Robots: They're coming to take your job. But at least they'll serve you a conciliatory drink afterwards, since they are also coming to take your bartender's job.
Earlier this week, we had the chance to demo Barsys, a robotic bartender that fits on your (large) countertop. Stocked with five base spirits and three mixers, the device quickly and efficiently mixes a variety of mixed cocktails.
As for whether those cocktails are actually palatable? Here are our first impressions.
What’s the setup? Five base spirits of your choice are up top. Three mixers — also of your choice — live on the side. A conveyor platform slides glasses left to right as the drink is being made (it’s kinda mixed like a tornado), while different lights indicate the status of your drink, which takes just a few seconds to complete.
What’s it do? Paired with an app, Barsys can make upwards of 2,000 drinks with a tap or two on your smartphone. You can also customize your recipes or tinker with the ones they have.
What am I drinking? We had a Moscow Mule. It tasted like a perfectly decent Moscow Mule. The one advantage here is the consistency of proportions: bad if you like a free pour, good if you want your drinks to be perfectly measured. Once I know how I like a Moscow Mule — maybe a bit heavier on the vodka, for example — I can program that in and Barsys will always serve a perfect facsimile of that drink (as long as the ingredients are stocked, of course).
Who is this for? Surprisingly, CEO/Founder Akshet Tewari told us that 80 percent of customers use it in their home. If you like 2-3 ingredient cocktails — whiskey sour, Moscow Mule, Cosmo, etc. — and crave variety at the push of a button, this’ll be fine. It’s certainly great for parties and a solid conversation starter.
Who isn’t this for? If you only drink 18-year Scotch neat, you don’t need this. If you want to make a more complicated recipe — anything involving muddling, tinctures, whatever — this won’t make things easier.
What do bartenders think of this? Guess who the bartender is in the Instagram comments on my pic.
Having said that, Tewari doesn't see Barsys supplanting a real bartender, and we agree.
Who should use this? We really see this better “served” (ha) for events, pop-ups and other high-visibility areas where an experienced bartender isn’t needed but you want a variety of crowd-pleasing drink options available. A B2B version is available for hotels and bars, and the app can keep track of what people are ordering so that businesses can tailor the drinks they serve.
How and when can I get it? Barsys is available for preorder at $750 for the first 100 customers (use the code FIRST100). After that, it’s $1,050. The units will be shipped after October 15th.