iOS, Android | Free
Wine culture is, undoubtedly, quite the strange beast for the uninitiated. Mastering the lingo, understanding what differentiates the good from the bad, and knowing how to successfully pair a bottle with a meal would be enough to drive most of us to drink. Thankfully Hello Vino is here to help. Relying on a fairly massive database, the app provides you with plenty of recommendations (depending on what your tastes are, or what you’re going to be eating), input from several sommeliers, and a wine tracker to remember that fantastic bottle you had the other night. Additionally, the app provides you with a collection of short and snappy audio reviews. Not much for wine prevention, the app prefers using plain speak to communicate why wine is something anyone can appreciate.
Wine Enthusiast Guide
BlackBerry, iOS | $3.99
Turning to the pros for wine advice has never been a bad idea. Who else, besides those who spend their lives with noses firmly stuck on the inside of a glass, can provide us with the best recommendations? The Wine Enthusiast Guide seems to agree with that, as it offers over 100,000 reviews taken straight from the archives of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. That aside, the app’s rating guide allows you to make informed decisions about what bottle to buy, while the section dedicated to wine-related definitions covers more than 1,400 terms. Add to that a series of illustrated tutorials, and you can see why this app could turn just about anyone into an enthusiast.
iOS | Free
For the wine aficionado who’s interested in creating their own reviews and collecting notes and observations on the bottles that grace their table, the Wine Notes app is a good place to start. After a glass or two, use it to formulate a flavour profile from a range of pre-selected tastes such as cherry and clove, take a snap shot of the label, and share your thoughts on the product. Once you’ve amassed a few, feel free to post the reviews on Facebook and Twitter, build a wish list for the bottles you’re dying to try, and keep track of your personal stash of bottles.
Android, iOS | Free
There are beer drinkers, and then there are beer drinkers – the type who love everything from the hoppiest IPA to the richest stout. If you fall into the latter category, consider BrewGene – an app designed to help you get the most out of your pint. It works in part by recommending new brews based on your existing taste preferences, thereby giving you plenty of reasons to go on another pub-crawl. Likewise, its database contains info on more than 40,000 beers, and it allows you to rate them as you go (your ratings will then help determine future recommendations). The app’s “Watch List” also lets you keep track of the beers you’ve been meaning to try, and to let your buddies know where you’re at, check in to Foursquare from your local watering hole.
Android, iOS | Free
Mixing together the fine art of beer drinking with a social network, Untappd is as much about enjoying your favourite pint as it is about discovering what other people are into. To get started, use it to check in to your bar or pub of choice. Once you’re settled, the app will make sudsy recommendations based on your taste preferences, and can even locate nearby bars that may have undiscovered gems that you’ve been looking for. If your friends are part of the network, you can see what they’re drinking, arrange to meet up, or simply share ratings, beer reviews and pics with everyone. If you’re super committed, stay active to earn badges. It’s pretty much the best excuse ever to order that next pint (and the one after that too).
iOS, Android | $1.99
If you’ve ever ordered that elaborate, sugary blue cocktail with the miniature parasol in the coconut, but wondered exactly how many calories or carbs you’re ingesting along with it, this app is full of valuable information for you. Listing the nutritional basics for everything from liquor to cocktails, wine, liquor and mixers, DrinkFit is a good way to stay on top of your calorie counting. More than 1,600 drinks are searchable in the app’s database, and are labeled in terms of factors such as carbs, protein, sugar and fat. That asia, the app also lists healthy drink choices, and the “My Night” component allows you to keep track of all your drinks over the course of an evening.
iOS, Android | Free
Whether you’re new to the cocktail, or have a poster of the eponymous film hanging in your private bar, having a reference app on-hand is always useful. Central to this app is its list of recipes (new ones are constantly being added to the pre-existing collection that totals in the hundreds), which are accompanied by instructions as helpful images. If you’re feeling fancy-free, give your phone a shake to conjure up a random recipe, search depending on what ingredients you have on-hand, or even try out the app’s sommelier for drink and food pairings.
Windows Phone | Free
As with just about everything else, the classics will never go out of style. One could argue that especially rings true of cocktails, so if you’re not interested in wading through countless new recipes that just don’t do it for you like a dry martini or a gin fizz does, this app is for you. Keeping things old-school, 111 Cocktails gives you info on how to successfully make those time-tested refreshments, along with photographs for each, as well as any relevant notes. If you have something specific in mind, the app also allows you to search based on ingredients and taste, plus you can create a lost of your favourites for future reference. It’s a simple idea, but one that most cocktail enthusiasts would consider mandatory.