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    App Smart

    Recipe for the home bartender: scroll, tap, and pour

    The 8,500+ Drink & Cocktail Recipes app is a simple but jam-packed cocktail-making app that favors a very no-frills approach to design and instructions, but still has lots of features.
    New York Times
    The 8,500+ Drink & Cocktail Recipes app is a simple but jam-packed cocktail-making app that favors a very no-frills approach to design and instructions, but still has lots of features.

    On a warm summer evening, there’s no better way to unwind than sipping a nice cold cocktail, made with the help of an app.

    8,500+ Drink & Cocktail Recipes

    Free for iOS and Android

    A great one to start with is 8,500+ Drink & Cocktail Recipes, which, as its name suggests, offers so many choices that you’re bound to find many you like.

    This app isn’t high-tech: It is basically a list of cocktails that you can browse or search. There are no fancy photos or detailed instructions. But the app lets you search for recipes by category or ingredients, which is especially helpful if you want to stick to spirits you already have on hand.


    You can also mark favorite recipes to make it easier to find them again later.

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    The instructions are clear and easy to follow. The app is free, although you may find the pop-up advertisements bothersome.

    Modern Classics of the Cocktail Renaissance

    $10 for iOS

    Modern Classics of the Cocktail Renaissance is more interesting, with a small but carefully curated list of drinks that have been popular in recent decades.

    The recipes are straightforward and include fascinating snippets of the drinks’ histories, as well as insights into some of their ingredients.

    You can ask for suggestions based on what ingredients you have available. And you can get advice on other ingredients you might want to buy to expand the range of cocktails you can make.


    The app looks elegant, feels professional, and could be a handy tool to impress guests at your next party. It contains about 100 recipes.

    Martin’s Index of Cocktails

    $10 for iOS

    If your tastes are more old-fashioned, Martin’s Index of Cocktails comes from the same app maker as Modern Classics but reaches farther back in history. This app contains more than 2,400 recipes dating as far back as the 1850s, offering interesting alternatives to the kinds of cocktails that are familiar today.

    Cocktails — Virtual Drink Mixer and Recipes

    $1 for iOS

    Cocktails — Virtual Drink Mixer and Recipes is distinguished by a clever trick: It uses the camera on your device to look at the glass you’ve chosen to drink from. You then select a cocktail recipe, and the app superimposes a guide on the glass showing how much of each ingredient you need to pour in. This could be a great option if you’re a cocktail measurements klutz.

    It also simplifies the process of making a batch of drinks to share, instead of just a single glass.

    The app features a database of common glass shapes and sizes (labeled, somewhat confusingly, in German, although the rest of the app is in English), but you can also enter the measurements of your own glassware and it will use this data to calculate the correct proportion of ingredients.

    Cocktails: Become a Real Bartender

    Free for iOS


    Cocktails: Become a Real Bartender is also worth checking out. This app has only about 400 recipes, but it is lavishly illustrated, well designed, and easy to navigate. It includes detailed step-by-step instructions for mixing cocktails, including visual hints about adding ice, filling glasses, and so on.

    The app also has a few unusual features, like letting you search for cocktails by their color or view instructions on an Apple Watch — a useful option if your hands are covered in, say, lemon juice.

    Cocktails Guru

    Free for Android

    Finally, Android users should try the Cocktails Guru app.

    Like Real Bartender, it focuses on images and detailed instructions. It, too, has a few extra features, like showing you cocktails that are similar to the one you’re looking at. Cocktails Guru even includes tips on mixing drinks the way professional bartenders do.

    If you create a profile in the app, you can add comments to existing recipes and even upload images of the cocktails you’ve mixed.

    Kit Eaton writes on technology for The New York Times. Follow him on Twitter @kiteaton.