Calculating Alcohol Recipes

Calculating alcohol recipes is very easy if one uses the metric system.

A top quality alcoholic beverage must meet the following requirements:

  • It has to taste good.
  • It must have a nice and clear color.
  • It should be labeled and packaged in an attractive container.
  • The quality should remain constant regardless of when it was made.

First of all try to forget this nonsense of using cups, spoons, whole eggs and fruits. Spoons are different in every part of the world, cups, pints and quarts are hard to calculate, different size eggs have different weights, a small orange weighs less than a big one. You may be lucky one day, but your luck will run out the second time and the quality of your spirit will suffer. You should not rely on luck when mixing drinks. You should rely on precise measurements. One spoon of Kosher salt weighs differently than one spoon of common table salt so depending on spoons as a unit of measure makes no sense at all. But 6 grams of salt remains always 6 grams of salt no matter whether it is measured with teaspoons or tablespoons.

To sum it up:

  • Weigh your ingredients.
  • Measure your liquids in a measured cylinder.
  • Think metric.

The world is metric so become familiar with it. We could write all recipes in an archaic method using measurements like spoons, cups, ounces, quarts, etc. But this will be cheating you as you will never understand the subject and you will never be able to calculate your own recipes. As you keep on reading, you will see that calculating your own recipes is very simple. Your new world where you should move around now is called one liter. It consists of 1,000 small parts called milliliters. One milliliter of water weighs exactly 1 gram, so 1 liter must weigh 1,000 grams. You can already see how simple it becomes.

You decide how to distribute this volume of space, how many milliliters alcohol will occupy and how many milliliters are dedicated to sugar. If you introduce a fresh juice to the drink, it is up to you to decide how much space will be given to it. You have a total of 1,000 milliliters to spare and you decide how to use the space. Think of a building a house whose interior space cannot exceed 1,000 square feet. You have to decide how to fill it with rooms, bathrooms, size of the kitchen, closets and anything else. All those components cannot exceed 1,000 square feet. This is how you create your drinks, you have 1,000 milliliters of space and you decide what and how much goes inside. And when your total is a few milliliters short, you add plain water to make it exactly 1,000 milliliters (1 liter).

It is almost impossible not to create a good recipe using good fruit and alcohol. Many things can go wrong when one makes wine, for example frequent exposure to air can promote vinegar yeasts to develop and the product will be sour. Making infusions is very reliable as fermentation does not take place and alcohol inhibits bacteria growth. The product will simply not go bad, have you ever heard of a spoiled vodka or whisky? In short, we do not have safety concerns which we must face like the meat industry.

Basically a recipe is a combination of alcohol and fruit, herbs, sugar or other ingredients. In the case of plain vodkas it is just alcohol and water. The manipulation of sugar is simple, you add enough until you are satisfied. Or use percentages, having 150 g of sugar in 1 liter of vodka means we have 15% sugar. Adding 400 g means that we have 40% of sugar. One liter of sugar weighs 1056 grams. It is like a pizza pie, it has a fixed boundary but you can do whatever you like inside. The boundary in alcohol making is 1 liter. The factory will have a bigger pie, for example 100 liters, but as long as it is in magnitudes of 10 (1, 10, 100) it is easy to calculate.


Make note that changing any single ingredient affects the others. For example, if we decrease the amount of juice, we have to add something else, even water; otherwise the bottle will only be partially filled. If we increase the amount of juice, amount of sugar or add a new component, we have to readjust the other components otherwise we will decrease the alcoholic strength of the drink and the flavor of the spirit. Besides we will end up with more drink than can fit into a 1 liter bottle.

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