It's the Substitutions, Silly.
A digital cocktail guide with the care to tell you when you have an appropriate substitue for a specific property on hand, or are missing only one or two ingredients. Perfect for planning, and perfect for plotting that next expansion bottle.
Much better than the book
Every cocktail lover should have the PDT book (aka the Bible), but they should only pull it out to read or flip through while relaxing on the couch (hopefully with a perfectly balanced cocktail). For all other occasions, just pull out the app and find exactly what you're looking for much faster.
The design of this suite of apps is perfectly suited to the at-home cocktail enthusiast. Input your ingredients once, sync to all other apps (easily authenticating via 1Password support), flag recipes, and drink lovely cocktails. I'm a particular fan of flagging recipes I want to try because the list of flagged recipes shows you results from all installed apps in the suite. Very easy to find a good one to try (likewise with favorites).
game-chaning app, great developer support
When I was in college I had a dream to make my friends any drink they wanted and drive a flying car. This was a fantasy, not the least of reasons because organizing a bar is difficult, and because flying cars do not exist. However, this app has allowed me to realize the dream in the most convenient way imaginable.
This app makes the connections behind the recipes for you, helps you pick most useful things to buy, manage your inventory. Simply log your bar inventory. It then knows what you can make, what you cannot make, and helps you figure out 'spirits of opportunity' to discover what to buy next to optimize the number of drinks you can make. It shows you which you are one or two ingredients away from making.
Did I mention it does all that while featuring an incredible collection of well-curated recipes? It does that. I have not mixed a drink I did not enjoy.
The developer supports the app like no other. I have never found such a kind, considerate, communicative developer who was so truly interested in understanding and assisting in supporting the app, despite the fact that I was running an older release of iOS.
Some reviewers complain about the price. They are fools. For twice the price considering the curation, more efficient ingredient purchases because of the app's analytics, and the curation, this app is a bargain. The money I save in purcahses alone because the app optimizes those ingredients with which I can make the most drinks (I can discern and choose based on my individual taste from the sample it recommends). Then consider the curation: you are getting an almost mechanically intelligent version of a book that costs with shipping approximately $20. To this, add that you get great support and you carry the information everywhere because the developer has made it an app.
Close to perfection
Every time I think this app can't get any better, you go and make it better. The *only* thing this app was missing was a way to take notes on drinks I've made. Now it has that. Love the creative recipes, love the inventory features. Favorite cocktail app.
Excellent. Don't be discouraged.
An excellent companion to the book.
Don't be discouraged if the initial assessment shows you can only make a small amount of the recipes - many of the "missing" ingredients may be things you've already got around the house, especially if you're making cocktails at home: sugar, water, lemons, limes, etc. And if you've got sugar and water you can make simple syrup, so add that one to your list too.
Additionally, the app offers basic substitutions to make it easier to increase the number of recipes available to you. Example: you can substitute generic "bourbon" if you don't have "Buffalo Trace", "rye" if you don't have "Old Overholt", and so on.
I love how easy it is to add your ingredients, how it shows how many recipes include each ingredient, the description of each ingredient and examples for each category, how your ingredients sync across other apps from the same developer (the "Easy Cocktails" app, Wondrich's app, etc), and how it's easy to see recipes for which you are missing only one or two ingredients.
The only feedback I would provide is it would be nice to have the ability to rate each cocktail for personal preference (I don't care to see others' ratings though).
Also, the ability to add ingredients to a Wish List or Shopping List would be beneficial.
Now if we can only get an app for other books too, like Speakeasy, Death & Co, any of Dale DeGroff's books, etc.
One final note, if you find these recipes too complicated, or requiring too many obscure or homemade ingredients, try the Easy Cocktails app from the same developer. Keep in mind, PDT is a world-class cocktail bar that pushed the envelope. You can't reasonably expect the casual home bar to have all these ingredients on hand, or the casual home bartender to have the desire to seek out all the ingredients. Just because you buy "The French Laundry" or "El Bulli" cookbooks doesn't mean you're going to be cooking like Keller or Adrià at home any time soon. Check your expectations.
Love the app. Would be nice if one could add personal notes and ratings. Also, I noticed that the Junior recipe lists the original proportions, not the updated variation in the PDT book. Wondering if this is the case for many other cocktails...
$10 is steep for an app but I was excited to check out some new cocktail recipes. Added by pretty solid home bar and was told I could make 17 of the 400 recipes. Ouch. So many obscure ingredients needed.
Would become infinitely more useful if it also included classic cocktails; "forgot about that recipe" or "nice, didn't realize I had all the ingredients for that one".
First let me say that this app has a lot of potential. I won't spend time on the good stuff. The app description covers that well. This is a long review because I can tell the app developers pay attention to detail.
My biggest complaint is how ingredients are handled. They need to be organized first by type, subtype, then brand. (1) where do I find Gallo dry vermouth? Not under "g". I can't even find "vermouth". How do I enter Jose Cuervo tequila? Protip: use the search on the main screen. (Which reminds me. I should be able to pull down on the ingredients list to search it.)
(2) Organizing the ingredients by specific brand doesn't make sense. The home bartender isn't going to have 15 different bottles of rum.
(3) The app has some substitution logic, which is good, but a type/subtype/brand hierarchy would help the user understand the substitutions. e.g. Tequila/gold/Jose Cuervo Especial. There should be an "other" in the subtype in case the user's brand is not there. The app can then explain how good or bad a substitution is. e.g. The recipe calls for a specific brand of light rum, but all you have is Kraken spiced dark rum. It's 2 steps away in similarity. (Not the right brand or subtype.) As things are now I don't know which substitutions the app might use so I end up lying to the app, telling it I have all these similar ingredients that I don't have, to ensure more drinks are within 1 ingredient.
The second big request is that there be some notion of popularity for different drink recipes. This could be collaborative or it could be set by experts. I want to explore new drinks but I don't know if I should buy a bottle of lillet for a specific drink which may not be popular. Maybe a section for top drinks?
Seriously? $10 for a cocktail app that has an entire section of Sours, but no Whiskey Sour recipe? The original Sour. Come on guys. So much focus on fancy schmancy drinks that have you cooking up exotic pastes and infusions, which is fine, as long as you fully cover the basic classics. Who knows what else is missing? Not me, because this was a deal breaking omission.
Fantastic. The BEST cocktail app.
Ok to start with, I have a PDT cocktail book so let's set aside the fact that I knew I'd love the recipe content. This is a fantastic effing app. Entering the contents of my home bar was a matter of switching toggles and, when done, I found that I could make 207 of 400 cocktails. I could quickly make a few infusions and syrups per the included recipes and up that number. I LOVE that the recipes tell me what my substitutions would be. It's so clever to show me a list of recipes that I'm 1 or 2 ingredients away from making. Often the missing ingredient is something easy to acquire like orange juice or raspberry jam or something I sub in. Normally I balk at paying over $1.99 for an app but this is my favorite new app and worth every bit of the price. I'm so glad I bought it. I guarantee that, much as I love my cocktail books, I will use this app more frequently than my library of books. Well done PDT!