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Craft Cocktail App By Violet Hour, Big Star Booze Pros, Has Local Twist

 The Craft Cocktail app was created by Nandini Khaund, Lauren Vandervelde and Martha Williams.
Craft Cocktail
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CHICAGO — Stroll into Wicker Park's Violet Hour on a given evening, and you might come across three women sipping unusual-looking concoctions and taking notes on an iPad.

The trio are shaking and stirring their way through the bar scene to deliver an iPad application called "Craft Cocktail," for which they designed, developed and created original recipes.

The first "chapter" of the app, which has 10 recipes and a few little extras, came out earlier this month at $1.99, and an iPhone version is set to come out in later this month.

One of its creators is Violet Hour server and Big Star bartender Nandini Khaund, who said she draws recipe inspiration from seasons, atypical ingredients (like creme de violette) and sometimes the occult (even a recent trip to a cemetery sparked libation ideas, she said).

Though not on a strict publishing schedule, Khaund, who's also in the metal band Bloodiest, said she plans on writing several chapters for the app each year.

Khaund, 36, got the idea from her friend and Humboldt Park neighbor Lauren Vandervelde, the app's designer and developer. They're joined by photographer Martha Williams, 35, also a photo editor at Time Out Chicago.

"We’re able to find time on the weekends," Williams said, on how the three juggle their day jobs with the creative side project. "And it doesn’t feel as much like work as we’re friends and we’re just hanging out."

Vandervelde, 34, said she came up with the concept after creating iPad apps as a freelancer, and she thought Khaund would be a natural fit to write the recipes.

"It's a male-dominated culture in general for cocktails," Vandervelde said. "We looked at all the other apps, and they all seemed to have a male perspective. It seemed like there was more room for a female point of view."

Their irreverence for the stereotypically sophisticated cocktail comes through in the recipes, such as the "Thyme Lord," loosely based on the British TV series "Doctor Who," and a honeydew mimosa called "Dewin' It!"

"There’s always like a goofy element that we have so we don’t take ourselves too seriously," Khaund said. "Like there’s a shot and a beer in the first chapter."

Though some components might look foreign to someone who doesn't know the difference between a spirit and a cordial, Khaund said she ensures a few of the same ingredients pop up from drink to drink so readers have the parts they need. The app also features extras, such as the history of certain ingredients and the healing power of herbs.

And this is a Chicago creation after all, so yes, a Malort cocktail is in the works.

"I totally want to have a Chicago stamp on it," Khaund said. "I think it'll be a fun nod."

The app is available via the iPad app store. Readers can follow the three women's journey via the blog Craft Cocktail Rules.