Converting Liqueur Recipes to Product Specifications

There are two main alternatives for the strategy that can be used in liqueur calculations. These are the "liqueur recipe" method and the "product specification" method.

In the liqueur recipe method all the quantities and specifications of the ingredients that go into the liqueur are known and the aim is to calculate the ABV/Proof and sugar content of the product. It is a bit like baking a cake where you know all the ingredients that go into it, but it is hard to know what the result will be until you actually bake the cake and taste it. This method is problematic because the result is unknown (until you have made it) and also because it is difficult to adjust the liqueur recipe if the exact ingredients are not available. For example, if the proof of the spirit available or the sugar content of the syrup available is slightly different from the given liqueur recipe it is difficult to know how much more or less to use and how that adjustment will affect the other ingredients.

In the product specification method the details of the product are known and we rely on the software to calculate how much of each of the ingredients to use. Once the detailed product specification is known it is easy to recalculate the quantities required for different sized batches and to cope with slightly different grades of ingredients. For this method to work we must know the ABV/Proof and the sugar content of the product, and the mass percentage of flavoring that is contained in the product.

When using the liqueur recipe method we sometimes talk of calculating forward from the ingredients to the product, while with the product specification method we talk of calculating backwards from the product to the ingredients.

In AlcoDens LQ both of these methods are available. Although many liqueur manufacturers work from recipes, and the flavor houses often issue the instructions for using their products in the form of liqueur recipes, it is useful to be able to convert a liqueur recipe into a product specification so that it can be used to formulate different sized batches and to cope with variations in available ingredients. This conversion only has to be done once and after the product specification has been established it can be used for future batches.

The calculator in AlcoDens LQ that performs this conversion from liqueur recipe to product specification is called the liqueur recipe analyzer. Recipes usually use a variety of different units to measure the quantities and some of the units will be volumetric and some will be mass (weight) based. The liqueur recipe analyzer internally converts all these different units to get everything into mass terms using the same units. It is important to use mass rather than volume because shrinkage occurs when volumes of alcohol, water and sugar are added together, but of course there is no shrinkage when masses are added together. After performing the recipe analysis in mass terms the recipe analyzer can give the product specification in mass or volumetric terms, and this can be used in the liqueur blending calculator to calculate future batches.

This procedure is illustrated in an example of converting a liqueur recipe into a product specification.