You have gin, lemon, and simple syrup. Quick! What cocktails can you make? You can either flip through your cocktail recipe book to find recipes with those ingredients or risk Google pointing you to a concoction that’s just a tragic shadow of what the drink is meant to be. (Seriously, why is there Rose’s lime juice in this mint julep?)
Lily Szajnberg thinks her Cocktail Computer will combine the reliability of your recipe book with the filtering ability of the Internet. Using punch cards like an old-school computer and three stainless steel picks, it serves up recipe cards based on what you have on hand. If you have gin and lemon, you stick the pins in those holes, lift the lid, and reveal recipes for a Tom Collins, Bees Knees, and Gin Sour. You’ll need an additional ingredient or two for each of these cocktails (like honey simple syrup for the Bees Knees and regular simple syrup for the Gin Sour), but according to Szajnberg, you should be able to make the computer’s 100 recipes with just 24 different bar staples. Eventually, Szajnberg plans to add more recipes, too.
The computer is made of food-grade plastic and the reusable cards are covered in a spill-resistant material. The turquoise color and retro font means it will fit right in with a ’50s style Big Chill refrigerator.
The Cocktail Computer is on Kickstarter right now. It’s raised over $18,000 toward its $50,000 goal. You can pick one up for $50, and if the campaign is successful, you should receive it in February 2016. And if you’ve always wanted a cocktail named after you, now’s your chance (mine would obviously be the Sloe Jen Fizz): Pledge $500, and your signature drink will be included in a bonus pack. It’s a lot easier than becoming famous first.