Engineer's Guide to Drinks

By Sean Carroll | January 22, 2010 8:51 am

It’s Friday and science keeps getting in the way of blogging, but here’s one of the more useful posts you’ll ever get from us: via FlowingData, the Engineer’s Guide to Drinks. Yes, there is a full-sized pdf at the original post.

Engineer's Guide to Drinks

That’s a slightly crazy Martini — 2:1 gin to vermouth. I think the pendulum has swung too far towards “dry,” but please.

  • Cath (P Eng)

    When I got my PEng in the fall, my co-workers printed this out, put my stamp on it, and hung it outside my cubicle. They stamped it “Approved for Construction” though we joked that it should be “Approved for Consumption”.

    We also agreed that we should field test it for mark-ups and as-builts.

  • MaxPolun

    I like 2:1 martinis.

    The original recipe would have been something like 2:1 (sweet) vermouth to gin. Now that’s nothing like a modern martini.

  • Egaeus

    That would be cool if I could read it, but even the pdf provided is mostly illegible. I think someone must have shrunk it down from its original size.

  • bigjohn756

    In this day and age, almost all bar drinks are called martinis. That is disgusting!

    A proper dry Martini is made by looking at the bottle of Martini&Rossi while pouring the Beefeaters. Stirring or shaking is not necessary. Nor is ice. The gin has been in the freezer hasn’t it?

  • Blake Stacey

    My favourite is taking a picture of the Martini & Rossi, run it through the “invert” and “posterize” filters in Photoshop, and looking at that while pouring the gin. Use an onion instead of an olive, put some techno on the stereo, and you’ve got yourself a “Hacking the Gibson”.

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  • Jimbo

    Buncha Eastern guys…Who cares about all these drinks designed for Sinatra, Martin, & Bond ?
    We Western Dudes know: good tequila, vs. whisky, gin, scotch, vodka, rum, etc., DOES NOT produce a hangover…Moreover, if ya want the best Marg on the planet, it will cost a ticket to Boulder, CO, and a visit to The Rio (incidentally, the best TexMex fare in town !).
    You see in CO, grain alcohol is LEGAL, and the secret recipe involves experimenting to find the right combo of it, tequila,& mix. The Rio found it years ago, and has a neon sign in the shape of a marg glass, above the mirror bar proclaiming: 3-MAX, & you’ll understand why after 2. Don’t try finding a seat there between 6-9pm, th, fr nites, unless you like to wait.

  • Sili

    Unfortunately my taste has me collecting mid-range cut glass. No martini glasses in that range. (Nor tumblers, but I have some highballs that can be cut down – if I only I knew someone with the skill.

  • Tod R. Lauer


    Mix??? Margaritas need fresh lime juice, and that’s it…

  • Lawny

    Damn right, Tod–no mix in a margarita and the martini only needs to be made somewhere near the vermouth bottle–2::1 is a travesty. Blake’s got it right.

  • Jimbo

    Lawny & Todd:
    Lime Juice only ? Thats an `adult limeade’, NOT a margarita.
    Next time you’re in a store, check out the ingredients in any of the mixes.
    I can assure you, lime juice is only one of several other essentials.

  • Doug

    Yes, fillers do exist. This doesn’t make them correct.

    As for martinis, I find myself snobby about their definition without having any taste for them whatsoever.

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  • Fill

    Give me a 2:1 or a 3:1 with orange bitters any day over this modern rubbish overflowing with alcohol and olives any day!

    All these people repeating these memes about how “a great martini is a glass of gin next to a bottle of vermouth” are either 1) Liars 2)weak-minded and simply swept up by the myth of ‘great’ drinkers(Churchill, et al.) 3) people who don’t drink martinis

  • Tod R. Lauer


    My basic recipe is 2oz tequila, 1oz triple sec, one generous lime – all very cold + ice… You really need nothing more…

  • Spiv

    Fill has got it right. As far as I can tell, most people just want to have a gin and call it a martini.

    Or worse, they want to have a couple shots of vodka and call it a martini. Don’t get me wrong, I love vodka, but when I drink it I just ask them to pour me a frozen glass of vodka. Either way if you actually mix a little vermouth with your vodka it’s called a kangaroo. Please order as such so I don’t have to raise an eyebrow at bartenders who are now required to ask what we actually mean when we order a “martini.”

    Summary: putting it in a cocktail glass with some fruit does not make it a martini.

    Martini: somewhere between 2:1 and 5:1 gin to vermouth (by preference. Classic is 2:1), drop an olive in or a lemon twist. Don’t abuse the booze by shaking it to death in a canister of rocks.

    Hendrick’s is my fav, Amsterdam my cheap substitute. So basically I prefer a hint of cucumber over raw juniper or something that tastes like a flower shop. Nothing against people who prefer the florals.


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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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