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How to Create a Cocktail Spec

January 17, 2020 by Tom Bronock

Specs are all about clarity

This is not the moment to talk about the flavours of the drink, the inspiration for the drink, the heritage of the drink, or the designs on your night the drink has.

The specs are a recipe, broken down into component parts so in the flash of a moment the bartender knows what they must do. Those parts are as follows. The blue writing is an example.
Cocktail Specs


In the UK all specs should be in millilitre (ml), a standard shot is 25ml (or 35ml depending on the venue). In the USA all specs should be in ounces. If you are converting a recipe one US fluid ounce = 29.57ml (no one will mind if you call that 30ml…promise)

The name of a specific type of glassware is based on its shape, however its capacity varies depending on the manufacturer of the glass. Check that all your drinks are a good fit for your glassware.

If a drink is served over ice, the more ice used means less dilution in your drink, therefore lots of ice is GOOD for the drink. The volume of the drink should be approximately half to two thirds of the volume of the glass, the rest ice, so you need to ensure your chosen glass accommodates this.

Never put ice in a martini glass. I could write an essay on why this is such a bad idea, and yet sadly I still spot it from time to time, especially in the US and Germany.

A cocktail is not finished until it is garnished correctly. A Cosmo is not a Cosmo without a flame of Orange zest nor a Mojito fully a Mojito without a lush plume of mint. Don’t miss these details out in the specs.

Top Tips:

1 ~ Bar Managers make sure your Gross Profits, Margins and Stock Takes are all in line with your Specs. Specs and Stock counting not being in line with each other is often the cause of unnecessary stress when reconciling at the end of a week/month.

2 ~ A picture never hurts in a spec list.

Mojito Cocktail

Check out our bar knowledge section for more informative content on what you need for making great cocktails.


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