Highball is a sleek and simple recipe library app. It doesn’t start you out with a ton of (usually off-base) recipes like many cocktail apps do. When you start it for the first time, you see only a Mint Julep, a Tom Collins, and an Old Fashioned (closer than usual to the original, so it’s a start).
That’s your whole library. It looks a little like Apple’s “Passbook” app, and when you click a drink name, it expands to show the full recipe, along with an illustration of the drink. Underneath the main screen, there’s a “+” button you can use to add new drinks.
You can create your own recipes, share them on social media, save them to your camera roll as a recipe card, and import recipes from Twitter or your camera roll.
Shared recipes have a QR code in the corner, allowing imported recipe image files to become instantly editable.
Creating or editing a recipe involves:
- Entering the name
- Entering ingredients, and using scrolling selectors to enter the measurements (I like this, because it makes formatted fractions and abbreviations easy, and can easily be converted to and from metric)
- Typing in any instructions
- Building an illustration of the drink
- Choosing the background color for the recipe card
- The whole app is simple, colorful, and clean. Nothing cluttered or confusing here!
- Recipe cards are very readable. They’re well-formatted, and a great way to share or just save a drink.
- The image builder for new recipes is a lot of fun!
- The app is free. It’s monetized through product sales from Studio Neat:
- An ice kit with an insulated ice mold and a chisel for making extremely clear giant ice cubes.
- A Simple syrup kit that’s basically a marked bottle… This one isn’t too exciting, but it helps make the app free, which is cool!
- They also include a tip jar, which I recommend using if you like the app. It’s important to support people who make new useful things.
- Sharing is easy and fun, and it doesn’t require the recipient to download the app! This is a great way to store and share recipes. It’s especially useful for inventors.
- You aren’t restricted to a pre-entered list of ingredients (some apps do this), so go ahead and add that eye of newt.
- There’s a large library of drink recipes for import, including recent shares on twitter. While some recipes are a little off, most of the classics are at least there.
- Using it on the iPhone 5s, there was some lag scrolling through my saved cards. This might just be my phone. It didn’t make the app hard to use; it just didn’t look as nice.
- The image builder is missing a few key items:
- Margarita glass
- Muddled mint
- Any way of layering drink colors
- Shot glass (Let’s face it, some recipes are for shots, even if that’s kind of a slurpy way to drink)
- At the risk of pretending to be Instagram, it would be nice to have a photo option to go with the illustration.
When browsing “Add From The Library,” if you click a recipe and return to the menu, you start at the beginning and have to scroll again to find your spot.Fixed in update after review published
- The products that support the app are very expensive. And I want that ice kit. Please?
All in all, though it has its flaws, this app is already becoming my go-to drink recipe reference. It’s good to have all my recipes in one place. Not just a bunch of recipes, but a personalized set of my own recipe cards.
I give this app 9 shakers out of 10.
It could use just a couple of tweaks, but it’s certainly the best simple recipe app I’ve tried so far.