While it hasn’t been the best year for cocktail parties, it’s been an awesome year for learning how to make cocktails at home. With bars closed and liquor consumption reaching record levels, more people than ever are looking to upgrade their at-home bar experience.
Just as the Keurig stepped up the at-home coffee experience, automated cocktail machines are ushering in a new era of convenience for the in-home bar. If you’ve had your eye on a robotic bartender, we reviewed the Bartesian premium cocktail maker to determine the pros and cons of having dozens of high-class cocktails available with the push of a button.
Setting up the Bartesian Automatic Cocktail Maker
This cocktail maker is about twice the size of a standard coffee maker. It features four glass alcohol containers, a touch screen display, and a removable rubber mat for catching drips or splashes. The unit actually includes five glass alcohol containers, but only four slots. One slot is used for both gin and rum, which can be swapped out to accommodate different cocktails.
You can then choose from a variety of recyclable pods, each containing all the mixers needed for a balanced cocktail. Some pods to choose from include Long Island Iced Tea, Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Old Fashioned, Lemon Drop, and 35+ other popular cocktails.
Once the containers are filled with your preferred brands of whiskey, tequila, vodka, rum and/or gin, just fill the water reservoir on the back of the unit. The water is added to the mixers, which are concentrated in each pod. With the Bartesian plugged in, all that’s left is to insert a pod.
Grab a cocktail of your choice and pop the pod into the pod slot; close the lid and read the display for instructions. Many drinks simply require a glass with ice be inserted under the dispenser, others require a shaker full of ice to get the complete luxury cocktail experience.
One nice feature is the ability to select the strength of the cocktail, ranging from virgin to regular to strong. Once the drink is made, dispose of the pod in the recycling bin and enjoy. The whole process takes less than 30 seconds.
What to Love about the Bartesian
As far as robotic bartenders go, there’s a lot to love about the Bartesian. Your friends can choose from a variety of flavors and cocktails to suit their preferences.
Drinks are ready in moments, so you could serve many people rather quickly. Each drink is precision balanced and consistent, so you can always expect the same results.
The unit has a fairly small footprint. However, if you’re counter-top challenged like many urban dwellers, the Bartesian is a commitment. Be prepared to make room and keep it there, because moving a device with four glass bottles of liquid attached to it is about as easy as it sounds.
You can sign up for a subscription service to have pods arrive at your door like clockwork. Pods are also available on amazon or through the Bartesian website, and most are fairly affordable considering the premium nature of the beverages.
Try the variety packs to learn about new drinks and cultures. For instance, the Boulevardier is apparently a popular drink in France. I’ve never tried it and it’s one of my new favorites. Plus, when I visit France I’ll feel incredibly local (until I try to pronounce it properly).
Seasonal flavors are also available, so you can keep the experience fresh the whole year through. This fall I’m looking forward to trying the “Witch’s Heart,” which is a lovely purple vodka cocktail made with berry, green apple, lemon juice, and white grape juice.
Areas for Improvement
While this versatile cocktail maker is sure to impress friends and family with its ease of use and modern appearance, there are a few areas ripe for an upgrade. For one, the machine should have a “Pour a Shot” function.
If someone were to request a straight up shot of one of the alcohols in the Bartesian, I’d have to pull out a fresh bottle, or I could remove one of the glass bottles, take off the lid, and pour a shot myself. It seems like an easy programming fix to add a “Perfect Shot” option to the display menu.
Secondly, there’s a slight chance one of the dispenser holes on the glass bottles could become stuck. The box includes a large warning sticker about this possibility and provides instructions on how to avoid it or fix it should one become stuck. In my case, everything worked perfectly for several weeks until I noticed a small brown ring around the whiskey container.
The dispenser had apparently stuck open, causing the whiskey to overfill the reservoir and build up slightly around the bottle rim. I removed the bottle, cleaned the dispenser, and manually pushed it open a few times to ensure it wasn’t sticking. The problem hasn’t occurred again since. It’s an easy fix, but one to be aware of if you’re leaving your unit unattended or unused for days or weeks at a time.
What’s Ahead for this Home Bar Innovation
If you’re looking for home bar ideas and are ready to take some of the guesswork out of your cocktail game, the Bartesian is a fun, effective investment. It’s also a brand that’s growing, so your pods will likely be available many years down the road.
The brand recently received $20M in funding from Cleveland Avenue, LLC., a privately-held venture capital firm. This investment will allow the brand to expand its team and production capability. Actress Mila Kunis joined the company’s board of advisors recently as well, lending her guidance on brand strategy. She joined the company’s Virtual Happy Hour during CES 2021, along with husband Ashton Kutchner, much to the delight of attendees.
As CEO and Founder Ryan Close noted, “We set out to bring the luxury cocktail lounge experience inside the home. Offering high-quality, customized cocktails with convenience and style — and now it is time to scale up to meet the growing demand and enter new markets.”