Bev by Black & Decker Cocktail Maker Review: Let the Robot Tend Bar

Ever get up so bleary-eyed and unable to perform that you may barely get it collectively to stumble your means into the kitchen and blend a cocktail? Well, have we obtained a product for you. The Black & Decker Bev does for blended drinks what Keurig did for espresso, full with all the professionals and cons that the comparability implies.

The $250 Black & Decker Bev “corded cocktail maker” is kind of the monstrosity on the countertop, weighing 16 kilos unloaded and measuring 15 inches tall with a footprint of 16 by 18 inches. Six tubes lengthen downward into liquor bottles that you just present—vodka, gin, whiskey (your alternative), rum, and tequila. The sixth hose is used for an included water carafe. 

The secret sauce of the Bev is that it makes use of Ok-cup-like capsules to ship all the different components in the cocktail. So a margarita pod contains lime juice, sweetener, and a few kind of orange flavoring—by way of it’s not triple sec, as a result of the pods are nonalcoholic. The tequila for the drink comes from a bottle you load into the machine.

An organization referred to as Bartesian, which pioneered the idea and which additionally makes its personal (expensive however elegant) dispenser {hardware}, is the brains behind all of this. Bartesian makes more than 40 flavoring pods, every producing a distinct cocktail starting from the easy old style to the complicated intercourse on the seaside and, sure, even the iconic Long Island iced tea. Eight-packs of pods are $20, and word you don’t get even a single freebie with the Bev.

The Bev is just not the most elegant of contraptions, however in case you requested me what a Black & Decker-produced cocktail making system would seem like, this could in all probability be what I’d sketch.

Raising the Bar

Photograph: Black & Decker

Setting up the Bev requires a little bit of effort and exposes a few of the system’s limitations. An ordinary Grey Goose bottle is simply too tall to slot in the machine’s vodka slot, whereas a Patron tequila bottle has too huge a mouth for the hose’s rubber gasket to connect to it. So certain, you should use no matter spirits you’d like … so long as the bottles are the proper dimension. (You may also pour that Grey Goose into an empty Popov bottle if you wish to preserve it stylish, I suppose.)

The different large catch is that the Bev doesn’t do any shaking or stirring. It dumps the components—at room temperature—right into a glass, after which you’re by yourself in relation to chilling them and serving the drink. Initially I allotted all the components right into a shaker crammed with ice, then chilled them by shaking and eventually depositing right into a serving glass, however finally I realized that stirring drinks in an ice-filled serving glass was far easier and produced roughly the identical outcomes with lots much less cleanup. We aren’t speaking about craft cocktails right here, so some shortcuts aren’t going to kill anybody.

This means of working is particularly key in case you use the Bev in the solely means it makes any actual sense: As an attraction for a celebration the place individuals make their very own drinks as a substitute of you. Toss a bunch of Bartesian capsules right into a bowl, present some common directions, and let your company have enjoyable with it. They’ll certainly take pleasure in the gentle present the Bev places on throughout the meting out and the potential to “dial your strength” amongst certainly one of 4 booziness ranges, together with virgin—although I might warn you in opposition to choose the highest stage, which may depart you with greater than 4.5 ounces of hooch in your glass and a nasty hangover the following day.

I used to be actually hoping that the Bev would do double responsibility as a push-button booze dispenser, the place I might pull a lever and have a shot of whiskey or gin produced with out having to cope with a measuring system, however sadly the Bev can’t do that easy feat. It’s cocktails or nothing, and the machine doesn’t do something with no Bartesian pod in place. A easy characteristic like this could give the system a bit further performance past making the comparatively restricted set of drinks that Bartesian provides. It in all probability goes with out saying that you may’t add your personal recipes to the system.

As for the cocktails, they’re hit or miss. They all veer towards being too candy—some overwhelmingly so, it doesn’t matter what power you choose—although in testing a half-dozen completely different pods, I surprisingly discovered the cosmopolitan to be the most approachable, adopted by the old style. The Long Island iced tea wasn’t half unhealthy, both, however reminiscence in fact will get a bit foggy from that time on.

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