Interactive Cocktail Entertainment for iPhone

The App Store offers many for the discriminating mobile user, all with their own unique charms. But as great a collection of games as, say, , , and may be, even their most ardent fans wouldn't claim that those games will help you make a better mint julep.

I'm not certain can make that claim either. But I do know that this free and decidedly adult game from is a clever way to test your memory with an app that makes excellent use of the unique features of the iPhone and iPod touch. And it's also more fun than it has any right to be.

Interactive Cocktail Entertainment--ICE, from here on out--puts you in the booze-stained shoes of a humble barman with a tavern full of patrons you've got to keep liquored up. They're all demanding drinks, and it's your job to fill those orders--promptly and to the exact specifications of ICE's database of 50 cocktails. You're not required to muddle, stir, or strain, but you do have to pour the specific types of liquor in the exact amounts; grab the mixers, liqueurs, and juices in the precise order; and shake it all up to combine if that's what the recipe calls for. You score points for how faithfully you follow the recipe and for the difficulty of the cocktail you prepare. Dilly-dally, and your customers will eventually abandon you, if not for a place where everybody knows their name then at least for some place where it doesn't take for-freaking-ever to get their hands on a Cape Cod.

To grab the right ingredients, you swipe your finger to pan around the reasonably well-stocked two-shelf bar, tapping on whatever item you need. The navigation can be a little dodgy--occasionally, when trying to stop panning, I'll tap on the screen, inadvertently grabbing, say, a bottle of Jameson when I meant to use Glenlivet 12. Fortunately, ICE gives you the opportunity to cancel these wayward taps; unfortunately, that's not going to help you get that cocktail to your impatient customer any faster.

It's when you assemble the cocktail that ICE really shines as an iPhone app. To pour out the right amount of liquor, you've actually got to tilt your iPhone--and if you keep tilting, you run the risk of over-pouring. (In an especially attentive touch, the bottle you pour is actually the one you've selected--for example, an image of a Beefeater bottle appears when you're making a Dirty Vermouth.) When it comes time to shake all the ingredients, a cocktail shaker appears on the screen, and you shake your iPhone until everything's good and mixed. These are the sorts of things that can really make an app feel at home on the iPhone, and ICE has them in spades.

Since there's no peeking at the recipe when you're mixing drinks--not that you'd have the time to do so, anyway--ICE is a pretty good game for sharpening your recall and memorization abilities. Imagine--alcohol actually your memory!