The Economics of Stay at Home Cocktails: Go out sometimes, but stay in and enjoy, too!

Some of these liqueurs are downright expensive. You may not even be able to find something generic. When you want Chartreuse, you have to shell out the $60!

After working on this blog for a week and seriously trying to make cocktails, I began to think about the economics of the drink.

Let’s take the Sidecar. Imagine going to a bar and ordering one. First of all, if it isn’t a bar with a true mixologist, they’ve never heard of a Sidecar, or if they have, they have no idea what’s it in. It requires cognac and Cointreau, two pretty expensive liquors, even if you are only use V.S. cognac (that’s Very Special, for those of you wondering about cognac. Maybe I will even have a post about cognac at some point.).

The two ingredients–cognac and Cointreau–in the sidecar make it one expensive drink!

Even if the bartender does know what’s in it, will they bother to coat the rim in sugar? It’s the key step in my opinion because it adds the necessary sugar to make the drink palatable. Otherwise, it’s really just cognac and Cointreau with a little bit of lemon juice.

As a side note, even if you do get someone who knows how to make a drink, there’s 50/50 chance that they will use bottled juices instead of fresh. To me, that’s a critical distinction. Bottled juice versus fresh can make a great cocktail into a mediocre one and vice versa. (For the other side, see my posts on the Gimlet.)






Then, even if they do know how to make the drink, know what’s in it, and they even sugar the rim and use fresh juices, this drink will cost you at least $12. After all, it’s a top shelf call drink with two liquors. Those are usually $5-$8 a piece, depending on where you live. That’s a lot of cash when you enjoy more than one cocktail, and especially if you are the gregarious type and want to buy drinks for your friends.

But the Stay-at-home Cocktails model if a frugal way to live with good cocktails. Here’s the breakdown: with a 750 ml bottle, you can get at least 16 1.5 oz. servings. If you figure a bottle of Remy Martin costs $32, and a bottle of Cointreau costs $35, then we can make 16 Sidecars with half a bottle of Cointreau left over. If a bottle of Remy Martin Grand Cru V.S. Cognac costs $32, then each 1.5 oz. shot costs effectively $2. Each portion of Cointreau costs approximately $1. So the liquor portion of the drink costs about $3 if you make it at home.

Did you read that correctly? The Stay-at-Home Cocktails model will cost you $3 for a Sidecar, whereas the go-out-and-splurge-at-fancy-bars model will cost you $12. Savings of 75%.

Now imagine making or buying 16 Sidecars. The bar cost: $192. The Stay at Home Cocktails cost: $48. Savings: $144. And you still have half a bottle of Cointreau leftover.

Sure, my calculations don’t include the lime juice or the oranges or the sugar, so I guess we can figure that our cost goes up to perhaps $60. But those costs are nearly negligible anyway.

The verdict: stick with us and make your cocktails at home.

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