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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.