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Jan 5, 2010 10:04 AM

How do you organize your cocktail recipes?

I've been collecting recipes from various on-line and printed sources, trying ideas, making tasting notes, modifying proportions, etc. But I'm getting enough recipes that it's hard to find the ones that I want. What's the best way to organize your recipes?

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  1. I hear you man, as my recipe Word doc is now sitting at 53 pages.

    I write the recipes I want to try on color-coded index cards. Pink are lighter/girly drinks, green are my go-to drinks, blue are crowd favorites, white are shots, and yellow are recipes that will likely need some tweaking or testing before I unleash them on my friends. I then organize the recipes alphabetically.

    My system isn't the best, but that is what I do. Hopefully someone more helpful will wander in and help us both out. Cheers!


    1. If you have a Mac, MacGourmet has come recommended to me by several people. Costs $25 and is searchable in a variety of ways:

      2 Replies
      1. re: yarm

        I've hear good things about MacGourmet. I can't wait to switch to mac one day soon.

        1. re: JMF

          I use both MacGourmet and Evernote. Evernote is where the recipes that I want to try live. MacGourmet is where the the ones that I'd make again go. And, both have iPhone apps (Evernote has an Android app) so you can have your cocktail recipes on the go.

      2. Probably not the most logical way, but it just ended up this way: I jot them down on little post-its and stick them to the fridge. If I find myself going to them daily to refine a recipe, I stick it into my most often used recipe drink book that is organized by 'drink type / liquor base.' If I don't use them more than once or twice, I throw them away. So many recipes are duplicates under different names.

        1. I have all the recipes in a word doc set up in small book form where the pages are 5.5"x8.5" so I can print it out and bind as a book if I want.

          But i have each recipe as a separate business card and print them out and keep them in a business card holder. I make the font the largest size for each recipe that will fit on the card. Simple recipes are very easy to read, difficult ones a bit less so. I can take them out, move them around, etc. and they are protected from spills in their plastic sleeves.

          I have one holder for classic recipes, one for new, hot, cutting edge mixologist friends recipes, and another for my own creations. You can get business card holders in all sizes from large looseleaf binders that can hold thousands of cards, to compact 4"x7.5" ones that have three cards to a page and 120 cards in a nice leather holder. (paid only $6 each for those.)

          I really like this card format for when I guest or event bartend, and can pick exactly what recipes I want to take with me, since I just can't remember every special recipe that I may need.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            Trying to understand. It seems like you have the recipes formatted twice -- once in your small book format, and again as a business card. You you print the business cards are regular paper and cut them out with scissors (or a paper cutter)? Do you keep the business-card format in case you have to print it again, or do you just open your small book, reformat the recipe for the business card, print, and discard the changes?

            Do you file the cards alphabetically? How do you insert new recipes without having to shuffle a lot of cards?

            It seems like you must really know your collection pretty well by name. I liked the idea of the colored encoding so that you could tell. Still, storing them by name is great for when you know the name, but not so great for browsing for ideas. I have the same problem with my music collection....

            I'm wondering if it would be worth dedicating a cheapo mini laptop to the bar area for this. I take a lot of notes. Right now, I'm printing the recipe, then making notes and rating, then I have to type them back into the computer -- an extra step.

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