There seem to be a plethora of posting on the interwebs lately about the iPhone and drink database integration, so I thought that I would give a quick rundown on the apps, as well as some of the pros and cons for each one. I have 5 apps that we will look at. iBartender, PLBartender, Drinks, Cocktails, and PocketCocktails.
First up, lets look at the rather boring iBartender. This drink app is rather plain. It features recipes for many of the (most popular) mixed drinks, the ability to email drink recipes, search by name, or ingredient. You can also shake for a random drink.
Pros: Searching and emailing recipes.
Cons: Lackluster interface, poor measurements, no bookmarking or editing features.
Result: Probably would not recommend this particular app.
Next we have the PLBartender app. Like iBartender, I would probably look elsewhere for a good drink app. It does feature editing, but the overall recipe content is fairly small, and it lacks email capabilities.
Pros: Favorites and Editing
Cons: Mostly everything else
Result: Not worth the effort of installing on my phone.
The third app we will look at is the Drinks app. With this well put together app, you have access to more than 4500 high quality cocktail recipes. It includes a variety of old classics, as well as modern creations. It features favorites, and editing capabilities to edit any recipe in every possible way, as well as inputting your own. You can also add notes to recipies, search drinks by combinations of ingredients, and has email capabilities.
Pros: Large database, Editing, Emailing, Favorites, Notes, Search by single or multiple ingredients
Cons: Interface design is basic
Result: Definitely a winner. One of my go-to apps for cocktails, and other drinks since I can add my own recipes.
Next is the Cocktails App. Cocktails is the brainchild of the fine folks at Cocktaildb. With over 1400 recipes, Cocktails focus is mostly on classic or classically styled cocktails. You won’t find many college drinks in this baby. That can be a plus or minus depending who you are. Drinks are sorted by ingredients, flavors, base ingredient, more. A nice feature is multiple recipes. Cocktails features some cocktails evolution through time, including the date of the recipe as well as the book in which it was published. It also has a really nice look to it. One of my favorite features of this app, is the contemporary masters category of drinks. This feature includes recipes from todays preeminent mixologists, the first being 78 recipes from Jamie Boudreau.
Pros: Great interface, multiple recipes, email or twitter, contemporary masters, multiple searches.
Cons: No Editing, lack of some modern recipes.
Result: I like this app for sure. If editing or a super large database are important to you, it could be a deal breaker, but the contemporary masters program is a huge plus.
Last up is PocketCocktails. Unlike all the other apps, this one focuses on pictures. The database is relatively small (300+), but every recipe includes a full size, beautiful picture. You can scroll through the drinks alphabetically with thumbnail images, or search by name or ingredient. One beef I have is that even though it includes ingredients and instructions, they aren’t on the same page, so if I have never made the drink before (which is presumably why I need this app), I have to keep switching between pages.
Pros: Great pictures, good instructions
Cons: No email, editing, or favorites, small database
Result: Pictures are really great, and it probably took a lot of time, but there are too few recipes to make this a serious cocktail app. Also, having the ingredients and instructions on the same page would be a huge plus.
So there you have it. 5 Cocktail apps that may or may not be worth picking up. For myself I use the Cocktails and the Drinks. When and or if PocketCocktails gets a larger database and editing features I may consider adding it to the phone as well.