We’ve all been to a liquor store; we all know that bars and restaurants hike up their drink prices. But this online calculator gives you a clearer idea of just what kind of mark up we’re talking about, by breaking down the cost of specific ingredients in common cocktails and mixed drinks.
Here’s how it works: Click on the bolded drink title and a drop-down menu appears. Select your beverage of choice, and then choose the brand of liquor you would normally order. The calculator works out how much each ingredient would cost from a store, and then tells you what the mark up is if you pay $12 for it at a bar.
Helpfully, it takes into account that store ingredients have to be purchased in bulk, for instance, a lime twist requires you to buy a whole lime. So it also lets you know how many times you would need to make that drink at home before it became more affordable overall.
Of course, there are some issues with the calculator. It assumes a bar will charge $12 for a cocktail, and there’s a very limited selection of liquor brands. But it does give you a rough idea of how inflated prices are per drink—around 500% markup for a Beefeater gin martini and a Wild Turkey Old Fashioned.
However, that number changes significantly depending on what brand of liquor you choose. A vodka soda made with Tito’s has an 830% mark up, that number drops to 491% if made with Grey Goose instead. If a bar charges a flat fee for a particular cocktail regardless of the liquor, it is possible that you could get more value for money by choosing a pricier alcohol.
But of course, a smaller rip off is still a rip off. Better to make the most of the other benefits you’ve temporarily bought with that overpriced cocktail: A place that looks much nicer than yours, and someone to serve and clean up after you.