Converting Liqueur Recipes to Product Specifications

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

In the 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 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 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 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 the current version of AlcoDens LQ only the product specification method is available. However, many liqueur manufacturers work from recipes and the flavor houses often issue the instructions for using their products in the form of recipes. It is therefore important to be able to convert a recipe into a product specification so that it can be used in AlcoDens LQ. This conversion only has to be done once and after the product specification has been established it can be used for future batches.

We have a spreadsheet available that can be used in conjunction with AlcoDens LQ to do this conversion. 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. It is impossible to do the calculations with all these different units and the main aim of the spreadsheet is 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. The result of the spreadsheet is to give the product specification in mass terms, and we can then use AlcoDens LQ to convert this mass-based product specification back to a volumetric basis like ABV/Proof for the alcohol and grams/liter or lbs/gallon for the sugar if that is required.

Convert Mass % alcohol to proof

In this example the spreadsheet has determined that the alcohol in the product would be at 15.075 Mass % and the sugar would be at 19.034 Mass %. AlcoDens LQ is then used to convert these Mass based values to Proof for the alcohol and gram/liter for the sugar.

If you are struggling to convert a recipe to a different batch size, or if you want confirmation that the listed ingredients will deliver the alcohol and sugar contents that you want, send us an email with the details and we can help you with the calculations.