Cocktails HD – Padgadget iPad Cooking Series

Part of PadGadget’s continuing series Get Cooking With iPad

Cocktails HD by Pocket Cocktails offers an impressive array of recipes for the aspiring mixologist. The app aims to suggest cocktails that cater to a wide range of tastes, as well as drinks that suit a particular holiday or season.

There are a number of ways to access the drink recipes. A user can choose a category from the colorful touch screen menu to browse through Martinis, Classics, Summer drinks, or even Mocktails. There are also instructions to help the user become a better bartender, learn about spirits, wine, and beer, as well as a reference section and glossary.


Touching the martini glass in the bottom left brings up a list of every drink in the app. Thanks to the latest update there is also now a search function that lets you put in two ingredients, then suggests drinks. Type in “Campari” and Cocktails HD will suggest five cocktails to try. The random is actually better than random. It allows the user to eliminate categories from inclusion, so if it is a hot summer day, for example, the app will allow you to omit the “Warmers” category.

The app also includes sections for those eschewing the hard stuff: Wine & Beer, 101 Wines, and Sommelier HD. The Sommelier HD lets the user choose a food category, then narrow that to a list of specific dishes. The app then suggests two varietals that might suit the dish. For example, for Beef Tartare the Sommelier suggests Sangiovese or Pinot Noir.  Ever think of pairing wine with French Onion Soup? According to the Sommelier a Chenin Blanc or Gamay will be good choices.

Note: Cocktails HD is rated 17+ for frequent references to alcohol. Such is the nature of a bartending app. Please remember to drink responsibly. Cocktails HD is available for download in the App Store for $2.99.

What I liked: The iPad is well-suited to trolling for drink recipes. The search function and the favorites function in particular are useful for the user who wants to make something different, but doesn’t mix drinks often enough to tell a Rob Roy from an Old-fashioned.

What I didn’t like: The UI was clumsy. For example, after using the app for awhile I had added a number of favorite recipes. After I opened up a favorite to see how to make the drink, I would be taken back to the top of the list again when I closed the recipe instead of returning to where I left off. The Wine & Beer, 101 Wines, Sommelier HD were too general to be useful.

To buy or not to buy: The app’s instructions are clear and its recipes are numerous, so it suit the needs of the casual bartender very well. Remember that, like cooking, mixology is part art, part science. Not all sources agree on the best way to make a Tom Collins, but Cocktails HD offers the only recipe I’ve ever found that suggests lime instead of lemon. Even though my not-so-scientific taste test determined that a Tom Collins with lime is very delicious it is still difficult to recommend Cocktails HD as an authoritative resource for mixing drinks.

  • App Name: Cocktails HD
  • Version Reviewed: 3.0
  • Category: Lifestyle
  • Developer: Pocket Cocktails, Inc.
  • Price: $2.99
  • Score:
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About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite