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Top 10 drinks apps

Thanks to the ubiquity of smart phones, people now have a constant source of virtually unlimited information at their fingertips. An obvious benefit for the drinks aficionado is the possibility of looking up new drinks, new bars, and new cocktail ideas in any situation. But, as is so often the case, there’s too much choice with hundreds of different apps out there all claiming to be the best. Some are free, others seemingly extortionately expensive, but who’s to say whether they’re possibly worth forking out for?
We’ve done the leg work for you, so here’s our Top 10 list of the best apps about (as usual, in no particular order).
  1. Monin Ultimate Cocktail

This is one of the few apps that actually work with your list of ingredients to provide a useful list of cocktails you can make given what’s in your bar. The cocktail list (which features 300 different drinks, broken down by occasion, seasons, ‘classic’ or simply alphabetically) is easy to navigate and intuitive to use.

While not as exhaustive a list as some of the other apps mentioned here, those featured on the Monin app all feature, unsurprisingly, use Monin syrups or sauces. This means that the list offers a wide selection of different drinks that the standard cocktail punter might not immediately think of.

Users enter all the drinks (spirits, juices, Monin syrups, garnishes…) into ‘My Bar’ and then they can go through the list and select the cocktails in the list they like. Then they can see what they can make from their bar out of their ‘favourites’ list. Neat.

There’s such a wide range of styles that pretty much everyone with a penchant for cocktails would find something they like.

All the data is downloaded straight onto the phone which means you don’t need to worry about a dodgey internet connection while you’re perusing the list.

Given this is a free app, it’s really worth the ten seconds it’ll take to download it.

2. Bar Chick

This great little app is based on the recently launched website, The aim of this one is to help you find exactly the right venue depending on various criteria. Bar-seekers can narrow down the search by ‘who’, what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’, finding the perfect venue for any event.

This means that you avoid the awkward moment of taking a friend to a highly-loved up bar, giving him/her the wrong idea, or ending up in a meat-market style club with your more sophisticated crowd. Always useful.

While currently focusing onLondonexclusively, there are plans to expand with surrogate BarChicks, or “BarChicklets” as they have been referred to.

Each bar has been personally visited by the indefatigable Bar Chick, so you can rely on good, honest and thorough reviews, and a pretty decent assessment of the place and its atmosphere.

It’s like having are really, really useful and well-informed friend offering hints and tips at the drop of a hat.

The app is intuitive, easy-to-use and aesthetically pleasing, not to mention useful!  Use this in conjunction with iSwig (see below) to find the perfect bar and the perfect drink at said bar.


Before we start talking about this app in detail, it’s important to mention that it is designed for aUSaudience, with the interactive elements of it only working when over the pond. That said, it still is interesting and useful enough even without the interactivity to merit a mention in this Top 10.

The app was commissioned by Diageo who wanted to increase their digital presence, and as a result features a lot of Diageo brands. Nevertheless it isn’t skewed exclusively to their selection (and even if it was, Diageo has a fairly extensive selection of brands to choose from).

It has cocktails added every other week which means the list doesn’t get too tired.  One of the other nice additions include its Mobile Sommelier option. This offers tasting notes and food pairing tips for a sizeable list of wines. Needless to say, it’s not exhaustive, and doesn’t compare with some of the specialised wine apps, but it’s a nice-to-have.

The iteractive element of it involves a ‘Buy’ feature that finds and lists nearby bars and restaurants if you fancy going out, and as an alternative, lists nearby shops that store required alcohols for different cocktails – a neat little add on; shame it doesn’t work over here. Cleverly linking it back to Diageo sales, there is an ‘Offers’ tab listing special deals on Diageo products that can be purchased online.

Overall, the app offers a decent list of cocktails which are thoughtfully categorised and easy to find.  In addition, there are some very useful and well thought-out additions, like the Drinks IQ tab, offering tips, facts and drink related health information – very responsible!

4. Miss Charming Cocktail Trivia

A change from the other apps here, this one provides light entertainment through cocktail/alcohol based trivia questions.

Miss Charming has been on the cocktail scene for some time now, starting straight after university. She has written 14 books, of which 12 are cocktail centric, so knows a thing or two about the subject!

With well over 5,000 questions in there, you’re unlikely to have the irritating problem of getting the same question cropping up shortly after having answered it once already.

The questions are multiple choice; the most iPhone/android friendly approach, and while it does unfortunately have a couple of tiresomely easy questions, others are interesting and even educational, so the overall result is pleasantly entertaining.

It’s aesthetically pleasing, easy to use and doesn’t crash (this is definitely a benefit considering the regularity with which other apps do), so this certainly gets our vote.

The app brags “prizes” for correctly answering questions – unfortunately they’re not real liquid prizes, so make sure you have a drink in arm’s reach as it’s thirsty work!

The full version’s not free though, costing a wopping great £0.59 – won’t exactly break the bank.

5.  iSwig

iSwig is basically a FourSquare for drinkers, allowing people to ‘check in’ wherever they are and with whatever they are drinking.

The main attractions of this app is the pure wealth of information it houses: a gargantuan hoard of stats about who is drinking what and where, so you can see trends emerging about which drinks are popular where and when: a fantastic – and as-it-happens  – insight into drinker’s tastes. You don’t need to log in to use it; you can just enter your location, nickname, and what you’re drinking.

What results is a map that also has a temporal aspect (you can look at which drinks were being drunk in any given area in anything between the last hour, and the last 12 months) showing you who’s drinking what where.

For the moment it’s mostly being used in the US, but slowly it’s making more of an impact inEurope.

It might not be as useful as BarChick in terms of finding bars as and when you need to, but it gives a fascinating insight into what people are drinking and where, and will be useful if you’re interested in finding out the most popular drink in a bar, or where people go for a Negroni, for example.

There are drawbacks, however, in that you can’t type in your own drink, instead you have to chose from a list. While it’s fairly exhaustive, it does have some omissions (my dram of Jura Superstition last night had to come under the upsettingly indiscriminative heading of ‘Scotch’.

This is more a ‘general interest’ app rather than a cocktail afficionado’s must have, but certainly different enough and easy enough to use to merit a place here.

6.  Drinks & Cocktail Pro

There are two versions of this app; lite and normal – the former saving you £0.59. The benefit of the full version is the full recipe list which boasts over 20,000 drinks. Those with the Lite version will have to do with only 7,000. Still, enough to keep you going for a good evening or two…

Other nice perks about this app is the unit converter – very useful if you’re not a whizz with Imperial measurements. It also deciphers those rather nebulous measures, such as ‘one cup’, or the downright obscure, like a ‘Gill’ (one of which is apparently equivalent to 11.83cl… so now you know).

Other useful additions to the app are the bartending info tab which includes everything from an extensive glassware list with pros/cons of each, to garnishes, to a BAC Calculator – the health and safety patrol will be pleased with that.

Finally there’s the bar locator, which initially had us rather excited. Unfortunately, this bit appears to still be in its infancy, as they only had 10 bars listed in London– the same number as in Luton,England, a town not famed for its glorious bar culture. It would seem that the programmers were restricted to only 10 bars per city, with Austin,Texas, also boasting only 10. For tourists in anew city, this isn’t a bad list to have, but we’re hoping the new updates will see this taking on more of BarChick’s style of information on bars.

Overall, this is a really useful app with a lot of very interesting and relevant pieces of information.

7.  Cocktail Deeva

And now for something completely different… This app is certainly a break from the norm as far as cocktail apps are concerned, describing itself as the “ultimate girl’s night out app”. The inspiration behind this app is a blend of “bad dates, great life stories and friends” – a heady mix!

The content is produced by the bartender/mixologist/author Dee Brun who wrote “Libations of Life: a girl’s guide to life one cocktail at a time” which has a very similar theme to the app. With concoctions such as “Your boyfriend called you his ex’s name Daiquiri”, there’s plenty to keep ladies entertained. Pleasingly, there is a good element of coherence between the cocktails and their names, rather than just thinking up amusing situational titles for arbitrary, unaffiliated drinks. For example the afore mentioned cocktail has a good pinch of salt in it as “this one’s got to sting a bit”, explains Brun.

As well as cocktails recipes, there is a wealth of relationship advice (which steers clear of the patronising agony aunt approach) and “Deevaisms” with interesting alcohol-themed facts and amusing anecdotes.

It’s not the hardest-hitting, most cutting edge encyclopaedia of cocktail creations, but it never intended to be that. It’s a light hearted, female-centric app that sets out to entertain through the medium of cocktails.

The app is produced by the same people who made Pocket Cocktail, so there’s the same high level of user-friendliness, but with a much more specifically defined target audience (see below).

8.  Pocket Cocktail

For 59p, this is a good investment for the budding mixologist. Its design manages to be artistic and quirky without sacrificing ease-of use and an intuitive layout. And, probably more importantly, the cocktails featured are interesting and popular. It’s not an extensive list, but it’s not trying to compile the world’s most thorough list of cocktails – just a good, solid starter for ten.

Another benefit for the cocktail beginner is the well explained glossary of some of the less obvious cocktail terms, such as a “jigger” or “naked” Martinis.

All the data is available off line which is convenient for quickly looking up a recipe without worrying about troublesome signal black spots or slow loading time.
In an effort to cover a few more alcoholic bases, the 1.2 version of the app includes a “Sommerlier” tool. In the same vein as the app’s cocktail list, this doesn’t try to be exhaustive, but rather acts as a general guide, suggesting types of wines that would match different foods, rather than providing Robert Parker-esque detail on each and every wine every created worthy of being tried. Rumour has it that the list was pulled together by Sommelier to the Queen of England (we think Gerard Basset?).

All in all, this is a good, reliable and highly user-friendly app – well worth the very small price for those looking for a good (portable) step up into the cocktail world.

9.  Drink Aware Unit Calculator

This one’s not quite as much fun as the others, but is interesting and well put together. There is a selection of calorie-counting apps out there, but most of them content themselves with simply stating how many calories are in a given drink – information which on its own is pretty meaningless. This app converts that into suitably guilt-inducing food equivalents (last night’s indulgence was apparently the equivalent of a couple of burgers, and will take 46 minutes of running to burn off, so I was informed). It’s not bad to keep things in perspective, and this app does that in a succinct and aesthetically pleasing manner.

  1. Grand Mix

This is Grand Marnier’s contribution to the app world. It’s not the most sophisticated and high-tech app, nor does it have the most exciting or extensive list of cocktails around. But, it’s beautifully made, easy to use, practical, and more importantly, fun.

There are two parts to the app; the Mixology game and the Grand Recipes. The game requires players to memorise the relevant ingredients shown on screen, then you need to catch the ice cubes in your shaker by tilting the phone from side to side – you need to get as many as possible in 30 seconds or so. Then your memory is tested as you need to select the ingredients included in that particular cocktail (there’s only ever a maximum of three). Then there are timed pouring and shaking stages before your total is totted up – 75 points gets you to the next level (which I haven’t managed yet – clearly because I’m far too busy working to properly give it a go…!). It’s tricky enough to keep you entertained for more than one go, but not so hard as to be disheartening. It’s no Angry Birds in terms of addictiveness and skill requirement, but it’s certainly an entertaining use of a couple of minutes or so of your time.

The second part of the app is the recipe store. You can choose what type of cocktail you want according to season and occasion. As I mentioned before – not as extensive a list or as thorough a categorisation process as on some apps, but it has enough cocktails listed to be of interest. Given the liqueur’s slightly niche audience, this is a great opportunity for the brand to demonstrate its versatility.

Overall, we think it’s a fun free app to have, with an interesting selection of cocktails displayed in a highly intuitive and functional way, and also a really good example of what a brand can do to – successfully – get itself into the app universe.


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