Cocktail Menu

As discussed in the formative feedback I started on my cocktail menu, I did try to get help from a first or second year designer but none of them responded to my request. To start with I looked at templates for cocktail and bar menus on line. Many were long and thing menus, like what the group discussed during the feedback session. The average was around 10-12inches tall and 3.5-5 inches wide. So I went for 10x5inches.

I then went back to my post about cocktail menus, I really like Basement Sate and Cocktail Trading Co‘s menu. I liked the clashing text of Basement Sate, I liked how the recipe is displayed on Cocktail Trading Co. and with both of them I like how the paper isn’t white.

I felt the font would dictate a lot of the book so I started with that first. I wanted I needed them to contrast each other but fit well. I wanted something fancy for the titles of cocktails. I decided to reverse wheat Basement Sate had done because I will be having some much text about the cocktail that I wanted it to be clear and easy to read. Once I found one that I like I tried to find the matching text. I liked the all capitals of Cocktail Trading Co and decided to see how they fitted together. I liked it I felt they contrasted each other well.

I thought about having a border round my text but I soon realised how different each page would look because of text lengths that I decided against it. Also it would be time consuming designing that especially with the deadline being so close. I thought about having some dividing lines, one like the recipe, one underneath the title of the cocktail and the other between the recipe and story. After showing this to a few people they thought this was too boxy. I remove the underline from the title and it looked better. It then flowed a little better. To start with I had my drinks in ml, my friend felt this didn’t match the speakeasy feel I was going for. Additionally, it goes against what I originally wanted of people being able to create the cocktails at home and people will have different glasses or they might want to make a whole batch of them, this will make it easier.


After I wrote out each story and recipe, I looked at the menu as a whole, I felt like the front cover was a little bear and the inside pages were too. I thought it would be a good idea to have the drawings of the glasses in a line on the front cover. A lot of them are iconic and make a person think back, I think it works quite nicely. And if you just saw a picture of that you would know it was about cocktails. As for the inside pages, I thought back to other menus I have seen and I remembered some use quotes. I searched for quotes about alcohol, bars and cocktails. Sadly, nearly all were sexist or about drinking over the limit, something I don’t want to promote. After a fair amount of searching I found two I really liked:

Everybody should believe in something I believe I’ll have another drink.

– Anonymous

Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.

– G.K. Chesterton

I liked the first one to be at the start so it is like you are picking up the menu and deciding on your next drink, the second is quite uplifting and a nice way to finish the menu. When looking back over my work I read over the bit about Naomi Campbell being the person in the bar asking Dick Bradsell to create the drink, I couldn’t believe she was that old. When I searched, I found out she was 45 which means in 1983 she was 13 – definitely not of age! I decided to omit that part.

The illustrations of the glasses were the hardest part of this whole menu. To start with I tried to find line drawings that I could use for free. Sadly not, the only thing I could find was something from ShutterStock, but I’d have to pay – something I’d rather not do. I tried to use Illustrator to turn photos into illustrations but it wasn’t giving me the look I wanted. I then found a site that would do it for free. I was able to edit them slightly, I removed the white background so whatever colour background I chose for the menu it would sit with.


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