Calling all cocktail lovers: How do you track where your favorite bartender is working? Or decide what cocktail to make using only the ingredients you already have?
Sometimes, the best way to do both is on-the-go—with your smartphone.
We’ve seen plenty of bartending apps come and go over the last few years. There are six apps, though, that are more than worth the time it takes to download them. No matter if you’re looking for a seriously impressive cocktail database curated by the country’s best bartenders or a resource to tell you when and where your favorite drink-makers are working any given evening, we’ve found a functional app to suit nearly every purpose—and at every price point.
Weigh in below: Are there other apps you can’t drink without?
This app has been around for a number of years, and it’s still as impressively simple and helpful as ever—especially considering it costs nothing. You can search Mixology’s database of more than 8,000 cocktail recipes by category or name, or by what liquors and mixers you have stocked in your home bar. Plus, the app offers tips on bartending techniques like infusing your own spirits, how to stir a drink properly and a search function to help you find the closest bars and liquor stores. If you upgrade for $0.99, you can even save your own recipes to the app.
Need a bottle of tequila, stat, but don’t have the time to buy it? That’s where Thirstie comes in. Input your delivery address to this brand-new app and wait for it to tell you which wine and liquor stores are closest. Then shop from the comfort of your own home. Delivery is free and supposedly takes less than an hour—far less time than we usually like to spend browsing! The app’s service is currently available in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, though we’re sure that if it catches on, that list will grow.
Got a bottle of rum, beet juice and apple cider in your pantry? Well, we can’t promise those three ingredients would make an enticing cocktail, but this app nonetheless helps keeps track of what you have in your cocktail cabinet—and it provides recipes that work with what you have on hand. If you don’t have quite what you need for a drink you’re craving, Liquor Cabinet also tells you what recipes are just one ingredient away. So close…
If you’re no longer a novice bartender and are looking for a top-notch library of cocktail recipes, check out this modestly-priced option from Sam Ross of legendary New York bar Milk and Honey. You can sort recipes by base spirit, style of cocktail or “sensation.” It even has a few extra features, such as tips on garnishing and drink preparation. The app will help you hone your skills and put all you need to know about mixology at your cocktail-hungry fingertips.
Have favorite bartenders? Know exactly where they are tending bar when you’re out on the town, thanks to this handy app. Bartenders check themselves in, rather than relying on word of mouth or other users, and can also post drink specials, menus and other pertinent info. Onthebar is easy to use, and you can even opt-in for email notifications if there’s a bartender you’ve got to drink with.
Trust us: This professional-grade app is worth the extra cost. It comes from the proprietors of PDT and Little Branch, two of NYC’s most famous speakeasies—Joseph Schwartz and Liquor.com advisory board member Jim Meehan—and is a great tool for those who want to get into more serious cocktailing. The app features video tutorials from Meehan and Schwartz, more than 200 cocktail recipes and tips for making your home bar rival those of the pros.