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Cocktail Apps Put to the Test: "Cocktails for Mac"

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Mar 16, 2011 6:20PM

2011_2_cocktail_app.jpgLast month we reported on the debut of a cocktail app optimized to run on Mac computers. As far as we can tell, the "Cocktails for Mac" program ($4.99) remains the first and only one of its kind. At the time, it was still too new to review; we've been messing around with CfM long enough now to rate it a resounding "meh."

Why the lukewarmest of reviews, you ask? Let's begin with some good news. It does feature refreshingly capable functionality for a cocktail app; whereas several of the drink apps for the iPad we've explored have seemed, uh, sloppy, CfM's interface is clear and intuitive. Plus, its Bartending Basics section is chock full of illustrated step-by-steps and technical information, most of it useful. You can even search recipes by ingredient - a very helpful tool when you're staring at your haphazard collection of bottles, wondering what could be made of them.

Unfortunately, those benefits are outweighed by CfM's many drawbacks. Primarily, apps like this live or die by their database of recipes, and (at the risk of sounding snooty) this one seems woefully, almost comically, out of sync with prevailing tastes. Inexplicably, the Miami Beach Iced Tea, Fuzzy Navel and Blue Hawaiian fall in the "Classic Cocktails" category. The creamy and frozen cocktails and shooters carry on for pages (Fluglebinder, anyone? How 'bout a frozen Banana Sandwich?). Which is not to say there isn't the rare good cocktail sprinkled among the bunch; they just happen to be buried among deathly outdated drinks. For goodness' sake, rye isn't even mentioned in CfM's section on whiskeys. Four hundred and fifty-plus recipes, which CfM boasts having, seems useful, but we'd much prefer quality over quantity.

What may redeem this app from the desktop trash can is the fact that it could be improved. The skeleton of a handy resource is there - it's just a matter of updating the database with more, better cocktail recipes. And it appears as though the developer is already doing so. Click on the button for "New" cocktails, and you'll see recipes for a Gimlet, Mint Julep, Negroni, Pegu and Pisco Sour. You know, right next to a recipe for the Cement Mixer. Remember that gem?

We'll continue to review the growing number of digital bartending resources out there. Next up, a comparison of cocktail apps for the iPad. In the meantime, we leave you with the Cement Mixer. You're welcome.

Cement Mixer

3/4 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
3/4 ounce lime juice

Pour Baileys into a shot glass. Slowly pour the lime juice on top of the Baileys. The top of the drink will curdle from the mixture of the two ingredients.