A little while ago, I got my first ever direct communication from one of the bigger brands in booze, Absolut. They have entered into the crowded field of iPhone drink apps with a very clever app called Drinkspiration, the
first branded cocktail app on the market.
Drinkspiration is first off a cocktail reference app, like many I have reviewed here. It also has a variety of very cool and/or interesting subfeatures for choosing and oganizing the drinks that make it pretty unique to the market. It even has a variety of features to satisfy the social media addict in you.
First, I want to address the interface of Drinkspiration, which is arrestingly beautiful and unlike any other drink app I’ve personally run across. The main metaphor is a fan or wheel of cards, which you flick through to browse. The graphics are, as I said, lovely and interesting, and the interface, once it loads, is extremely smooth. (This app is slow to load, at least on my 3G iPhone.)
There are 19 main
cards in the app. I’ll discuss a few in detail below, but they run the gamut from the ordinary, to the innovative, to the silly but fun. Each main card, when touched, will return another deck of cards, numbering from about four to eight, each detailing a specific drink (or class of drinks, which lead to a deeper set of cards). As you wheel around the deck, you may touch the card to get a detailed recipe, or if you decide drink one, you may touch the
I’ll Have One button. (More on this social media feature in a moment.)
There are lots of top level ways to organize drinks, from classic cocktails, and Surprise Me (neither of which is groundbreaking), to drinks by spirit, color, or flavor (sweet, sour, bitter, fruity, etc.). There are also selections of drinks organized by some other segments. You can choose the
vibe of the bar you are in, and get some suggestions. Or you can hold your iPhone up in the air and let is measure how loud it is where you are, and suggest drinks appropriate to that volume!
There are drinks that are quick to make, drinks that are non-alcoholic, drinks for your weather (if this were automatic it would be awesome, but you have to select the weather yourself), and drinks that are popular right this minute (social media again).
The database of available drinks is pretty extensive. but it does not include the Pegu, so I have to ding it for that. Write Absolut, and probably your MP or congressman, to complain… now! The drinks are more tailored for a younger, less cocktailsnob-like crowd, but there are still plenty of cocktailian favs, like the Aviation.
There is a card that suggests drinks based on your GPS location, but this feature disappoints me a bit. If you not in one of a few
major cities (New York, London, Stockholm, etc.) the app will use the nearest one, up to a point. Beyond that range, you get a drink for the entire nation you are in. Those of us in Flyover Country in the US tend to get a little irritated when city folk assume we have the same culture in Columbus, OH as in Columbus, GA. Or the same in Indianapolis as in Waco. Hopefully, they’ll bust out their anthropological big boy pants and delve into middle America soon! And I’m guessing the same goes for central France, etc. as well. I didn’t ask about other large nations.
There are also, of course, drinks by your favorite flavor of Absolut Vodka as well. But I was very pleasantly surprised at how ecumenical this app is. I expected it to be all about the vodka, but for the most part it plays a very level field with the cocktails it recommends.
Now, the other fascinating element of this app is its social media element. You can choose to sign up for an account with Absolut, which will transmit to them every time you hit that
I’ll Have One button. If you go to the website, or hit the WORLD button on the iPhone app, you can see a live list of what drinks people are hitting that button for, worldwide. You can also set up your phone to automatically post to your FaceBook or Twitter accounts as well. I personally can’t imagine doing this, but I’m betting for a big portion of the populace, this is just the cat’s ass. Watching the live list is kind neat though.
A final feature in this app is a set of widgets that you can put on your blog or website, which updates your own drinking activities. I’ve embedded all three below. I’ll bury them beneath the fold, since they can take a bit to load. If you want to play with them in your own sidebar, I’d advise only using one.
Over all, Drinkspiration is a spiffy drink app. It is beautiful, it is well written, and it is a gas to play around with.
Oh yeah, and it’s free. Download it and give it a run!