Memory techniques for recipes

What can I use to memorize recipes ?? I am qualified as a cook and also worked as a bartender . What can I use to store massive amounts of cocktail recipes or dishes ? Keep in mind that I need to store the exact amounts of each element that goes in the recipe .
Thanks !!

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How much have you done with memory techniques so far? Have you created number images for 00-99 yet?
Do you have some memory palaces created?

One idea is to create a memory palace with one stage for each drink. Then use a linking method to connect the recipe images within each location.

To find an example, I tried to find a less-common cocktail:

It says the recipe for “Red Bubbles” is:
40ml Cointreau / triple sec
50ml grape juice (obviously red because of the name)
Sparkling water

If you have images for numbers 00-99, then you could use your images for 40 and 50.

You could then make images for each drink. If you know the bottles well, you might be able to use the bottles or associations you have with each drink.

You could put all the images for a drink into a location in your memory palace, connecting them with a story, and attaching them to an image of red bubbles. If someone asks for “red bubbles” it should take you to the other images by association.

That’s just one idea for a way to memorize it…


I tried memorizing with the room that I live in a few years back… tried to attach every recipe to an object in my room and linking each element to each other and using the numbers from 0 to 9 for that. Tried to use the name of each drink … like a foreign language word . But I had to link the ingredients to former amounts . For example : 30 ml of Cointreau with 20 ml of Whiskey . The image of the Cointreau word was associated both with 30 ml and with 20 ml … because I used link method . I did not know how to go around that .It worked for maybe 50 cocktails … than I started getting confused a bit … which annoyed me to the point that I gave up completely. :slight_smile:

You guys are probably more accustomed with these sorts of things… so please help .

Can you give me a small example of how a story should be like ?

Thank you !!

Could you give an example of your images/story for that mnemonic?

If it were me, I would attach the image for 30 (an Amazon warrior) to the Cointreau and the image for 20 (Einstein) to the whiskey. That way the Cointreau wouldn’t be attached to 20 in any way.

The first thing that cames to mind for “triple sec” is triplets. The first image for whiskey is a glass of whiskey with one ice cube.

Sample image:
Amazon warrior battling triplets which then fall backwards onto Einstein who is getting drunk on whiskey. Then attach that to the name of the drink.

One thing that I adopted from the Ben System is to always place images left-to-right or top-to-bottom. That preserves the order. The #20 (Einstein) can only be attached to the whiskey because of the order from left-to-right.

If you’re memorizing a lot of drinks and get repeated images, you could make several sets of images for 00-99.

Another idea to reduce the number of repeated images is to organize drinks in different rooms by category. (Just brainstorming out loud… you could try it and see if it works.)


Ok man … thanks .

Yea well … for example
30 ml of triple sec
40 ml of Tequila

For 30 I was using 3 - Marlyn Monroe ( a system based on shapes … Marlyn has the boobs like number 3 )
For 40 I was using a ship … the number 4 resembles a ship
Triple sec - 3 skulls (sec means without content in my language )
Tequila - Ila is a famous guy from my country and I used his image

So I would have for example Marlyn staying on 3 skulls on a ship talking to this guy Ila ( Talking to Ila = Tequila ) . But at times … I would not know anymore if the ship belonged to the skulls , to Ila or to Marlyn … it took a bit to figure out who’s who . This is a simple example … it would work out fine in the end … but you have recipes that included maybe 6 or 7 elements . In cooking … you can have many many more. And because of that you could mix up things really badly … to the point of becoming very annoyed .

From your examples … I see I must work on my stories a bit for things to become more relevant !!

Hoping that this shows up properly, this is how I do it when presented with multiple proprietary recipes.


Taking the drink recipe “Alpharetta” as an example,

Just looking at t&e “4th Ward Gin” I created “4 thwords” (4 swords). Each image has a unique story.


If you’re new at this then I would suggest using lots of space.

I’m currently memorising a topic with 27 categories each with about 20 sub-points.

I’m using my old high school because there are many rooms that I know well. Each category (recipe) gets its own room.

The stations within each room are determined by this formula: four corners, four walls, ceiling, floor, middle space. Some of those stations are reserved for specific points: 1) name 2) number… This system means there is less to remember and more order for quick reference.

In Excel I’ve got a sheet with all the data organised. I recommend you do this too. Sort the recipes into a logical order. Sort the ingredients into order too - perhaps by size. I’d attach the ingredient and quantity to the same station: potatoes, 4

Also try to be as literal as possible. So if you need four eggs then see four eggs. And emphasise the tastes, colours, etc. When you use salt at a station then bring to mind the taste of salt. Do this for each ingredient because it will be more memorable.

Perhaps have a station - I’d use the middle space - where you taste the final product and remember where you’ve had it before. Say you had crepes in a cafe in France - bring that memory in so when you think about crepes you go straight to your room and you can look around and see all the ingredients.

I’m an experienced mnemonist and I could memorise all 27 categories and points in one sitting. But I’ve chosen not to do this because I want this knowledge for long term reference. So I’m doing one room per week and reviewing that room many times during the week. This chunks down the project and prevents overload. I think it helps to actually learn the category rather than just cramming factoids into my head.

Let us know how it goes!


Another thing about memory palaces is that you can learn them by rote. The advantage of this is that it reduces the number of silly images that need interpretation.

So if you need 1/4 cup of 4th Ward Gin then imagine the bottle with swords in it and pouring into one of four cups.

In the past I would have imagined a lot of weird imagery and encoded all the details. Nowadays I prefer less encoding and more reliance on natural memory through increased reviewing.

I used to use a lot of violent and sexual imagery to make the images memorable but not so much these days. I think this has come from practice - images don’t need to be so dramatic anymore. It also from planning in Excel and relying on rote learning.


Thanks for the tips on the excel sheet use. I’ll try it.
For my numbers and glassware I’m using a combination of the major, pao, and a few conventions of my own. A boxing glove represents “Rocky” for rocks glass. Julia Child with a spatula is for a Specialty Glass. ½ oz is a hatchet embedded into the ingredient or acronym (if all ingredients in the acronym are half an ounce), “Dieter” (alpine hat on ingredient, or Dieter carrying a bottle) means 1¼ oz, noodle equals 2.5 oz, 3 American quarters equal 3 quarters of an ounce. Thirds are represented by the Mercedes hood ornament, and a few more. I’m combining various methods, using tips from Anthony Metivier’s MMM Master Class and some of the authors he’s recommended.

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This might be overly simplified (if you’re in the MMM Class then you’re probably quite proficient already) but I found this an interesting way to remember recipes: