If you’re brave enough to put together your own festivities to say goodbye to 2014, you’ll want to provide your guests with a little more to drink than a keg of beer and some pre-mixed sugary vodka.
But if you need a little help honing your cocktail skills – or are looking to shake up something more unique than a Martini – here are some of our favourite cocktail apps to get you pumped up for the New Year (as well as some bonus New Year's Eve app advice).
My Cocktail Bar
Available for Android, My Cocktail Bar is a great way of keeping track of what’s in your liquor cabinet. Enter the ingredients you have on hand, and the app will show you a list of the cocktails you can make without needing to run to the store.
You’ll also be able to search for and browse specific cocktails, and even add your own custom creations. Unlike other apps listed here, My Cocktail Bar doesn’t include thousands of drink recipes, instead opting for the most popular, classic and carefully picked cocktails.
So if you’re already a dab hand at mixing drinks, you may prefer to go for an app with a wider selection of more obscure recipes.
The app has something for both drink-mixing newbies and experienced cocktail enthusiasts, and offers a huge library of drink recipes as well as a nifty bartending guide.
All cocktails come with a step-by-step mixing guide, and users can search for drinks by categories such as base spirits, ingredients, event type and even colour.
We especially like the handy cost estimate calculator, which lets you total up the average price of your required ingredients before you hit the liquor store.
There’s plenty of features to play around with in Cocktail Flow, but be careful of making in-app purchases to access premium drinks packages.
Lush’s cocktail and mixed drinks app is available exclusively for iPhone, and offers an elegant, easy-to-use interface (as seen in the main image for this article). Recipes include visual representations of each drink ingredient, so novice drinkers know exactly the amount of alcohol required at each step.
The app includes hundreds of popular cocktail recipes and users can search by multiple ingredients at a time. You can browse through hand-picked shortlists of favourites for special occasions or moods, and check out flavour profiles to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Lush lets users switch between metric and imperial units of measurement, as well as save favourite drinks. Unlike other apps on the list, it’s priced at $1.99, but if you’re looking for a pretty and easy-to-use drink mixing guide, it’s well worth your two dollars.
If you’re serious about cocktails and want to impress your guests with something a little different, Mixology offers almost 8000 different drink recipes made from over 1000 ingredients – so there’s definitely something for everyone, whether you're an Android or iOS user.
Use the Liquor Cabinet function to list your available ingredients and find out what you can make on the spot, or browse for nearby liquor stores via the apps’ Maps and GPS integration.
Although the app has plenty of choices for experienced mixologists, you can also learn the tricks of the trade from the included bartending terminology and technique guides.
Mixology also allows you to search for drinks by category and ingredients, as well as bring up random drinks if you like to be surprised.
Planning the perfect playlist
If you really want to impress your guests, you’ll need to find that perfect playlist to ring in 2015 (and accompany your Tom-Cruise-in- Cocktail-style moves at the bar). By subscribing to a digital streaming service such as Spotify, your New Year tunes are sorted – best of 2014 playlists are already available to stream, with Spotify in particular offering a variety of soundtracks for your big night.
To really give your house party that coveted club-like atmosphere, iPad DJ app Pacemaker has now added an Autopilot feature, which will automatically mix songs from your Spotify and iTunes playlists. It’s like having your very own set-and-forget robot DJ – just select the playlists and music you want to hear, hit play and party on.
Of course at the end of the night your top priority is getting your guests home safely, especially if they’re feeling the effects of all those cocktails.
While public transport is always an option, if you’re looking for a reliable and safe means of seeing your friends home to bed, Uber’s ride-sharing app is still hard to beat. Be warned though – around midnight, prices are likely to climb sky-high as demand for rides reaches its peak.