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iDrink Better: The Best iPhone Drinking Apps

Is the iphone the ultimate "drinking buddy?" Not the kind of buddy that you can commiserate with over a shot of Jamesons or who will give you a ride home after one to many, but a drinking companion who can be a personal sommelier, pocket bartending guide, and wine locator. Yes, drinking apps for the iphone are numerous and many of them are quite good.

There are literally dozens of them, but I'll highlight a few (mostly) free ones that I find particularly useful.

Wine: I like the Drync Free app for easily keeping track of wines you've had or heard about. For wines you're drinking, you can snap a picture of the label, type in the name and vintage, easily select a rating (from a multiple choice menu) and peck in any notes you want. The entry is then saved and cataloged for you. You can also search through a huge database, find the wine and enter it onto your roster. Simple and easy.

Snooth, the free app version of the the world's largest wine site, is handy for its enormous database of prices, but it also can get your location (by entering zip code or through GPS) and help you find shops near you that have the wine you seek. The drawback is that it's not always accurate and there's not a lot of other information on many of the wines (tasting notes, detailed label info, etc.)

Cocktails: The 5800+ Drink and Cocktail Recipes Free app is quite helpful. Despite the cumbersome name, it's quite easy to use and has an obviously huge searchable database of basic recipes. What I love, though, is the ability to search by ingredient and the "Random Drink" feature which will select something for you, when you don't know what to make or order. The drawback is that the recipes are generic and not always balanced.

I've also got to give a shout out to Jimmy Patrick, blogger, bartender at Sunnyvale's Lion & Compass and iphone programmer, who created his own app 101 Cocktails ($1.99). It's not encyclopedic, but that's the point. Jimmy made the list of truly essential "go-to" drinks for himself--including his own personal, practical recipes and tastes--then decided to offer it to others. It costs a couple bucks, but you're paying for Jimmy's taste and expertise instead of just a giant impersonal database.

Here is a great site for cocktail app reviews.

Finally, if you do drink too much, there is a way your iphone can help you. The ibreath breathalyzer attachment gives you an instant reading so you know your level before you drive.