Saturday, September 17, 2011

An App For Your Nightcap



A few months ago, I exhaled deeply and made the great technological leap: I upgraded my cell phone to a Smartphone. Shortly thereafter, I fell joyously down the rat hole of these things called “apps” – small programs that can be installed on and run from your cell phone. Neat-O, for sure!

But once I realized how much the power of these apps could be harnessed in a handheld device, it occurred to me that if there were apps that could provide you with directions, weather forecasts and neighborhood movie listings, you could certainly find one (or more) that could help you mix a refreshing adult beverage, no?

Delightedly, I can report to you that the answer to that question is a resounding Yes!

And the even better news is the fact that whether you’ve got an iPhone, an Android or a Blackberry, there’s bound to be something out there compatible with your Smartphone that will suit your mixology needs.

A couple of years ago, The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of cocktail-related iPhone apps. While an app called Cocktails+ is probably preferable if you’re a professional, it’s rather expensive at around $10. Perhaps a better choice might be the more affordable app conveniently called Cocktails Made Easy (does that name sound familiar to anyone?), priced at only $3. However, the caveat here is that some of the recipes may not wind up making terribly strong drinks, so you may want to consider improvising accordingly.

If you are an Android user, The New York Times found some even cheaper cocktail apps for you to download including a free app called 8500+ Free Cocktails. The possible downside to this one is that with all of those recipes, some of them are a little questionable. Alternatively, the article recommends Pocket Cocktails, which scores high marks for usability.

For those of you Blackberry owners, Yahoo’s research turns up several cocktail-related apps – unfortunately, they don’t list prices, but they do provide links to the site where you can get more information. Among their recommendations are Bartender Pro and Mix Mentor. Bartender Pro ($3) allows you to look up recipes either by the name of the cocktail or by an ingredient, which can be handy if you have some extra spirit or liqueur on hand that you want to use up in a new and different way. Mix Mentor ($4), on the other hand, takes a more academic approach to drink-making in that besides merely including recipes, it also has a glossary containing definitions of various bartending terms. So, if you’re looking for a bit of an education with which you can amaze your friends and bore your co-workers, this might just be the appropriate app.

As for me, I’m a relatively new Android user, so I’m going to start taking a look at some of the apps referenced in The New York Times article mentioned above. That’s sure to be some of the most fun research I’ve ever conducted, I’m certain of that.


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