I bought an iPhone in 2007 and scoured the App Store when it launched in 2008, looking for good apps for craft beer. I soon learned that as my tastes changed, apps that would help me find good prices on whiskey, mixology helpers and general educational apps on wines.
To be honest, the pickings for tipples have traditionally been slim. Thirteen years and probably a hundred downloads later, I really only use a few mobile resources when it comes to booze. I’m not talking about, say, using MasterClass to learn the art of cocktail making — it’s great, but it’s not cheap and I mainly used my laptop — but simple-to-use, free-to-inexpensive smartphone and tablet apps that provide some help. Or just some good tasting notes.
So our drinks app list below is an eclectic mix: some recent, some classic and one that hasn’t even launched yet but could be the best use of smartphone technology yet (at least as it comes to drinking). We’ll hopefully add and update this list every few months, but for now, here’s a nice six-pack of apps that should cover some basics (pairing food and wine, finding craft beers), niche topics (Irish whiskey) and more expensive tastes (hey, what refrigerated temperature is your personal wine collection at this exact moment?)
For home bar newbies: Mix Lab
While affiliated with Bacardi, what we like about this cocktail app is that it asks questions that others don’t, such as “What doesn’t sound good?” (so you won’t get ingredients or spirits you don’t like), or being able to search for drinks by color, flavor, holidays or difficulty in preparation. (Free; iOS, Android)
For fine wine collectors: 1275
This relatively-new, Swiss-based wine concierge will first help you build an excellent wine collection. Then, their just-launched app allows you to track your expensive bottles at every stage of their existence, including time in transport and current storage temperature — it’ll even tell you when they’re ready to sip, or provide market data if you want to sell. (Free; iOS, Android)
For boozy meal pairings: Hello Vino
What wine goes well with veal marsala? And, uh, is there a $10 option? Important questions that this long-running wine recommendation app provides (it can also give you assistance based on seasons, taste preference or occasion). Only downside? It appears not to have been updated in a bit. (Free: iOS, Google)
For Irish whiskey lovers: Irish Whiskey App
Claiming to be the first mobile app devoted to the fastest-growing spirits category of the last decade, this whiskey newcomer — launched March 17th, natch — offers up background and tasting notes on hundreds of expressions, plus the ability to point at a bottle and get all the information you need. And you can also rate, review and track your own Irish spirits collection. (Free, iOS, Android)
For your health: U-Label
We’re cheating on this one a bit, but it’s important — if your phone has a camera and/or a QR app, you should be able to use the new labeling system being introduced in the E.U. on wines and spirits this fall, which will get you everything from nutritional information to info on a brand’s sustainability efforts. And maybe the U.S. will follow suit. (Available soon)
For beer lovers: Untappd
Much like Vivino for wine or Distiller for spirits, this is the app every beer drinker uses to discover, rate, photograph and catalog their beer choices. If you want to keep your drinking nearby, you can also use the app to discover local beers or look at beer menus of nearby brew halls.
Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.