On Trial: Bartesian Cocktail Machine
Tester: Latifah Miles, experienced cocktail drinker, tragic cocktail maker
The Brief: One thing that I love at the end of a long day — besides an oversized slice of cheesecake — is an expertly made cocktail with the perfect amount of alcohol that elicits a
relaxed feeling, not a two-stepping-in-the-club feeling. Unfortunately for me, my cocktail-making skills are still living in my alma mater’s freshman dorms, where an “end-of-the-day drink” meant 3 parts cheap vodka and 1 part leftover cranberry juice that I found under my bed. Compared to even the most novice cocktail creators out there, my skills are somewhere between frat boy and "What the hell is this? Are you trying to kill me?!"
Aside from my total inexperience when it comes to making the perfect cosmopolitan, I also almost never have all of the essential parts on hand to even attempt to make an acceptable cocktail.
That's why I'm thankful for the Bartesian Premium Cocktail Machine. The best way to describe it: a Keurig coffee machine, but for cocktails. If your mind is like, “What?!” right now, hold tight!
Listed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2019, it was only right that I gave it a go. If it’s good enough for Oprah, it's likely too good for me! Upon first glance, this hefty machine can look kind of intimidating. There are oversized, science-y looking tubes and a digital screen on the top, but if you can figure out how to work the endless single-cup coffee machines out there, you can certainly work the Bartesian.
Setting up the machine was fairly easy, and that’s coming from someone who almost never reads the set-up instructions of anything — ever. I'll admit that in my haste to get it together, I didn't secure the side tubes correctly, but got it right after a quick directions read-through (groan). Once I filled and secured jars with the coordinating spirits, and the back portion with water, the machine was ready to go for a spin. It was literally that easy. With several sleeves of classic drinks to test out, including a whiskey sour, a Long Island iced tea, a margarita, a cosmopolitan, and an old-fashioned, the hardest part was choosing which one to try first.
I opted for a margarita, since I'd probably never make one at home. Just like my favorite single cup coffee machine, all that was required to mix up my perfect margarita was to insert a cocktail capsule, press a few buttons, and beebeeboopbop — my drink was ready to enjoy.
Each pack of cocktails comes with six drink capsules, which is plenty for a week worth of wind down sessions. The capsule packs can be purchased with single drink options or you can opt for a variety pack to mix it! My initial assumption was that the drinks would be a one-size-fits-all kind of mix and if you’re more of the I-like-my-drinks-to-cause-hair-to-sprout-from-my-chest type, then that’d just be on you to adjust on your own. Thankfully, there’s no need to That’s So Raven back to your college years to boost the strength of the cocktails, since the Bartesian allows you to customize each individual drink to suit your tastes, ranging from mocktail to strong.
I decided to tip-toe into my first machine-made cocktail with a margarita on regular strength, since I was skeptical about how tasty this would be in comparison to an expertly crafted version from an actual bartender or, let’s be real, a $1 bucket mixed dollarita from Applebees (I’m not picky). Within seconds, my drink was ready, over ice, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually very good. The alcohol was balanced with the margarita mix, which is impressive since margaritas can easily taste like mostly mix or mostly tequila.
Closing Argument: After trying every cocktail option for accurate testing results, aka science, I can promise that this machine — while a total splurge — is absolutely worth it. If your house is the party palace, the holiday hangout, or you just really love a good cocktail to end your day, the Bartesian is like having a live-in bartender that you don’t have to tip.
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