If you’re anything like us, you sometimes get up to the bar to order a tasty cocktail and completely blank on the name (even if it’s the first round of the evening!). There you are, trying to drown your sorrows at the bar, people waiting behind you, the bartender looking at you expectantly… and all you can do is stammer out the name of an old standby — or even worse, a mere beer or soft drink.
Thankfully, smartphones are here to save those of us with a terrible memory for cocktails! Just open up one of these apps to find exactly what you’re looking for or discover a new favorite.
1. Cocktail Flow
Price: Free for phone; $2.99 for Android tablet
Download: Cocktail Flow for iOS, Android phone or tablet
Cocktail Flow is one of the best cocktail apps available. The interface is well designed, with several different visual themes available. Search for cocktails based on the type of alcohol, by category, or even by color. One of the app’s best features called the Cabinet lets you select the ingredients you have available and gives you a list of drink options you can make with what you have on hand or just one or two more items. You’ll also find detailed instructions for mixing your own drinks, so you can be the life of your next party!
2. Mixologist Drink Recipes/Mixology Drink Recipes
Price: Free for Mixology Drink Recipes; 99 cents for Mixologist Drink Recipes (iPhone); $1.49 for Mixologist Drink Recipes (Android)
Download: Mixology Drink Recipes for iOS or Android, Mixologist Drink Recipes for iOS or Android
With close to 8,000 recipes in its extensive database, Mixologist Drink Recipes and its free cousin Mixology Drink Recipes definitely deliver the goods. Like Cocktail Flow, there’s a cabinet option where you can check off the ingredients you have to get suggestions of drinks you can make. Browse by ingredient or category, switch between metric and imperial measurements, and even search for nearby liquor stores. Look up techniques in the section on bartending terminology and equipment, and find ideas in the fun random drink finder.
The only differences between Mixology and Mixologist Drink Recipes are that the latter has no banner ads, more ways to choose random drinks, and the ability to add your own custom recipes.
Drinkspiration is a branded app from vodka-maker Absolut — but don’t worry, you’ll find much more than vodka drinks here. (There was no official confirmation whether or not Chumbawumba added whiskey, cider, or lager drinks.) The app’s lovely interface encourages discovery rather than searching for specific drinks, great if you’re looking to try something new and expand your cocktail horizons. Get suggestions based on taste, color, trends, time of day, location, “bar vibe,” type of glass, or even the weather.
Drinkspiration can analyze the ambient noise volume wherever you are and suggest a drink that’s “quiet” or “loud,” depending on the atmosphere in which you find yourself immersed. You can also share drink choices with friends on Twitter or Facebook. While this app definitely focuses on finding new drinks, it also lets you search for specific cocktails, and though obviously it does highlight Absolut vodka drinks, all alcohol types are included.
4. Drinks & Cocktails
Download: Drinks & Cocktails for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
While Drinks & Cocktails doesn’t have quite the extensive recipe library of Mixologist, 1,200 is still a pretty good drink library. Its interface is clean and uncluttered, and the functionality is basic but perfectly serviceable. Search by glass shape or drink color, keep a list of your favorite concoctions, post recipes to Facebook, and even email concoctions to yourself so you can make them at home.
5. Inthespirit Easy Cocktails
Download: Inthespirit Easy Cocktails for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
If you’re a relative beginner in the world of drinks and cocktails, Inthespirit Easy Cocktails is a great app for you. While its library is relatively limited (about 400 recipes), the ability to sort recipes by difficulty level as well as taste (creamy, dry, fruity, and so on) is pretty handy. Create your own list of favorite cocktails, search by drink name or ingredients, and shake your iPhone or iPod touch for a random cocktail. Each recipe features full-color photographs, ingredients, glass type, difficulty level, and mixing instructions, so you can be sure that you’ll get it right the first time.
6. Cocktail Chicks
Download: Cocktail Chicks for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
Okay, gentlemen, while you’re more than welcome to use this app, unless you’re a fan of purple and teal and examining your feelings and how they relate to alcohol, you might want to skip it. As the name implies, Cocktail Chicks is aimed at women, and it does a good job of appealing to that demographic. It eschews a huge recipe library in favor of unique search options.
You can search for a drink by ingredient, of course, but also by mood and event types. You could say, for example, that you’re feeling “classy” and you’re on a winter holiday, and it might suggest you try a Champagne Cocktail. While that might seem a bit gimmicky, Cocktail Chicks is a fun way to mix things up and try something new.
Shake it up!
Whether you’re hosting a fabulous shindig, looking for something new to serve with dinner, or trying to remember your favorite drink when you get up to the bar, these apps will help keep your evening fun. Always drink responsibly, and you’ll be mixing it up with the pros in no time!
[Image credit: Kirti Poddar]