A better title for post would probably be “What kinds booze to drink together to get drunk in style, according to those who write, compile, publish, test and enjoy cocktail recipes”. Continuing from previous posts, I wanted to see how does it look a network of ingredients of all possible cocktail recipes, and if it’s possible to divide them into sensible groups, so that they would be instantly recognizable and even helpful to experienced and casual drinkers alike.
To do this, more than 25,000 recipes from Drinksmixer.com and Drinksnation.com were scraped, a network was constructed with Gephi, and visualized here below. Dot size reflects the count of that particular ingredient in all analyzed recipes. Dots of same color frequently appear together in recipes. One could say that one can hardly make a mistake if one combines three ingredients of the same color and drinks the concoction.
The map below is interactive, try panning and zooming with mouse or use the control in the upper left-hand corner.
I see five major groups of ingredients, but your alcohol proof may vary. Actually I suspected something like that:
ice is in its own group. For some reason it also contains tequila,
milky drinks are in their own group (gray-blue),
salty and spicy drinks are also in an easily recognizable group (pink),
blue group is dominated by vodka and rum,
green group mostly has gin and tangy juices, and
red group mostly contains fruit schnappses and liqueurs.
For a more mobile-friendly, searchable map with advanced interactivity, click here (Sigma.js). Clicking on an ingredient on this map will show a list of all connected ingredients. Clicking on an element in the list will show a subgraph.
Most recipes contained preferred brands for spirits and fruit juices, so I constructed another diagram. It shows which brands are usually grouped together in drinks.
Where to find good information? There exist internet communities, so-called harm-reduction forums, where one can spend a few hours to discover that the truth is not black and white. Surely junkies exist, and using meth daily is not a life strategy anyone could recommend, but not all drugs were created equal. There are many classes of recreational drugs, each acting on specific chemical pathways in body – uppers on dopamine, hallucinogens on serotonin, downers on GABA, etc.
I thought it would be nice to visualize these drug groups based on what users of harm-reduction forums say, so I analyzed around 1.2 million posts on bluelight.ru and constructed a simple diagram that tells a lot. It was constructed in such a way that drugs that are frequently mentioned together, appear together. Circle radii are proportional with frequency of appearance of the same drugs in the posts. Methodology is explained at the bottom of the post.
Here’s the diagram, pan and zoom at will:
Click here to peruse a clickable, searchable version of the same diagram (give it a second to load). To download a high-resolution image (8000 x 6000), click here (black) or here (white).
The drug groups are color coded for better readability. Starting from the top:
light blue group: mostly antidepressives – SSRIs such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft and such.
orange group: opiates and opioids, soch as heroin, oxycontin and the like. There were so many mentions of “opiates” without referring to a specific chemical that I considered it would be a pity to leave the word out.
dark yellow group on the right: mostly dissociatives such as ketamine and DXM, but there’s also a subgroup on the right side. It forms a larger group, mixed with differently colored drugs, that could be called “shamanic corner”, as it mostly contains so-called entheogens and natural concoctions such as ayahuasca.
light orange group: mainly nootropics such as Piracetam. Some use them to enhance a psychedelic or MDMA experience, but they have a more general use as memory, intelligence and sensory enhancers.
red group: I don’t know what to call this, but these are “working man’s drugs”. The common drugs that we hear about in the media. Some of these drugs are not considered drugs at all, for example alcohol and tobacco, but the Bluelight discussions show that they are very common. Thinking about it, one must have something to drink while one insufflates synthetic powders, and a cigarette is also a good thing to have while waiting for something stronger to take hold.
green group: psychedelic drugs such as shrooms, LSD, DMT and mescaline, along with many newer variations and analogs, such as 2C-X family, the DMT analogs and the whole Tihkal inventory.
blue group: Ecstasy (MDMA) and newer stimulants and entactogens, such as methylone, mephedrone, etc. “Plant foods” and “bath salts” are in this category.
Simply mapping out the drugs is nice, but additional step seemed in order: mapping coincidence of various effects the drugs have on users. Again, posts were analyzed, but in addition to drugs, some (not all!) common effects were extracted and mapped in a network. Result is in the diagram below. Darker dots are effects, lighter are drugs. Size is again proportional to number of mentions in all posts.
Click here to peruse a clickable, searchable version of the same diagram. To download a high-resolution image, click here (black) or here (white).
Note that above diagram does not indicate semantic relationships between drugs and their effects. For example, why is “marijuana” close to “death”? Maybe there was a lot of talk about fear of death that the marijuana experience helps to resolve, or maybe people like to describe how they are dying of laughter while smoking weed. I honestly don’t know. I suspect it’s because of close relationship between mentions (not necessarily use!) of marijuana and those of alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine, which could have a more significant relation with death or dying.
What’s really notable is heavy clustering of adverse effects around opiates, and relative absence of same around psychedelics. Based on Bluelight data, I can safely conclude that psychedelic drugs do not cause users to complain a lot, except maybe mentioning hallucinations and visuals, but, well …
Drug use over the years
My whole database contains posts from 2010 until March 2013. Here’s an analytical tool to better understand what’s going on in the recreational drug market community. Time is on horizontal axis, while the proportion of posts mentioning specific drug relative to all posts in that month is on the vertical axis.
Play around with interactive chart to discover emerging trends, or simply to behold the wax and wane of specific chemicals as they compete for users’ neurological apparatuses, while their manufacturers are temporarily evading ever stricter analog laws:
Commentary: Bluelight is a harm reduction forum, historically established for the users to be able to tell a good Ecstasy pill from the bad, so MDMA is the most mentioned drug. Use of “classic” drugs doesn’t change much, but it’s interesting to note the rise of new “research chemicals” such as NBOME family, new cathinones (3-MMC), new synthetic canabinoids (STS-135) and different amphetamines, prevalently methamphetamine. You can also see how the newly banned drugs, for example mephedrone, go out of use, and their analogs, in this case 3-MMC, replace them.
Methodology and tools
First, all the Bluelight forums were crawled and contents, dates and other metadata of all posts put into a SOLR index. That took approximately two days of not too aggressive load on their server (thanks Bluelight for not banning my IP).
To make first two network diagrams, undirected graphs were constructed with JGraphT library so that all extracted entities – drugs and effects – in every post were connected as nodes. Mentions of all extracted entities were counted to make the dots size show frequencies, not network degrees. That yielded complete graphs to be visualized with Gephi. Gephi files were exported to a TileMill-friendly format to render map tiles. Tiles are displayed on the site using Leaflet.
To make the interactive chart, SOLR was used to produce time series. Data was then packed into suitable format for the Flot library to be able to display.
To extract entities, two dictionaries were used – one for drugs, one for effects. You can download them here: drugs / effects.
If anyone is interested in the SOLR core, I can put it on Dropbox. Send me a note, my email is on the About page.
What is not here, but could be
analysis of effects that specific drugs have over time
a chart of effects only
some different visualization that could help to establish relationships between specific drugs and effects they have. For example, it’s been known for some time that mephedrone and various dragonflies have vasoconstrictive effects. Maybe some other relationship could be inferred that way.
first map should be clickable to search on Wikipedia, I’ll add that as soon as I figure out the Wax lib.