Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mixilator Madness

Will androids one day rule the earth? Can a computer create a decent cocktail if you give it clear instructions and ask nicely?

Last night I settled down at the computer with a Tropical Itch and nothing much in mind except harmless diversion. I went to the CocktailDB and ran the Mixilator. To my surprise, it actually came up with a potable cocktail I had ingredients for, more or less.

Sobbed Downer Cocktail

Chill cocktail glass. Prepare as follows:

In pre-chilled cocktail shaker combine
  • 2 oz cocktail Sherry
  • 1 oz blended Scotch
  • ½ oz orange bitters
  • 2 drops peach bitters
Shake vigorously with fresh snow until thoroughly blended and creamy. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Obviously the name has to go. There are already sufficient downers without having to make one up. (Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Sob and you’re gonna clear out the bar.) Instead, let‘s call it something classy: the Max Ernst Cocktail, for an artist who incorporated chance elements in his work.

As for the ingredients list, this has considerable promise. Sherry and scotch are generally tasty, but which sherry? Maybe a dry one? I have some amontillado. Great. I’m out of Johnnie Walker but got this nice Peat Monster for Christmas. Perfect. And scotch and orange have a natural affinity. Use up the end of the Fee’s plus some Regans’. (Two drops of peach bitters? You gotta have a gimmick.)

Fresh snow is certainly poetic, but shake a scotch cocktail? This random nonsense can only be taken so far. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Dry, rich, woodsy—really pretty good for a drink by a machine.

This recipe was the first one that was generated and it sounded reasonable. Just to see, I ran the Mixilator nine more times, and they all seemed, well, random. And the good recipe I found still needed to come alive with some human decision making. I don’t really think this is a consistent answer to being stumped for a drink to make on a Tuesday evening, but there’s always the odd chance.


  1. This reminds me of a more bracing version of the Xeres:

  2. I’ll have to try that one. Looks like it would be an all-around good aperitif cocktail and also appropriate for the guest who asks you nervously if your rum drink is strong.


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