Shake Things Up With Food & Wine Cocktails

Your friends are coming over for cocktails and trying to decide what to serve is completely overwhelming. After finally building up the nerve to try out that hip speakeasy, you don’t recognize half the jargon on the drinks menu. Margaritas every Friday night are getting boring, and you want to try something new. The iPhone app, Food & Wine Cocktails is just what you need to shake things up.

Food & Wine Magazine and Belvedere Vodka have come together to create a sleek, sexy cocktail app designed to inspire your creativity and refine your technique in the area of home bartending. This free app contains 350 drinks, along with 25 Bar Snacks from the pages of Food & Wine Magazine, tips on setting up your home bar, and a dictionary of spirits.

Keep reading to find out why Food & Wine Cocktails stands above the crowd of cocktail apps.

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Getting Started

Open the app and you’ll find the home screen is a collection of tiles which function as a bird’s eye view of what Food & Wine Cocktails offers. The chic, punchy graphics and smart design of this home page are superior to other apps that open to a search screen or a long list of cocktails to scroll through. Tap on a tile to begin an immersive journey into the app.

The Home screen to the left. Tap on Drinks By Spirit to browse cocktails, right.

The Home screen to the left. Tap on Drinks By Spirit to browse cocktails, right.

The designers of Food & Wine Cocktails have created an experience that truly utilizes the mobile interface. Tap on the Drinks By Spirit tile and scroll through a list of options, from Brandy to Tequila & Mezcal to Wine and Beer. Select a spirit and the next screen is a slide show. Swiping from right to left takes you through a selection of magazine-quality photos representing each cocktail. If you prefer to scroll quickly through an alphabetized list, adjust your view by tapping on the gray lined box in the top right corner.

Browse the Drinks Tequila & Mezcal by swiping right or left through the slideshow, or change the view to a scrollable list.

Browse the Drinks Tequila & Mezcal by swiping right or left through the slideshow, or change the view to a scrollable list.

You can wander Drinks By Type, which classifies cocktails as Classic, Updated or Creative. If you’re in the mood for a tried and true Mojito, take the Classic route. For more involved recipes like the Agricole-Guava Cooler, try Creative. Each subject is a rabbit hole, and you’ll enjoy getting lost in the world of spirits.

Added Value

Food & Wine Cocktails is more than a collection of drink recipes, the app also offers Cocktail Tips, Drink Friendly Food and a list of Top Bars from around the globe. The Cocktail Tips section uses colorful graphics to illustrate essential bar tools and glassware. You’ll find step-by-step instructions on Cocktail Techniques, including Making a Spiral-cut Twist and Perfect Ice Cubes. Scan through the Spirits Lexicon and discover what Bonded Whiskey is and the role of Overproof Rum in mixology (high-octane spirit for flaming drinks). Home Bartending Tips for a handful of best practices from the pros. Do you know to “always refrigerate vermouth?” Now you do, thanks to Food & Wine Cocktails.

Scroll through Cocktail Tips, left. Colorful graphics illustrate essential bar tools and glassware, right.

Scroll through Cocktail Tips, left. Colorful graphics illustrate essential bar tools and glassware, right.

You’re going to need a salty snack to go with that cocktail, and Food & Wine provides a collection of 25 Bar Snacks to make at home found by tapping on the Drink Friendly Food tile on the Home screen. The beauty of these recipes is that they are culled from Food & Wine Magazine, which means gorgeous photos, reliable recipes and simple yet sophisticated flavors. Would you have thought to pair Fried Peppers and Prosciutto with a Holland Razor Blade? Nope, but thanks to Food & Wine Cocktails, you’ve just impressed all the foodies at the party.

The app includes 25 Bar Snack recipes. Tap on the photo to enlarge.

The app includes 25 Bar Snack recipes. Tap on the photo to enlarge.

Food & Wine Magazine is known for their “Best” lists, and their Cocktail app wouldn’t be complete without a self-proclaimed, “definitive listing of America’s top 100 bars and lounges.” Scroll through the list, organized alphabetically by city, or change to a map view. Tap the bar name and find its address, contact information and a short description on what makes it special. It’s a good resource to have while traveling or even getting to know what undiscovered gems can be found in your own city. You have to wonder, though, is the list a carefully curated selection of fantastic bars, or is it an advertisement in disguise?

Shake It Up

Cocktails are fun, and this app embraces this spirit with its Shake To Search function. Go to the Search screen and filter results by typing a search query into the text box, and/or tapping to select a spirit, style or quantity. Give the phone a good shake like you would a Boston Shaker, and the screen displays your search results.

Select criteria for your search. I chose flame to see how many drinks get set on fire. Shake the phone and search results appear, pictured right.

Select criteria for your search. I chose flame to see how many drinks get set on fire. Shake the phone and search results appear, pictured right.

Let’s Get Mixing

Tap on your chosen beverage and arrive on a single screen with a professional photograph of the cocktail, ingredients list, and instructions. If the ingredients list calls for an infusion, like Simple Syrup, the words are hyper-linked and one tap takes you to instructions for making it. Tap on the photo to enlarge the cocktail and stare in awe at its beauty. The Snack button reveals a complimentary pairing from the collection of Drink Friendly Food recipes. Share any cocktail or bar snack recipe with friends via Facebook, Twitter, SMS, or E-Mail by tapping the + Share button. Select the star in the top right corner to favorite a Drink, Bar Snack or Cocktail Tip. All your favorites are kept in one place, the My Favorites tile, located on the Home screen.

Tap on a cocktail for ingredients and instructions. Select the Snack button for a recipe pairing or + Share to pass the drink recipe on to friends.

Tap on a cocktail for ingredients and instructions. Select the Snack button for a recipe pairing or + Share to pass the drink recipe on to friends.

Conclusion

Food & Wine Cocktails is not the ultimate cocktail reference app. Sure, it’s got more drinks in the database than many other apps, but the reason it’s better than others is the “aha” factor. The app is more about inspiration than being a library resource. Magazine-quality photos and sharp graphic design make it easy to be inspired by new flavors or techniques while swiping through slide shows. Cocktail Tips actually provide information from mixologists that you probably didn’t already know. Pairing a Bar Snack recipe with each drink inspires new flavor combinations, elevating the cocktail experience.

Occasionally you’ll come across a drink that doesn’t have a photograph, and most pages display a Belvedere Vodka ad at the top of the screen, but the app is quick and works well overall. It would be nice to include a little backstory with the cocktail recipes, but they are right to keep the information short and sweet.

Food & Wine Cocktails is a fun, easy to use app that will inspire you to try new drink recipes and techniques at home.


Summary

Food & Wine Magazine and Belvedere Vodka have come together to create a sleek, sexy cocktail app designed to inspire your creativity and refine your technique in the area of home bartending.

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