Perfect Drink's smart cocktail system is a fun novelty -- so long as you can still pour straight.
After a long day, nothing hits the spot quite like your favorite cocktail -- unless it isn't mixed properly. Enter Pure Imagination's Perfect Drink system. With an app-enabled scale and step-by-step instructions for hundreds of different drinks, Perfect Drink promises a perfect pour each and every time. After all, what's a smart home without a smart bar?
If that's a pitch that has you thirsty, then you'll be happy to know that Perfect Drink works perfectly well, and costs a not-terribly-unreasonable $70 (converted roughly, that's £50 or AU$90, with most retailers currently selling it for even less). Just like its sibling, the more kid-friendly Perfect Bake system, Perfect Drink's connected scale is accurate and easy to use, and the well-designed app is packed with recipes and useful features. It's a novelty for sure, and the build is hardly perfect, but if you're looking for better-mixed cocktails or perhaps a few new favorites, Perfect Drink can certainly get you there.
Perfect Drink takes the same approach as Perfect Bake, combining a handy scale with in-app smarts to offer precision ingredient management. In Perfect Drink's case, though, the ingredients are hard liquors and mixers, not cookie dough and chocolate chips.
You also obviously aren't baking anything with Perfect Drink, so gone are the mixing bowls and connected kitchen thermometer. Instead, you get a basic cocktail shaker with the kit.
Aside from that, they're essentially the same product, with scales that are all-but-identical, save for the logo. As such, I was hopeful that I'd be able to use the Perfect Drink scale with the Perfect Bake app and vice versa, but alas, I couldn't. That's a disappointment -- using one scale with both apps would significantly up the value proposition for both products.
The scale itself looks nice enough for what it is, though the build leaves a lot to be desired. The LCD display looks like something borrowed from a cheap alarm clock, and with no backlight, it gets a little tough to read in darker settings. It feels cheap, too, with a plastic build that wobbles toward the front whenever you press a button.
The true star, design-wise, is the app, especially if you're using a tablet. It looks great, with thirst-inducing images of every drink in the database, along with an easy to navigate interface and handy setup instructions.
In-app features are strong too -- particularly the "Cabinet" feature, which lets you select the ingredients you've got on hand from a list that's just as detailed and well-organized as the recipe database. From there, the app can tell you what cocktails you're all set to mix up -- a handy way to try something new.
Features also shine during the drink-making process. You can adjust the number of servings you're looking to make (as many as nine) and the app will scale each ingredient up or down accordingly. It'll adjust when you over pour, too -- add too much lime juice into your gimlet, for instance, and Perfect Drink will tell you how much gin to add in order to fix the ratio.
Perfect Bake impressed us with the accuracy of its scale, and Perfect Drink is no different. Drop for drop, it was just about flawless in my tests, where I made a few cocktails using pre-measured ingredients. Follow the instructions, and you can rest assured that your drink will come out the same each and every time.
I also took Perfect Drink home over a weekend for some more anecdotal testing. If that sounds like a cheap way of saying I took it home and used it to get intoxicated, you aren't wrong, but that was largely the point -- I wanted to know if this thing was actually fun to use, and whether or not the ease of use disappeared after a few drinks.
I invited an old friend over and we clinked glasses, mixing up a couple of different cocktails from the bottles I had on hand. An Old Fashioned was up first, followed by a Lemon Drop. We wanted to try something new, so I scanned the app and selected a Maple Leaf cocktail, which consists of bourbon, lemon juice and maple syrup. Pretty damned tasty, if I do say so myself.
Despite having a taste for bourbon, I'd never heard of a Maple Leaf, and if not for Perfect Drink, I'm not sure I ever would have tried one. Clearly, there was something to be said for the app's ability to facilitate experimental inebriation -- although it helped that we had a pretty wide variety of liquors and mixers at our disposal. And though our motor skills definitely deteriorated over the course of the evening (we put the over-pour detection feature to good use), the app's ease-of-use never let us down.
We also didn't spill anything, and that's a very good thing, because Perfect Drink needs to be tethered to your phone or tablet via a rather short little cable that plugs into the headphone jack. That gives it a much faster, much more precise connection than Bluetooth would, but I think I'd take that trade-off in order to get my iPad out of the splash zone.
Use a phone instead of a tablet, and the app's database gets squished down into a format that's still accessible, but much less visually appealing. I also found myself wishing that the app would tell me what ingredient I could buy that would add the most recipes into the "In Cabinet" section. Still, these are pretty minor quibbles about a product that works as promised.
Moving forward, maybe we'll see features like those rolled into a Perfect Drink 2.0. One could also imagine an even easier cabinet management system that uses the scale to add ingredients by weight. For now, though, Perfect Drink does the job. I can't say that I see it as any less of a novelty after testing it out, but I can't say that I didn't have fun, either.
Part of Perfect Bake's charm was its clear kid appeal, and that obviously goes out the window with Perfect Drink. At $70, I also wish that it had a better build and perhaps Bluetooth connectivity, too. Still, I could see it playing well at a party, or serving as a handy assistant for anyone looking to learn some new cocktails, and how to get better at making them.
Keep in mind, though, that Perfect Drink really only gets fun once you've got a good number of ingredients on hand and entered into the app. At that point, you'll be able to scan through new recipes you've never heard of, then quickly whip one up and take a sip. You bring the booze, Perfect Drink brings the brains. There are certainly worse smart home bargains out there.