Search Results For -iphone

iPhone App Review: Tiki+
The Corporate World Starts Getting In On iPhone Drink Apps
iPhone Cocktail App: Cocktails+ is Free!
iPhone App: Cocktails Made Easy
iPhone App: Flip ‘N Drink
iPhone Cocktail Apps Contest!

iPhone App Review: Tiki+

I haven’t done an iPhone app review in a while, but this one is just made for Tiki Month. Tiki+: Exotic Drinks & Tiki Cocktails is a drink reference app that provides a collection of the best classic Tiki drinks from the Trader, the Beachcomber, and others. A product of teamwork between Beachbum Berry and Scorpiostech, Tiki+ is based on the same engine as Cocktails+, with a few modifications.
First, where Cocktails+ is a general reference, Tiki+ is not only genre-specific, but it is also curated more rigorously in the quality of the recipes therein. Cocktails+ avoids the real clunkers you find cluttering the 6,000 recipe apps, but it is still more variable in how good the drinks it offers are. TIki+ has only 150 recipes, with some notably bad drinks like the Pina Colada (tropical, but not TIki) conspicuous in their absence.

Tiki+ offers most of the features that have become de riguer in cocktail apps, and does them well. The browse drink screen has lots of useful information, with the drink name, most ingredients, and an icon which tells you in what manner it is served (frapped, shaken, rocks, hot etc.)

The individual recipe pages are well designed as well, with all basic info on a single, scrollable page. The tiki-themed backgrounds are fun and somehow manage to not make the pages unreadable. Each ingredient is hyper-linked to an informative page describing it. The source is given for each drink, as well as any relevant historical or conversational information. Finally, there is a small but lovely picture of the drink itself at the bottom of the page. The controls at the bottom are very limited, just the essential Favorites button, and a sharing button by which you can Tweet, Facebook, or email your find to the world.

There is also a host of good, concise information on the app, from Tiki history, to technique, to links to some good web locations to further your Tiki journey.

There are a few nigglling faults I find with in TIki+. You cannot page through the recipes without returning to the browse page. I’d like full-screen versions of the drink pictures. While browsing by base ingredient is nice, rum is so pervasive a spirit in Tiki drinks that 120 out of 150 drinks show on that page. To be more helpful, it should be broken down further by type of rum. Finally, while the apps page on iTunes shows a recipe with metric and one with imperial measures, the app itself has only imperial. (The Zombie recipe shown above is in ounces on my phone) I’m guessing this is localized by the country of your app store. If there is a preferences panel in the app that lets you change measures, I haven’t found it. And it should be there. (In the very first comment, Subfuture schools me. The preferences panel is in the global setting app, rather than inside Tiki+ itself. You can set your phone to give you recipes in ounces, cl, ml, or gills) The biggest problem with the app is that the developer, Ian Baird, has gotten a job with some rinky-dink outfit called Pear, or Mango, or Apple or something…. Any further updates or development (as with Cocktails+) will thus have to wait for a new developer. Fortunately, from my experience, the app is rock-solid as is, so don’t worry much about buying orphan-ware. Finally, $3.99 is on the high-end of cocktail apps pricing (equaling the superlative Flip ‘n Drink). But when people are shelling out two bucks for 50 Ultimate Lesbian Cocktails, it doesn’t really sound that bad.
I rate Tiki+ a solid buy, especially during Tiki Month, so pick it up and let it help you follow me through the tropical warmth of February!

The Corporate World Starts Getting In On iPhone Drink Apps

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.
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iPhone Cocktail App: Cocktails+ is Free!

For a limited time only.
Granddaddy of iPhone local apps, Cocktails+ (reviewed here) has a new update with a post to Facebook feature.
They also, through April 12, 2009 have lowered the price to $0.00!
Get this excellent app for free while you still can!

iPhone App: Cocktails Made Easy

While I’m on my iPhone kick, I have one more cocktail app that deserves a featured mention, Cocktails Made Easy. It has nestled in my iPhone beside Flip ‘N Drink and 101 Cocktails. Together they make up the three essential cocktail apps for me. Each app performs a slightly different function, and each is the top of the field in their respective specialty. Flip ‘N Drink is the current overall best large drink database. (My review of it is here.) And 101 Cocktails is a very useful swift access to recipes for the most select group of drinks that there are to be made. (My review of it is here.) Flip ‘N Drink will give you a recipe for most drinks worth making. 101 Cocktails will give you a recipe for the drinks most worth making. Cocktails Made Easy will give you recipes for drinks you can make… right now. (My review of it is what you are reading.) Each of these apps has its own set of features, including the killer one that defines it as best in its bunch. I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you about my about-to-end contest asking readers for the best currently unavailable feature they’d like to see in an iPhone cocktail app. Click over and put in your two cents!
The function which defines Cocktails made easy is located on the following page within the app, the Cabinet:
This little picture of an idealized bar shelf (my three cabinets are a bit more crowded, for instance) shows 14 important spirits, as well as a somewhat out of place button for non-alcoholic drinks. It’s function is somewhat different from the others. The idea is to highlight each ingredient that your bar currently sports. The app then filters the main database, which currently sports 530 cocktails, into a second data set (My Bar) which shows only those drinks you could make with the spirits you have on hand. It’s simple, elegant, and attractive.
The app has some limitations, like all do, but it is very good at what it does.
The 530 drinks in the database are a good sampling, but like any compromise on size it will be big enough to make going slow for some, and will omit drinks important to others. For instance, there is no Pegu in this app!

Wow! No Pegu, and you
still keep it on your phone?

It’s a serious functional limitation, I agree.
The bigger issue with the Cabinet is this: Any cocktailian, especially a serious cocktailian, will have nearly every spirit on the shelf in stock. If you give the app your true inventory, you’ll just have an app with a far smaller database than Flip ‘N Drink. The casual, entry level, or very focused drinker will not have this problem. This is less of a problem than I make out, however. Changing what’s in the Cabinet is easy. Just select only the ingredients that interest you at the time, and you’ll get a manageable, useful list of things to give a go. The non-alcoholic button on the cabinet should only be highlighted by itself, as it does not identify the fact that you have non-alcoholic ingredients available. If you list non-alcoholic in your cabinet, it just adds the 27 virgin cocktails to your custom data set. Some kind of toggle function with this button would be helpful.
What would be more helpful is a second cabinet (fridge?) page detailing the big daddies of non-spiritous ingredients. There is a gorgeous listing of these ingredients already in the app, but they are non-interactive pages in the documentation tab. I hope that this means Fizz, the developer, had this in mind, and just ran out of time or money to get it in the first version. Time will tell. For the serious drink mixer, filtering by whether you have fresh grapefruit juice, or cinnamon syrup, or egg whites on hand would be more valuable than knowing if you have vodka, gin, whiskey, or rum.
The photos in Cocktails Made Easy are gorgeous (as seems to be becoming the norm with the better apps), but a little sterile. There must be a vast armada of cocktail photographers out there all of a sudden to be producing so many drink pix.
The rest of the information on each drink’s page is well laid-out and has some neat functionality. There is an email button that lets you send a text version of the recipe. The ingredient list has a checkbox option I use to keep track of which ingredients I’ve added as I go. Anytime you make a drink with several fruits to squeeze, and your child is tapping your hip demanding a Shirley Temple, you run the risk of adding the gin twice and ending the evening early! There is also a comments field with text that is user editable. This, to put it bluntly, rocks.
There are two other quibbles I have with this nifty little app. The search is not a live search, not does the number of drinks in the narrowed list change as you add or remove ingredients from your Cabinet. This slows down use. And cocktails starting with the word The are alphabetized as starting with T. This makes my English Major teeth itch uncontrollably.
All in all, Cocktails Made Easy is a very useful drink app. If you are only going to buy one app, you should consider it. Depending on what you want to do, it may well be your choice. If you are going to buy several to play with, it should definitely be part of your final list.

Update: Welcome Village Voice readers! While you are here, please take a look around at my other offerings, or you can check out my other iPhone cocktail posts below.

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

iPhone App: Flip ‘N Drink

Well it’s iPhone-a-palooza week hereabouts, I guess. First, I reviewed Jimmy Patrick’s 101 Cocktails, then I began my contest to discover the next Killer Feature for iPhone cocktail apps. Now I’m going to go over Gary and Mardee Regan’s Flip ‘N Drink. (Web page on Ardent Spirits here)
Flip ‘N Drink is the latest in the starting-to-be-crowded field of general cocktail reference apps for the iPhone. And at $3.99 US (not metric Euros), it’s the second most expensive one I’ve found, after the mighty and venerable Cocktails+. Is it worth it? That of course depends on you, but there a couple of reasons to think it is.
The first question to always ask concerning any reference app, especially as relates to cocktails, is about the database. There are zillions of drinks out there, most of them bad. Lots of bad drinks clutter up the reference and make it hard to use. Flip ‘N Drink’s database is large, but edited with care to cull out the crap. I doubt there is a recipe for the Pink Panty Pulldown in there! (OK, I just checked. Nope. Alas, they did cave and include an Appletini. Don’t they know it’s dead?) There will be plenty of recipes in there that you won’t like. Yeah you, the guy in the suit. And you won’t like a bunch either, lady. But the one’s you guys hate won’t likely be the same. The point is that the stupid drinks are absent, the good drinks have very good recipes for them. It’s a good database.

Pretty assertive there, Reviewer Boy.
Have you read all those recipes, or something?

Or something. Here’s the other thing about the database: Its pedigree. Did I mention it comes from Gary and Mardee Regan? They’ve ensured you get all the classic oeuvre. And they collect tons of originals from some of the world’s best master bartenders, plus Junior Merino!
So the database is both large and good. If you are looking for a full reference app, you’ll likely have a hard time finding a better one.
Like many apps, Flip ‘N Drink has a photograph of each cocktail, and the photography is also top notch. I am continuously amazed at the quality of photography to be found in some iPhone apps that sell for just a couple of bucks. I particularly like these photos though. They are gorgeous, and if you remember this blog’s old look, or you’ve seen my business’s website, you know I’m a sucker for black backgrounds.
The last major consideration for an app like this is the interface. Flip ‘N Drink’s is pretty well thought out and executed. It does have some hiccups that need to be dealt with in the first update, however. The first view, labeled Flip ‘N is just a photo of each drink. You can flick left and right to page through them all in alphabetical order, or tap to flip the picture, revealing the ingredients and instructions, as well as two buttons that I’ll get to below. Flicking through the pics is a gorgeous experience, but in a database this size, it’s not very functional.
The second tab is search, which lets you search by name or ingredients. The search is a live search, which I love. This means that the list of results updates with each key you type, giving a continuously narrowing result. But you have to actively dismiss the text entry box to do anything with the results in some instances. When you do choose a drink, it goes to the flipped page for that drink, with info and feature buttons. This is great, but you can’t then flip the picture back to the plain picture. Nor can you start flicking through the alphabetical database from there! Please fix this, guys! This bug/design flaw does nothing to diminish the usefulness of the app, just the fun of using it and the value from those lovely pictures. It should be an easy fix, so I doubt it will be long off. The next tab is My Bar, which is nothing more than a page listing the cocktails you have marked as favorites. The last tab is Info, which is a simple, concise instructions page that is a very nice feature in and of itself.
The last thing to look at in iPhone apps is the special features it may have. As I mentioned at the top, I’m running a contest this month to see who can suggest the next cool thing to add to a cocktail app in the future. Pay attention, developers!
Flip ‘N Drink has two, cool, special features that are accessed from the flip page of each drink, as I alluded to before. One button sends you to another drink that you might like if you like the drink that’s featured here. This is neat, though I can think of one possible enhancement I won’t mention here yet, to keep someone from using it as a contest entry. The second feature is the really cool one though, and it must have taken forever to compile. It’s found through this button:
Cocktailian Conversations are unique little bits of trivia or history that relate back to the drink, and there is something for each and every drink in the database. Now, that’s fun there, I don’t care who you are. And if you use truthful nuggets that way I do in a bar conversation, you might as well relabel it the “Blarney Button”, or “Cliff Clavin Speaks”.
So that’s Flip ‘N Drink. To come full circle, the $3.99 price tag is just above the line where I suspect most people start to hesitate before buying an iPhone app. There are apps that do the same thing for free. Is Flip ‘N Drink worth it? I think so. The database looks to be, and has reason to be, as good as it gets. The app looks lovely. The interface will be super with just a few, easy updates. (Like how I’m announcing what you’ll be doing for you, guys?) It has cool extra features, one of which is original and awesome. If any app is going to be worth four bucks to you, I suspect this one is it.

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

iPhone Cocktail Apps Contest!

Over the last few months, I’ve been reviewing a lot of iPhone cocktail apps, and will hit more as time goes by and I need some easy traffic have the opportunity to do so. The app market has evolved from the first, web-based apps that are usually just iPhone formatted front-ends, to some sophisticated onboard apps. Some local apps access the web for their database, while others keep it on the phone. Some focus on huge databases, while others, like Jimmy Patrick’s 101 Cocktails that I reviewed yesterday, focus on doing just one (hundred and one) things really well.
And there are a variety of little features in these apps: Random cocktail selection, shaker noises, favorite lists, and others.
Three things generally set apart iPhone apps from one another:

  • Recipe numbers and quality.
  • Photography or illustrations.
  • Those little funky features.

There’s a fourth quality determinant, whether the app includes a Pegu recipe, but we’ll pretend I’m suppressing my obsession for the moment….
My focus in this post is on those extra features. As I said, there are a bunch of them out there, but I’m sure that there is bunch more to be considered.
Let’s have a contest, shall we? In the comments, make your best suggestion for a new feature you haven’t seen in an iPhone cocktail app, but would like to. The winner will receive a package of fabulous prizes. What prizes? Three bottles of my homemade cocktail ingredients: falernum, orgeat, and Blueberry syrup. And also a free copy of Jimmy Patrick’s 101 Cocktails app for your iPhone! (iPhone not included.)
Here are the rules:
Make as many suggestions as you like, but one per comment, please.
If you see a suggestion from someone else that has already been used by a current app, please let us know which app has that feature!
If more than one person submits generally the same idea, I’ll go with the first submitter, unless another makes a significant improvement.
In other words, I am the sole judge, and if I get arbitrary, then that’s just the way it’s going to be.
21 or older please!
Deadline for submissions will be April 1, 2009.

Let me hear from you!

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

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