With the “Cocktail Computer,” Imbibing Just Got Even More Fun

A classic conundrum: a semi-stocked bar, a desire for a decent cocktail, the willingness to make aforementioned cocktail, but no idea how to go about it with the smattering of ingredients you have on-hand. The options are usually to hit the Internet, flip through a bar book, or forge ahead blindly.

Designer Lily Szajnberg was all too familiar with this problem, so she crafted a solution in the form of the “Cocktail Computer.” While perhaps not the kind of computer you’d immediately imagine, the device is based on early digital models with the look of a super stylish, retro kitchen appliance. You can get one of your own by donating to Szajnberg’s Kickstarter effort.

The Cocktail Computer aims to be reliable, well-curated, and catered to your individual supplies, achieving that end through punched cards and cocktail pins. In her research, Szajnberg concluded that most classic cocktails can be made from combinations of 24 basic ingredients, which are listed on the top of the contraption. Choose which three you want to use by inserting the pins into the corresponding holes, and the recipes with those components will filter down so when you open the lid, options await. You can then make your libation and repurpose the pins as a cherry or olive skewer.

The cards can be updated as your cocktail prowess grows, though there are more than 100 included in the initial batch. The project has already earned $7,552 of its $50,000 goal with 24 days left. To see the Cocktail Computer in action, check out the video below.

The Annual Festivals That Draw the Most People in Every State

Every state has that one big event each year that draws residents from across the region or even across the nation. Louisiana has Mardi Gras. Kentucky has the Kentucky Derby. South Dakota has Sturgis. Genfare, a company that provides fare collection technology for transit companies, recently tracked down the biggest event in each state, creating a rundown of the can't-miss events across the country.

As the graphic below explores, some states' biggest public events are national music and entertainment festivals, like Bonnaroo in Tennessee, SXSW in Texas, and Summerfest in Wisconsin—which holds the world record for largest music festival.

Others are standard public festival fare. Minnesota hosts 2 million people a year at the Minnesota State Fair (pictured above), the largest of its kind in the U.S. by attendance. Mardi Gras celebrations dominate the events calendar in Missouri, Alabama, and, of course, Louisiana. Oktoberfest and other beer festivals serve as the biggest gatherings in Ohio (home to the nation's largest Oktoberfest event), Oregon, Colorado, and Utah.

In some states, though, the largest annual gatherings are a bit more unique. Some 50,000 people each year head to Brattleboro, Vermont for the Strolling of the Heifers, a more docile spin on the Spanish Running of the Bulls. Montana's biggest event is Evel Knievel Days, an extreme sports festival in honor of the famous daredevil. And Washington's biggest event is Hoopfest, Spokane's annual three-on-three basketball tournament.

Mark your calendar. Next year could be the year you attend them all.

A graphic list with the 50 states pictured next to information about their biggest events
Alexa Can Now Help You Find a Wine Pairing

Even if you enjoy wine regularly, you may not know exactly how you’re supposed to pair it with food. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to put together a good pairing at home. According to Lifehacker, you can just ask Alexa.

An Alexa skill called Wine Finder is designed to help you figure out which wine varietal would go best with whatever food you’re planning to eat. You just have to ask, “What wine goes well with … ”

Created by an app developer called Bloop Entertainment, the Amazon Echo skill features a database with 500 wine pairings. And not all of them are designed for someone working their way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The skill will also help you find the proper pairing for your more casual snacks. In one demo, the skill recommends pairing nachos with a Sauvignon blanc or Zinfandel. (Note that the latter also goes well with Frito pie.)

You can also ask it to find you the perfect wine to drink with apple pie and pizza, in addition to the meats, cheeses, and other wine-pairing staples you might expect. However, if you ask it what to pair with hot dogs, it says “water,” which is an affront to hot dog connoisseurs everywhere.

There are a few other wine-pairing skills available for Alexa, including Wine Pairings, Wine Pairings (two different skills), and Wine Expert. But according to user reviews, Wine Finder is the standout, offering more and higher-quality suggestions than some of the other sommelier apps.

It’s free to enable here, so drink up.

[h/t Lifehacker]


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