a generous guy, and because I want all the other cocktail-nerds out there to enjoy my tool this summer – I’ve shared the spreadsheet online for anybody to look at, build on, and tweak toward their needs. (With the small caveat that it is not to be used commercially, this is completely free… if you do enjoy using it, and would like to say thank you however, you’re more than welcome to buy me a coffee through PayPal.)

Without further a-do, please follow the link below to copy the full customisable Google sheet to your own account!

View/copy this sheet in a new window HERE.

How it works

Firstly, make sure that you create a copy for yourself (in your Google account), as above

Simply adjust/change/add to the ingredients in blue using the drop-down menu, as above (the choices available are all linked to the ingredients price list sheet – but more on that later). Adjust the serving sizes of each element in blue if needed (these are in millilitres – but there’s a handy unit conversion rate in the ‘conversions’ sheet if required).

Once you’re happy with the ratios, simply adjust the servings number required and the drink costs, buy numbers, and leftover amounts will all update automatically!

Updating ingredients and their prices

All prices for ingredients are based on a domestic-scale UK (Tesco) grocery shop. You may be able to find cheaper ingredients in your part of the world… In order to update the costs, go to the Ingredient Prices sheet (tab on the bottom) and then adjust the prices and amounts per bottle/pack/jar as necessary. Also add to this list to add more choices in the main dropdowns by adding in another row.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you sort the list after adding any new ingredients like so, otherwise the prices may go awry:


So that’s it, feel free to take a copy of this sheet, and add to it or customise it however you want! If you come up with any more great tasty cocktails, or uses for this sheet let me know in the comments section below.

Architecture Miscellaneous

Designing a shipping container house for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt (GISH)

We’ve been moving into our new house! The past two weeks have been physically exhausting, but great fun. We are finally unpacked, and enjoying having a garden for change – just in time to enjoy this wonderful weather in the UK. The building itself is a 1930s council house, and its true what they say; ‘they don’t make ’em like that any more.’ Once I’ve finished drawing up the house in Archicad I may have to do a blog post to share what I’ve been doing.

Somewhere within the past two weeks I managed to fit in a fun little project for Kirsty (my wife) who had been taking part in the week-long scavenger hunt GISH, where people taking part carry out fun/crazy/charitable tasks and it just so happened that one of the tasks was to:

Submit Bonafide architectural drawings (that can’t already be found on the Internet) for a homemade from two shipping containers. Must have a kitchen, bathroom, and windows.

Obviously, with my background and experience I leapt at the opportunity and agreed to mock up a really sketchy design for submission. It was great fun, and shipping container architecture was something that I’d wanted to look at for a while!

After a quick sketch around and a bit of modelling in Archicad I managed to come up with this:

The main idea was to stack and stagger the two container units so that it created a sheltered area, for planters and even a swing set. The floor plan is fairly bare, with a small kitchen/dining space on the ground floor but with consideration given to how the staircase winds up into the main bedroom space. The bed on the higher floor is extra large to take up the whole width of the container, with views directed out, through folding doors over the balcony area and beyond.

(Tea and Crumpets was the team name, as some members were from the UK, and others were from the US! Go team Tea and Crumpets!)

Architecture Miscellaneous

Beautiful Trees – Free Autocad Block

Since there was quite a lot of interest in my last free AutoCAD block offering on the site, I decided to release another! This time in the form of a hand-drawn, fully-shaded tree in plan symbol that can be used anywhere.

I got the idea for drawing a few of these after seeing hand-drawn landscaping plans and wishing I could do something similar using just AutoCAD. Turns out: you can! Using true line weights and carefully selecting true colours, this block can be stretched, scaled and rotated to suit without losing its look due to pentypes or weights.


Click here to download the block for free (Right click > Save as)

A dappled summer/autumn tree, good for general usage

Some additional info:

  • File version is AutoCAD DWG 2000.
  • 195kb (pretty small for a presentation block).
  • Fully purged.
  • All lines on layer 0 with colours overridden.

If you like using this file, you may consider buying the full set of 8 trees (including this one) for only £9.79 ($12.84) here