We are pumped to launch a new iPhone app today. It’s called Highball, and it’s for sharing and collecting cocktail recipes. It’s also free, so you should download it now! Then come back to read the rest of this post.
Tom and I, independently and coincidentally, starting getting into making cocktails at home about two years ago. Over that time, we’ve slowly built up our cocktail repertoire, but cocktail recipes, while simple, are difficult to remember precisely (eg. did that Whiskey Sour call for 1 oz lemon juice or 3/4 oz?). Exacerbating the problem further, the recipes we were finding were spread across many disparate sources, namely books and the internet. It would be useful indeed to have all of our recipes in one centralized place.
Additionally, we wanted to create an easy way to share recipes. When you stumble upon something tasty, the inclination is to share it. There were many paths we could have gone down in regards to sharing, but we took the simple one, with a twist. When you share a recipe, the app generates an image of a “recipe card,” which is super easy to share on Twitter or iMessage or email or whatever. The image is 16x9, orientated in portrait, so it is designed to look great on mobile.
So, that’s all fine and good, but sharing text in an image presents some problems, namely that it is not selectable or editable. We solved this with QR codes. Yes, QR codes. Now, when one of these recipe card images is imported into Highball, the app reads the QR code, which contains all the recipe data (via a url to a database entry), and imports it as a fully editable recipe, rather than a flat image. We think this solution allows us to have our cake and eat it too. Images are tremendously easy to share on social networks, so we are able to take advantage of that without trapping the data in the image.
If you still haven’t downloaded the app yet (what are you waiting for?!) this video gives a brief overview:
If you were one of the original backers on Kickstarter for the Neat Ice Kit, the visual design of Highball should look familiar. With each original Kit we included three recipe cards, and our backers loved them. Highball is a natural extension of those cards, and caries the metaphor throughout. In fact, the three “starter” recipes that we ship with the app are the same three from the Neat Ice Kit.
As we’ve done with Slow Fast Slow, Highball is free, with “ads.” We are hoping it serves as an effective marketing platform for the Neat Ice Kit and the Simple Syrup Kit. In addition to those two products being available to purchase within the app via Apple Pay, we also added a Tip Jar, for those that want to support us without buying a product. Hat tip to David Smith for the inspiration.