MixStik is an LED swizzle stick that shows you how to make cocktails

About how long does it take for you to get tired of bartending at your own party? The longest I’ve ever made it before getting pulled away or just sort of wandering off is about two hours. After that point, drinks degenerated into unpredictable combos of alcohol and whatever nearly-expired mixers I could rummage up from the depths of my fridge. Thankfully, I think MixStik, a cool new Kickstarter gizmo, could be my solution. At least, in theory – and I’ll clarify that later.

Taken in parts, MixStik is a strip of 24 LED lights linked to an accompanying mobile app. it’s basically a smart swizzle stick with a built-in bartender’s guide. Just pick your recipe in the app, assign different colors to ingredients, put MixStik in your glass, and add ingredients to the match the colors.

The hardware is what you’d expect, a Cortex MO+ processor, Bluetooth, and waterproof food-grade silicone — or at least that’s the stats on the prototype. An accelerometer is also built in, giving MixStik a little more versatility as a LED indicator. It’s also got little rubber spikes on the bottom of the stick to make muddling easier. At the dry end (with the little cocktail symbol), a little cap covers a full USB port for charging the Lithium-ion battery.

MixStik does need to be calibrated to match the glass or shaker, so it knows x-number of lights corresponds to y-amount of liquor (or ice, or solids like mint). Calibration is simple; line the MixStik up next to the glass and adjust the on-screen sliders until the lights match the glass size. To stave off annoyance, the app lets you save your glass and shaker settings in memory. You can even link up to five sticks with one app.

The iOS MixStik app will be ported to Android, though the MixStik team hasn’t reached that point yet. Suggested ideas for more functions include a shopping list calculator that will let you select a given number of cocktails and tell you how much booze and mixers you need to make them, as well as an inventory filter that shows you which cocktails you can make with the ingredients you’ve got on hand. The shopping list calculated isn’t actually included at the moment, but the device’s open API means it could easily become a reality.

And that’s not all. MixStik’s app also functions like a high-tech glow stick, and is able to program and capture messages written in light. Raphaël, CEO of Magnified Self and one of the creators of MixStik explained how it works. “The light message, we call it ‘Light Texting,’ is the same principle as light painting. There is a long exposure setting for taking photos on the app.”

Type your text in the app, the MixStik picks it up and changes the LED distribution as you move the stick horizontally. Raphaël pointed out, “You need to be in the dark,” but in any case it’s a neat and easy way to make light messages, fun for rave promoters everywhere.

At time of writing, the MixStik campaign has nearly doubled its $39,000 goal, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The device is projected to retail for $60, so if you love the idea, check out the Kickstarter before the campaign ends November 5. If all goes as planned, MixStiks will start shipping to backers sometime around March 2016.