iPhone Cocktail Directories

Happy iPhone Day, Mk. II! (A day late)
OK, I had planned for this post to go up yesterday, on the day Maggi and I, along with a certain number of others, picked up our new G3 iPhones. I thought the Apple Store employees did a great job, but the coming of the iPocalypse cost me the time I had intended to spend finishing this post. At any rate, here it is!
(Updated. I intend to update this post and bump it each time someone tells me about a new directory, rather than doing new posts.)

In honor of the refresh of the Greatest Device In Human History (your mileage may vary), I thought I’d do a quick review of the cocktail databases out there that are formatted for use with your iPhone. I’ve found four so far, of various quality. If you know of any others, please let me know!
Note: All of these are websites. The App Store does not appear to have a cocktail database. Yet.

We shall start with the iPhone version of Your Next Drink. This iPhone front end has an admirably sparse design, which suffers from a single, serious/minor flaw: The Search button is placed in the header, and I had completely written this review before I noticed it even had a search feature! The parent site, Your Next Drink (Droogle.ca) is pretty cool, and I had not seen it before. It looks to be a potential serious challenger for cocktaildb.com and I’ll look into it more later. But the iPhone site is a little underfeatured. You can get a listing of the top rated cocktails, in one massive alphabetical list, which isn’t very helpful. Or you can get a random cocktail recipe or random shot (this option is inexplicably recommended). There are no ads on the main page.
Bottom Line: Useful, with what appears to be a pretty substantial database behind it. The design is a little hinky, and not very visually interesting. On the upside, YND has three, count ‘em, three entries for the Pegu, so it gets a basic thumbs up around here, just for that!

Online Bartender, by Amir Meshkin is the iPhone front end from Shots on Us. First off, it uses some very spiffy iPhone-esque animation and design features. The menus animate as they load in, and the feel of navigation shows that Amir is probably an Apple guy. The search feature is right up top and works nicely. The browse function is what is most iPhone-like, but demonstrates that a slick GUI is not necessarily useful. You first choose a base spirit from the list on the front page, a list with some odd choices. I was unaware that Absolute Citron deserves equal billing with Vodka, Gin, Rum, and Scotch. Once you choose your first, you are than provided with a multi-page list (with lots of inexplicable duplications) of a second ingredient. After that, you are given a list of cocktails that you can make with these items. It all looks great, but works clumsily. There is a block of Google Ads at the bottom. They don’t appear unless you scroll down. The parent site, Shots On Us, uses the same browsing methodology.
Bottom Line: I want to reward a site that obviously puts so much into making their iPhone Safari front end look so much like a standalone app. But it just doesn’t work very well. The database does include a good Pegu recipe, so I want you to at least check it out!

Pocket Bar-Mobile is almost a demo of how to make a web app on the iPhone. The owner, Vishal Seth, is a programmer. He boght an iPhone and wanted to try out the developer technology. He must be a cocktailian, since he chose to make an iPhone-delivered database of drinks. The search function is clean and well placed. I don’t know where his database of drinks comes from, but it is pretty good sized. He gives you a list of most popular drinks, and most popular searches. A little fun can be had with the latter…. There are no ads, but he does give a paypal addy for donations.
Bottom Line: The database seems a bit thin and wonky. It includes drinks like the Red Headed Slut, but not the Aviation. Oh, and no Pegu! Get with the program, Vishal!
The last drinks reference is the Cocktails portion of iPhone Plaza, a suite of little web apps for the iPhone.
The app looks OK. There is an effort made to include some graphics elements to dress it up, and it has a bold appearance. There is no direct search function, which holds this one back. It does have a lot of options and specialty lists, such as low-calorie drinks, a random drink function, and uniquely on this list, a section on Wine. The drinks database seems reasonably extensive, but has some squirrelly entries (see what they have to say about the Corpse Reviver.) The bottom of every page has ads, and there is a donate button as well.
Bottom Line: There is lots of other stuff for the iPhone (of varying utility) here to use–lots of functions within the cocktail portion as well. As I said, there is extra effort to make things look graphically interesting, but did they have to make it look like a Windows ’95-era application? Oh, and no Pegu! (I did use the included submission form to hopefully correct this.)

One final note, thanks to the various fellow cocktail bloggers, whose superior photography skills I ripped off to make the graphic at the top of this post. A cookie to the first person who can tell me all the blogs involved!
UPDATE: Jimmy, over at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour, points out that he has updated his Daily Cocktail feature to look, feel, and work iPhoney. I usually ignore daily, random cocktail features, for two reasons. Personally, I am kind of a coward about new cocktails. I just don’t have the guts to take a breath and mix up something the Fates have decided would be good for me. And most daily or random drink functions simply pop out one recipe from a giant database, leaving a lot of variability in type, quality, source, etc. Jimmy’s does a bit more, by doing less. He apparently hand-picks his recipes, and I respect his judgement. (So should you.) Further, he adds a bit of actual content by providing a link to something interesting written out here on the web about each drink.
Bottom Line: It looks and works well on the iPhone, and unlike most of these sites, looks good on a regular browser too. Very limited content, but that content is extremely strong. No adds, only a link to Jimmy’s place. Oh, and no Pegu yet!

Here’s a list of the other posts here about Apple iPhone software:

About the author

Doug

I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.

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