Top 5 Must Know Make Me A Cocktail Secrets

8th January 2024

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Over 5 years ago we started building Make me a Cocktail with one simple premise in mind - allow a user to enter what ingredients they have at home, and we'll tell them what they can make! Simple. Succinct. No problem ..... right? Well, that original goal was relatively quick to solve, but as with all websites the main crux of the problem came on how best to represent all the information and how to give the user the best possible experience to find the information they were exactly after. To that aim we are always striving and one which means we are constantly tinkering with small GUI updates.
However, as we've been making this journey we've realised that what one user wants to be shown can be different to another, and giving the right results and information to a user is a complicated beast to solve. To try and achieve this there are so many small and clever user options, tabs and hacks that you can carry out on the website to get what you want, and here's our top 5!

1. Ingredient Searching Cleverness

You carry out a search with the ingredients vodka and orange in. But do you mean you want to see cocktails with vodka OR orange, or vodka AND orange. Well, you can do actually do both. So lets say you carried out this very same search which takes you here:,32

Now near the top of the results, in a nice blue box, you get shown what you searched for, which looks like this:

However, click on that lovely black arrow and you'll get shown this option:

And wham bam thank you mam! Simply click on the green and white 'go arrow' and we'll change it from one to the other. Clever hey?

2. Home ingredients .... I've got them all!

We're users of the site too, and as such we know that sometimes when creating a new My Bar you don't want to enter all those pernickety home ingredients such as milk, cocoa powder, ginger, pepper, sugar, salt etc etc. You just want for the system to assume you've got them all and you just enter the alcoholic parts of your bar ... well guess what, we built that feature in. It's a member only feature so simply register or login (registration is free so theres no reason not to) and then go to the Preferences tab. There, among a host of useful options is the power feature of 'Ignore home ingredients, assume I've got them all'.

Tick that box, hit save, and hey presto, when working out what cocktails you can make we assume you've got all home ingredients. If you go to My Bar you'll even get shown a bespoke view to highlight that you've got this option selected.

How when you search using your bar we do all the home ingredient assumptions for you. Very very cool!

3. Default measurement

Stick with me here, and stay on the Admin > Preferences screen. You'll notice among the options this little gem of choosing what default measurement you want shown on cocktail recipes.

Choose your preferred measurement and hit save. And just like that we try and show you all recipes using that measurement instead of the original text. You can still see a cocktails original text, but if we can, we show you the converted measurement too! Yep, very funky we know!

4. Tell me more about this cocktail.....

So sure we think we're the best cocktail resource out there, and we hope our recipes give you everything you need to know, but we also believe in an open and connected web where information from different sources can only be a good thing. And to that end we built our 'Elsewhere on the net' widget for all cocktails.

On every cocktail page you'll see this little powerful gem of a box:

Where we display 3 videos from YouTube that (hopefully) show how to make the cocktail you're looking at. Click a video and we open it up in a mobile friendly lightbox so you can view the video without having to navigate off the site. In the picture above (and the ones below) I'm on one of my favourite cocktails page - the Caipirinha, and you can see the widget is showing me 3 videos from different sources on how to make the cocktail - nice.

But what about those two other tabs .... those are actually really clever little things. Lets take a look at the contents:

In the social tab (the one on the far right) we give you a Twitter and Google Plus feed of anybody who is talking about that cocktail right now, so you can see what people are saying about the cocktail on social media RIGHT NOW! Yep, up to date internet action on the very cocktail you're looking at.

Not only that, but the other tab - Websites - gives you 5 other websites which mention how to make this cocktail. Sure, some of them are our competitors, but we believe so strongly in our brand and website, and the openness of the web that we'd rather give you as much information as we can on a cocktail then hide it away and shy away. Crazy - maybe, but we're all about the best user experience for you rather than holding you tightly to our site and not letting you go.

5. Really (really) complex ingredient searching

Geek alert! This one is very very (very) clever but does come with a slight geek alert warning. Happy to carry on? Then lets begin!

We've already mentioned ingredient searching and being able to search with AND / OR logic, but what about complex searches where you want to be able to search for combinations of these. Lets take an example.

You want to see cocktails that use:

(Vodka OR Gin), as well as (Lemon juice OR Lime juice OR Orange juice), as well (Angostura bitters).

I.e. we're saying one from the first set, one from the second, and one from the last, but in any combination. Well, you can do this with a little bit of URL tinkering. Firstly go onto the search page and add all the ingredients to the mix, and hit search!

You'll get presented with a list of cocktails that use any of those ingredients (currently around 1500 cocktails). Now take a look at the URL:,61,32,58,27,452

And this is where you can tinker with the URL to get what you are after. In ingredient searching URL's, comma's mean or, and the pipe character (the straight line key ... |) means AND. Those numbers are the ingredient id's, so to build up our query we simple replace the comma's between the sets we want to create with the pipe character, leaving you with this:,61|32,58,27|452

This URL logic means any one from the first set (before the pipe) AND any one from the middle set, AND any one from the end set. Hit return and boom - the complex search you wanted is carried out, in this case currently returning around 10 cocktails.

If you need a drink after that logic I suggest you try the Pegu Club from those results, lovely!



And thats our top 5 hints, tip and tricks to get the most from our website. It was tough to bring the list down to 5, as theres so many more very funky tips, but we'll leave them for another article. Got any tips or ways of using the site yourself? Let us know in the comments below. Happy cocktailing!


Pardon the interruption

Did you know that you can become a member for free, taking your cocktail making skills up to level 11. You can save your My Bar ingredients, make tasting notes, have personalised Tried and Want to try lists and more.

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