Mixing content to a perfect cocktail

Absolutdrinks.com isn’t just the biggest site in the Pernod Ricard company group, it’s where you find all the info you need on how to make the most exotic cocktail, or the best long drink, no matter what spirit you have in mind.

We had a chat with Hanna Kastås, who’s been a crucial part of developing the Absolut drinks eco-system for all things mixable available on several digital platforms.

Why did you start the Absolut drinks site?

The initial insight was that we, at Absolut, manufacture spirits, but people drink drinks. So, we felt a need to help people up their bartending game and to move drink mixing into the kitchen at home. And that’s how absolutdrinks.com was born back in -06. This is a site meant to function as a source for inspiration, it’s about what you can actually make using our product and other spirits – what to drink, what ingredients to use, how to mix, how to serve and so on. Today, we have collected over 4 000 drinks in our database. Apart from finding new drinks, new ways of categorizing them and new ways to present them, we’re also focusing a lot on organic Search Engine Optimisation to make sure we’re popping up as the no 1 site when consumers are searching for anything drink related. And this is pure organic growth, we’re not putting any media spend behind the site. And the great thing about that is that our visitors are truly interested in our content. So, the growth is slow, but it’s steady.

How has the Absolut drinks universe expanded since 2006?

Over the years, we’ve created a whole eco-system of drinks related content. The system is fitted to reach different target audiences, with both broad features and niche content. There’s a whole array of services available now and the common thread is that they all lead back to the drinks database – the heart of the system. The database contains everything connected to making drinks; ingredients, measurements, images, films, alcohol strength and recommendations of garnish, ice and glass. The recipes are categorized according to taste and occasion. Apart from absolutdrinks.com, one of our strongest platforms is YouTube, where we have a series called Drinks with… The whole purpose is to showcase how easy it is to mix drinks at home, and we have a series of hosts that can help guide through all the steps in the mixing process. Adding to that, we’ve also developed a video platform called Drinks in motion. This is a collection of clips of the different stages of drink mixing that are automatically added together to create tutorials. The whole point of the ecosystem is to make it easily accessible for everyone who has an interest in drinks to learn how to mix and make everything from beginner cocktails to advanced long drinks.

This is a site meant to function as a source for inspiration, it’s about what you can actually make using our product and other spirits – what to drink, what ingredients to use, how to mix, how to serve and so on

How big is the team working with all this?

We’re currently about 7 people working on different parts of the ecosystem and absolutdrinks.com. We each have different competences; there’s developers, designers, copy writers and strategists on staff. Plus data analyst specialists and SEO-experts. We’re not a large team but I think we do a stellar job in going head to heads with bigger editorial sources.

Everything from how you find the drinks to how you make them in your own home needs to be easy and fun

What’s your biggest learnings from building the Absolutdrinks ecosystem?

I think the biggest – and most crucial – learning is that you need to keep it simple. Everything from how you find the drinks to how you make them in your own home needs to be easy and fun. People are curious to try new things, but they don’t want to be intimidated by complicated recipes and hard to get ingredients. That’s the reason why we’ve invested so much time and energy into making sure our content matches our SEO. To give an example: during the first wave of the pandemic, we saw a spike in traffic coming from Brazil. Covid had a profound impact on their domestic tv-productions, which meant that Brazilian tv started showing re-runs of a show called Laços de Família. In this show, they have a certain penchant for a drink called Casablanca, which spawned a trend amongst Brazilians that wanted to try out the drink. We picked up the spike and were quick to optimize the page content and that meant a lot of domestic Brazilian traffic we’re directed at absolutdrinks.com. And our content is of such high quality that visitors keep returning.

What are you working on now?

We’re optimizing our app “Drinkspiration”, also putting lots of effort into expanding our YouTube universe. We have Absolut drinks with… as our center of gravity, but we want to bring in new faces and ambassadors to be even more culturally relevant in different parts of the world. We’re also looking into how to utilize voice media. Amazon Alexa already has our drinks recipe database incorporated in their native search and this is something we want to continue to develop and explore. Voice is growing and we want to be part of that expansion. We’re also looking into developing our editorial content further. More filmed content for different platforms, new collaborations to reach new audiences and perhaps something for the gaming community. The important thing is that we’re not doing anything that doesn’t feel relevant and honest. Our content needs to add something.

Which is the most sought-after drink recipe?

Espresso Martini. Without a doubt. It’s been the most popular drink for quite some time now. People just don’t seem to get enough of it and I understand it. If you haven’t tried it you should!

Vodka Martini

  • 60 ml Absolut Vodka
  • 15 ml Dry Vermouth

Stir all ingredients with ice and serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.

Espresso Martini

  • 30 ml Kahlúa
  • 30 ml Absolut vodka 30 ml Espresso 

Shake all ingredients until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with coffee beans.