cocktail builder (cocktailbuilder) wrote,
cocktail builder
cocktailbuilder

Vision vNext: Organizing a Party

I'm thinking about the next version of the CocktailBuilder, and I'd like to share an idea that a friend of mine gave me. Basically, it's about one good end-to-end scenario for the website that I'm almost achieving, but not quite.

What's the most obvious use case for the site today? "Enter what you have in your bar, and you'll see the cocktails you can make from it". Great.

We want more.

We want to think end-to-end. What is the user trying to do? Probably, organize a party. A good party host wants to post a bar menu somewhere, to disincline the cute and pleasantly un-intelligent freshmen from the nearby dorm from asking "hey, can you make a sex on the beach?" RTFM, baby.

To make that scenario work, you need to help the savvy sysadmin of the party print out that M, I mean the manual, oops, the bar menu. And you need to help him manage that bar menu. Really, the bar menu is just a list of favorite cocktails; and printing of the menu is just a matter of converting the pretty HTML page to a pretty PDF file.

I'm half-way there on the implementation - favorites are done, but I'm still thinking about whether doing a PDF exporter is the right way to go .

What do you think about this scenario? Anything I'm missing? Any nearby scenario that we can get for cheap?

Cheers!
-cb

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  • 8 comments
Random idea - "stock up". When you have a party, you have a unique opportunity to stock up using the BYOB formula. The only remaining thing: take the list of top 10 (or 20) cocktails and produce the list of ingredients needed for those. Then do a "party registry" where guests get to pick what drinks they will be bringing.

This way, instead of 20 bottles of cheap red wine, you'll end up with a full bar and a terrific party!

Next step - you kill eVite :D
Love the idea. Awesome!! Thank you :) :)
We finished a huge XML on the web with an AJAX interface project last year, transforming about 40,000 ms word pages into a variety of output formats. We looked at a bunch of options, and ended up using CSS to format for print; it did everything we needed for academic documents, I'll bet it could get you nice menus. (Don't know if it will fend off the freshman, sorry).

If you search for CSS and printed output, you should get some good pointers.
Great ideas, but think about taking them further...when you go to the party its more than just about cocktails and menus, right? Its about the overall experieince. What about creating a theme based on favorites and paring a simple bar food with the cocktails. You will need to work on the parings, but it would be fun. Another trend that is happening in the Northwest is the springing up for Craft Distillers - similar to the Craft Brewing/Micro Brewing industry 20 years ago. Focus on cocktails created with their spirits and see what you can come up with (most Craft Distillers have a mixologist who have cocktails either on the website or you can call them). Another movement is the trend towards purity and pre-prohibition cocktails. All of the sweet cocktails (to mask the bad spirits) are being replaced with well-balanced cocktails, originating pre-prohibition. The trend moves cocktail bases from Vodka (so 2006) to a Gin, Rum, Brandy or Whiskey base - expanding options for cocktail lovers, but expanding the food you par with cocktails...Seriously...what can you actually eat with an Appletini other than vanilla ice cream or a blow pop....there's a great article in Food & Wine November 2007 about a couple of Portland Distilleries who are making a name for themselves in the PNW...so my long winded wrap up comment, is create parties that are interesting and can be easily duplicated so guests leave with a memorable experience.
So I just stumbled onto your site searching "type in ingredients you have get possible drinks".

Gotta say first... I love it! This is the type of functionality I wasn't getting from my iPhone apps and from webtender.com.

I have freshly brewed coffee, and I'm in the mood for a drink... but I have no idea what I can make with coffee and the alcohol I have on hand, so your site is perfect for that; however...

There is just ONE MORE feature I wish it had, and you seem eager to hear these ideas, so here it is!

I wish I could check a little box next to "coffee" on my list of ingredients so the website would know that I want a drink that MUST HAVE coffee in it. I'm in the mood for a coffee drink, but I want to know what type of coffee drinks I can make with what I have.

Currently, I can browse through all of the drinks brought up to find the ones with coffee in them and then add those to my bar menu and then look at them from there, but I would LOVE it if the site did that part for me with a simple check box.

Obviously it's probably not so simple on your end, but as a user, it would be easy and clean to just check "must include".

From a basic techie stand point, I guess what I'm asking for is instead of a "OR" search include and "AND" search, but also have "OR" options turned on.

You wrote this site, so you're obviously a very very smart guy, but in case my rambling isn't 100% clear, here is a mock up of what I would want to happen with the search I just made:

Ingredients:
[x] coffee ("must include" checkbox on)
baileys irish cream
amaretto
butterscotch schnapps
captain morgan's spiced rum
frangelico hazelnut liqueur
milk

Ready to make results:
heart strings
nutty irishman
coffee
kitchen wall

Note, the "nutty irishman ii" was not included. It seems in the "ready to make" list, it wouldn't cut it down too much with my demo list, but browsing through the add one or two ingredient list it would cut down a lot of clutter and make it easier for me to find the drinks I'm interested in making.



With that said... I WILL be using your site with or without this update.

Two more things:

1. No eggnog drinks? I searched egg nog and eggnog. Nothing. I'll suggest a couple in the "suggest" section.

2. Any thoughts on making an iPhone app, or iPhone friendly website? The site works just fine on my iPhone, but you have to scroll in a lot and it's not as "quick and easy" as you'd hope for on the iPhone. (Probably a pretty big market selling an app like this in the app store...)

Oh, and in my scenario, I'd also want to be able to check off two or more ingredients -- like coffee and irish cream, which would narrow those "ready" drinks to:

heart strings
kitchen wall
Thanks a bunch for your kind words :)

Actually, there's sort-of a "must include coffee" functionality on the site already. if you click on the name of the ingredient in your "in my bar" section - the name that appears to the left of the red X that deletes the ingredient - it will highlight the drinks that DO include that ingredient.

On the iPhone app: I've considered it, but it's non-trivial. Had very little time so far. Thanks for the suggestion! One day, hopefully.

On the recipes database: I know it's incomplete! Lots of kind folks like yourself keep suggesting recipes. I'll do a deal one day with one of the recipe databases and get a big dump of data in.
That's perfect! I just tried it and it works EXACTLY the way I would hope... but since I didn't know you could do that, maybe a quick little blurb telling people it's a functionality? Maybe a "how to use" tab that explains even the simple stuff?

Also, I found a glitch with that. When I have a couple ingredients selected, and then expand, and subsequently collapse, a highlighted recipe the expanded words stay on the screen, overlapping the list.