I’ve spent some time and a number of bottles of spirits checking out what I have deemed the best bartending apps available today in the app store.
No. 1 Mixology iOS / Android Cost: Free
Mixology has one of the best drink databases, which makes it great for learning something new. You can add whatever ingredients you have laying around and it will design a cocktail around those items. There are a couple of cons to the app. One of them is, sometimes it suggests a spirit that you can only find at a major retail liquor store and not your local grocery store or liquor store. That’s disappointing if you don’t know how to substitute spirits. Second, sometimes it will tell you the improper glassware.
No. 2 Thirstie iOS / Android Cost: Free
Thirstie will allow you to place an order from one of the liquor stores in your area and have spirits delivered. You can call your local pizza joint, order your pizza and then you can request your favorite bottle of Vodka and have Thirstie deliver it. If all goes well you will have both in an hour or less. The service is currently available in New York and Los Angeles. My hope is that more people use this app and help extend it’s reach.
No. 3 Liquor Cabinet iOS / Android Not Available Cost: $.99
Liquor Cabinet allows you to enter everything you have on hand, such as Coconut Rum, Pickle Juice, and Sparkling Wine and will tell you what you can make with those ingredients. There is also a cool “If You Had” option, which tells you that you are one ingredient away from the most amazing cocktail of you life. It’s a pretty cool app and very useful.
No. 4 Bartender’s Choice iOS / Android Beta Cost: $2.99
My most expensive app and it’s not so much for the novice bartender. It takes what the other apps do but takes it to the next level. It teaches garnishing, techniques on shaking and stirring All around it teaches you to be a better bartender. For $2.99 you are able to learn from some of best the bartenders in the country and not only that, you are able to learn drinks from one of the most legendary places to get drinks – Milk and Honey in New York, that alone is totally worth the price. One major turnoff to this app is that we have not seen an update to it for a little over year. Regardless the bartending nerd inside of me loves this app.
No. 5 OnTheBar iOS / Android Not Available Cost: Free
This is my least favorite, but has some potential if people actually used it. OnTheBar allows bartenders to check themselves into whatever location that they are working that night, so that you can track them down. It will inform you of menu specials for each of the establishments as well as drink specials. Chances are though, if you have a favorite bartender you already know their shifts, location and specials. Like I said before if people actually used it, but Facebook, Twitter, Swarm and Instagram all have the same abilities and are more popular.
With all of the apps available at your fingertips that teach you drink recipes, style and technique, you have to remember as bartender you are the center of attention. You have to have personality, you have to have fun, you have to be able to keep the party going, none of these apps will teach you personality.
Learning to be a true bartender means a dedication to the art, it means that you can’t stop learning. Bartending is more then just collecting tips at the end of your shift.