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Drink Ratings

Since a long time, I always feel a bit uncomfortable [up to annoyed] if it comes to drink reviews. Lets face it everyones palate is different and the least people have such a refined taste - as well as have the knowledge about context, that they can do a independent [that means uninfluenced by marketing and image] and unbiased evaluation.

And lets also face it - if you have several drinks to rate from 1 to 10 of taste, appearance, aroma, your ratings will change from the beginning to the end of your assessment.

More specific, complex and "devious" rating sheet could help [ideally electronically].
But what would be the distinctive variables?

As "you cannot argue about taste", lets get first of all postulate following points:

  • Classic drinks stood the test of time - hence can be seen as paragon
  1. Temperature [T] is a measurable value - and is deciding if a drink is good or not.
  2. A very basic balance [Bb] is also key for an adequate drink - I don't mean here some murky "the aromas of the drink are well balanced"_b*s* - however a drink can be far too sweet, far too sour, too bitter, even too salty! And this is definitely one deciding basic factor.
  3. As important as the basic balance, it is also imperative, that a drink has an adequate strength [Sb] - again, we are not assessing at this point if it is a tad too weak or strong, we are deciding, if the drink is too watered down or is far too strong [due to a mistake in the preparation methods].
If condition 1 to 3 are to 100% fulfilled, you will have a drinkable drink. Not necessary a great one, not necessary classic - however good enough. Off course you will have also a rating from 1 to 10 each point. If the drink is properly prepared [following those 3 points above], you should end up with a maximum score of maybe 70/100.

Now the first classic cocktails come into play. We assume we are blind tasting an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, a Martini cocktail, a Margarita [you get the drift]. Not all are [even if perfectly prepared] a 100/100 - but they are close enough:
  • 95-100/100 for a perfectly prepared Old Fashioned. It is classic. It is refined. I can't think off a drink, which could be rated higher...
  • 85-90/100 for a perfectly prepared Manhattan. It might be not everyones taste. But with quality ingredients it ranges from superlative to classic!
  • ca.80/100 for a perfectly prepared Martini cocktail extra dry. It is not the most complex cocktail. It is not the "tastiest" cocktail. But it gains points for integrity, clarity and purity!
  • 85-90/100 for a perfectly prepared Margarita. This amazing fresh, though quite complex cocktail might be in these times the most ordered drink in North America - because of a reason. But lets face it, the sister cocktails Sidecar or White Lady would gain the same point range...
What makes those drinks so great? 
  • Simplicity. All these drinks don't have a lot of additional aromas/ingredients; just the base spirit and some products, which modifies and accentuate the character.
  • Spirit driven. Classic drinks don't disown the spirit they are made with. 
  • Flavor balance & smart combination of aromas. Every product has complimenting and controversial tastes. Complimenting aromas hardly can be overdosed [this is your vanilla, toffee, cocoa and chocolate,   but also citrus and other fruit aromas]. Controversial aromas make the drink interesting, a little bit too much, however and it will taste awkward.
    • All of these points supposed to fill the gap from the "already achieved 70" to the targeted 100 points.
Lets do some formulas...

maxT + maxBb + maxSb = 70
This is obvious: maximum points for temperature plus the maximum points for basic balance plus the maximum points for strength would add up to 70 points.

T = Bb = Sb
All of this basic variables can be rated with the same importance.
Obviously that means each variable will add up to 23.3 points each.

maxS + maxSd + maxFb = 30
S = Sd = Fb
Maximum points for simplicity flavor balance and spirit driven would add up to 30 points and they are equal to each others.

Apologies that the whole formulas are so basic - I started with something much more complex in mind - but at this time, it looks quite good overall.

I would be thrilled to read some comments about, what might miss or improve the overall rating sheet. In the meanwhile I am working on a form, which translates the ratings to an overall score.


Update: I did a form [see below - hope it works embedded]. However as online form it doesn't show the overall score. However please try it out and I will post the results of your tasted cocktails...


Another update: maybe I should also include a more "emotional" component to the equation... I tried out a imaginative perfectly done Martini cocktail - and even with the quite critical 'B' note in flavor balance, it still scored 97 | 100 - even a bit too high score, if you would love Martini cocktails... Stay tuned, until it is changed and I figured out, to show the result on the original form [if it works]...


  1. Man, that's really nice!
    I wish I could see the scores.
    You just translated what a great drink should be like.
    I think those 6 represents really well, may add some visual appearance as the 7th factor.


    1. Thanks so much - and sorry, that I only reply now.
      Yes you are absolutely right - visual appearance definitely needs to be incorporated as well - maybe with a bit less weight. I still looking for a way, to show directly the results - but as a matter of fact, this form would be perfect for competitions - as judges should not mess around with the results after their first verdict…

      Thanks so much for commenting


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