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If you haven’t already heard about it, the Bartesian Cocktail Maker is the coolest cocktail maker out there. Basically like a Keurig (actually, more like Nespresso) of cocktails, this appliance literally makes your favorite drinks at the press of a button. We had the chance to review one ourselves: here’s our hands-on experience with the Bartesian machine.
If you’re looking for the best way to make cocktails for beginners, want to spend more time with your guests and less time mixing drinks, or hate keeping a lot of ingredients on hand the Bartesian machine is a great at-home bartender for every type of drinker.
We don’t judge here at Aspiring Winos, so if you’re looking to graduate from the simple Jack and Coke or prefer to spend time sipping over mixing you’ve come to the right place!
What is the Bartesian Cocktail Maker?
To kick things off, know that we’re huge fans of the Bartesian Cocktail maker. Especially since it also works as a Margarita Machine. So full disclosure, this review comes from an emphatic recommendation for this machine. We love cocktail making, and everything that goes into the craft. But, we also understand that there’s times when you want delicious cocktails, without all of the pomp and circumstance.
The Bartesian is a totally foolproof solution for making cocktails you’ll absolutely love. All you need to supply is your favorite brands of liquor and this machine does the rest! It mixes your spirits with pre-portioned pods filled with the concentrates, flavors and other ingredients you need to make cocktails.
We love the variety this machine brings – without the need for a cabinet full of bitters, flavors, mixes and tools.
The Bartesian is a stand up, intelligent cocktail and margarita making machine. It’s a countertop appliance, but it sits atop your home bar easily. (It actually fits perfectly on my Ikea bar cart.)
We love the appearance of this cocktail maker. It’s visually simplistic, and elegant with a clean and functional design. It will fit seamlessly beside your barware and spirits, while complimenting the style of almost any bar or cocktail setup.
Glass bottles supply the necessary spirits to the machine. What’s even better is just how simply this thing works. Just by inserting a drink pod, you’re only a button press away from a fresh, delicious cocktail.
We’ll explore some more of the features and upsides to this fantastic machine in depth.
Bartesian Cocktail Maker Models
There are currently three different models of the Bartesian you can choose from:
The Bartesian Cocktail Maker
- Comes with 5 spirit bottles
- Has 4 slots to load with spirits (rum and gin share and get swapped out)
- Compatible with all cocktail pods
This is the model we have on hand for our review.
Duet Cocktail Maker
- Comes with 2 spirit bottles
- Has 2 slots to load with spirits
- Not tall enough to accommodate high balls like Long Island Iced Tea
- Smaller than the other models
Professional Cocktail Maker
- Comes with 5 spirit bottles
- Has 4 slots on 2 tiered displays to load with spirits
- Larger reservoirs than the other 2 models for both water and spirits
- Bottles can be locked with the included 2 keys
Ease of Use
We touched on this above, but really it doesn’t get any easier than this when it comes to making cocktails. As someone who loves a good mixed drink, I cannot understate how handy it is to have the Bartesian on hand when I want something special.
Initial set up only took about 5-10 minutes, and that included opening boxes, washing the bottles, and filling everything. Seriously, so simple.
How the Bartesian Cocktail Maker Works
- Fill up the 5 included glass bottles with whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, and tequila.
- Load the 4 slots. (Note: gin and rum share a spot.)
- Fill the water vessel.
- Put the pod into the machine.
- The barcode tells the machine what you’re making and it will give you instructions (eg. glass size, ice, etc).
- Put the glass under.
- Choose your strength.
- Start the machine.
- A progress bar will show up as your drink mixes automatically.
Once the machine is set up you’ll only need to refill the alcohol and water containers as needed. The one exception is the gin and rum slot; you’ll need to swap these drinks out depending on what you’re making.
What’s truly impressive about this machine is how it delivers your cocktails. This maintains the best possible taste for your drinks by ensuring that there’s no crossover flavors being transferred between drinks. How does it work? An automated cleaning cycle takes place as soon as your drink is finished being made. It keeps each drink as clean and balanced as it was intended.
For a more thorough manual cleaning, the rest of the components are completely dishwasher safe. This is a key part of the Bartesian’s design; making it that much more simple to use and maintain.
Quality Of Materials & Features
With its price tag we thought it was important to highlight the overall build quality of the Bartesian. As a big preponement of “buy once, cry once”, I value well-made products that last.
Overall, the Bartesian did not disappoint in this department. It really feels like a high end machine.
One thing I would like to see is a better warranty, though. The machine is guaranteed to be free of manufacturing defects for one year, but if you want a longer warranty you’ll have to purchase the extended protection plan.
Depending on your machine, 2 or 4 bottles hold spirits and mixes necessary for making your cocktails. These are incredibly easy to refill, durable, and well designed. These are premium grade components that are easy to clean. They’re also dishwasher safe, which I love.
Not only do they feel sturdy, they’re also a great size so you’re not going to be refilling constantly. Plus they look nice too!
No complaints in this department, especially because the unit comes with 5 bottles: one for each alcohol the drink pods support.
Water is used for two things in the Bartesian: 1. To add liquid to cocktails (the pods are concentrated) and 2. to self clean. The reservoir is large enough that you’re not going to be running to the sink every other drink; something especially handy if you have a dry bar.
I also found it easy to fill and replace. This is a big deal for me since one of my biggest pet peeves is how annoying my Keurig is to refill.
These also feel premium in quality and design. We’ll talk more about taste in the next section, but in terms of quality they’re really top notch. First impression comes from the packaging, which clearly indicates what alcohol is needed and protects the pods from damage during shipping. Beyond that, they’re easy to put in and remove from the machine.
They’re also fully recyclable, which is very important for single use products.
Finally, I really like the box design. I know it’s a small detail, but they look great on the shelf!
Removeable Bar Mat
I feel this needs its own section in this Bartesian review because the bar mat is so nice. The rubber feels extremely high-end; they definitely didn’t cheap out on that part of the design. Your glass doesn’t slip at all!
This is also the only area that got a bit messy during our testing. Not because the machine is messy, but because I was too excited and grabbed the cocktail before it was done dripping.
Thankfully, this isn’t a design flaw. The machine catches any drips. When it gets too dirty you can just remove the bar mat, give it a rinse, and wipe the area. Easy-peasy!
Attention to Detail
When you use this machine you really feel like Bartesian thought of everything. Every step of the process is easy, straightforward, and intentional. Any user, even without instructions, can easily make a cocktail in the Bartesian; it’s that intuitive.
Some small details that stood out:
- The glass bottles are labelled on the lids and on the machine slots, but not on the glass (easy to identify but also looks nicer)
- It tells you what size glass to use so you don’t need to worry about overfilling
- They’ve taken the fact that you’re mixing warm alcohol into consideration by suggesting you keep the pods in the fridge and use ice
- When you take the pod out it’s not messy
- You can choose your drink strength from mocktail to strong
Variety and Taste of Cocktails
Why limit yourself to a machine when you otherwise have infinite cocktail options? Well the Bartesian has all your basics covered, so with the exception of super unique concoctions your average cocktail drinker is going to find something with the Bartesian’s cocktail selection.
This product is still relatively new, so they’re always add new flavors. They also have limited edition seasonal options.
Some of the classic cocktails you can make with your Bartesian:
- Margaritas (regular and a variety of flavors)
- Old Fashioned
- Tequila Sunrise
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Amaretto Sour
- Whiskey Sour
Some unique cocktail options:
- Espresso Martini
- Pineapple Sage Vodka Still
- Penicillin Cocktail
- Great Gatsby
- Bee’s Knees
- Rum Swizzle
Special Diet Options & Nutrition
This is one area where the Bartesian is currently lacking, but I’m optimistic as their selection grows so will their specialty options. If you have certain dietary restrictions, particularly diets that involve low sugar, there aren’t a lot of options. Since most of the drinks are made with juice, folks on a low carb, diabetic, or low calorie diet won’t find many options.
Another important note is the nutrition and allergy information isn’t readily listed on the website with the products. You can find it on their site in the FAQs, but that isn’t convenient.
That being said, they do list everything including preservatives and sulfites, which I appreciate.
As a cocktail fan, I was really skeptic about how the Bartesian would taste. Could it really recreate the flavors of some of these drinks? Especially for drinks that would usually include extra liqueurs like Triple Sec.
I was pleasantly surprised with how good the Bartestian cocktails were!
I sincerely couldn’t tell the difference between the Bartesian Margarita and one you get from the restaurant. Especially when I used their rimming salts (which were awesome).
Here’s a few things to note when it comes to the tase:
- Bartesian pods use real ingredients (eg. concentrated juice) so they taste authentic
- The quality and brand of your alcohol matters; be sure to choose the right product for your drink
- Garnish makes the drinks feel like more of an experience
Look, I’m the kind of guy who orders doubles so I really don’t mind tasting the alcohol. Anne on the other hand has the taste buds of a teenage girl, so we need to make sure her cocktails taste like juice and nothing else.
Thankfully, the Bartesian serves us both.
Whether its for taste or reducing your alcohol intake, you can choose between mocktail, light, regular, or strong for your drinks. And let me tell you, it’s accurate. I made a strong Long Island Iced tea and it was strong. Oops. The regular tasted just right.
You also get the perfect measure every time so you know exactly how much you’re drinking.
The Bartesian isn’t just for alcohol! While that’s its best use case, it doesn’t leave out anyone when it comes to making fancy drinks. If you prefer non-alcoholic drinks, just choose the “mocktail” option on the screen when making your drink and it will come out alcohol free.
This means that kids, pregnant people, designated drivers, sober folks, and anyone who doesn’t drink can enjoy a “mocktail” with everyone else. And yes, they’re good!
As a Margarita Maker
If you’re considering the Bartesian as a home margarita maker it’s definitely a viable option. First of all, they have a few different margarita flavors, which is great. And their regular margarita flavor is so good too.
Second, it’s great for both chilled and frozen margaritas. For the chilled, follow the recipe as usual. For frozen, you’ll need a blender to pre-make the blended ice. Then “mix” your pod into the ice for an instant frozen margarita!
Accessories & Garnish
Besides the pods, you can also order a variety of accessories and garnish options on the Bartesian website. They have holders for the pods (love that!), cocktail shakers for speciality drinks, and even rimming salts.
We tried their margarita rimming salt and it was really good. Coated nice, tasted great, and the container was the perfect size.
I also like that you can order replacement parts. If enjoy your Bartesian a little too much and accidentally break a glass bottle it’s no trouble to order a replacement.
Is the Bartesian Expensive? Our Review of Costs
At first glance, the Bartesian cocktail maker looks like a hefty price tag for something that’s arguably a luxury item. Fair point, especially when an entry level cocktail shaker kit will run you about twenty bucks. If you’re not super rich, how can do you justify the cost of the Bartesian machine?
When we did this review of the Bartesian maker we also took time to review the costs. Without sugar coating it: yes, this machine and the pods are pricey. But it’s all relative; here’s some pricing information that really shows why the Bartesian is worth every penny.
Cost Savings Compared to Going Out
If you’ve ordered a cocktail from a restaurant lately you know exactly what I’m talking about here. Going out is expensive, especially if you like to order cocktails or visit upscale locations. Even the dive bar in my local area charges a good $7-10 or more for a simple mixed drink.
The cost savings will really depend on how much you drink. Apparently the average American adult drinks about 705 drinks per year, but I doubt most of us are spending around $5000 drinking at bars. Let’s say, instead, you only order 5 cocktails a month.
In all fairness, Applebee’s is running $6 summer drinks right now. I guess it’s perfect timing to compare to our Bartesian Margaritas! One of theme features Dwayne the Rock Johnson’s new ultra premium Teremana Blanco Tequila, which I recently tried and enjoyed. But I digress.
I couldn’t find how much alcohol is in these, but given the regular version of the Bahama Mama is 1.25oz, let’s go with that. Your $33 bottle of fancy the Rock tequila is 750ml, or just over 25oz. So twenty 1.25oz drinks.
Bartesian drink pods at the best value are $2 each. That puts us at $3.65 a drink. Yes, Bartesian is even cheaper than Applebee’s!
But if you’re like me and don’t really like Applebee’s, you’re probably spending $8-10 or more a cocktail. If a cocktail with 2oz of alcohol runs you $10 at your local haunt, you’ll save an average of $4-6 per drink, depending on the alcohol used. $5 savings per drink will pay for your machine in just 74 drinks. And that’s all before you factor in the cost of food, gas/Uber, tips, etc!
Run the numbers yourself with your favorite restaurant or bar cocktail and see the cost savings for yourself.
Barestian Cost VS Cost of Making Cocktails at Home
Everything sounds cheap compared to restaurants, but what about folks who already make your own cocktails? The truth is, the cost savings in this department is going to vary wildly depending on what your habits are.
To figure out the costs compared to your current set up, factor in everything that goes into make a drink outside of the alcohol (since that cost won’t change.) Do you buy a lot of bitters, mixers, etc? Are you a beginner stocking a new cocktail bar?
Some costs aren’t financial, though. What about the value you place on spending time with friends? Or how much joy you’d get out of being able to enjoy a variety of cocktails without much hassle? Don’t forget the convenience of always having ingredients on hand.
Saving Money on Bartesian Products With The Subscription and Rewards
We can’t talk about the Bartesian’s costs without mentioning the subscription and rewards program. When you sign up for the subscription you choose how many packs of capsules you want and they’re shipped automatically each month at a discounted rate. If you choose the best value plan it drops the price considerably – plus shipping is free.
You can manage your subscription so there’s no locking in. That means you can change cocktails out each month (get those seasonal options!) or even skip a delivery. One HUGE perk of the subscription is the savings on accessories: If you have an active subscription accessories are 50% off.
I strongly recommend the subscription to get you started when you first buy the machine.
All your purchases also earn you reward points that can be redeemed for discount vouchers.
Bartesian: Pros and Cons
You’ll Need Less Equipment
The Bartesian really does everything for you so you won’t need to buy anything special to use it. That includes a cocktail shaker, stirrer, etc. On top of that, you also won’t need to dedicate space to all of that. The machine isn’t tiny, but it’s certainly not cumbersome either.
It comes with everything you need, including 5 labelled glass spirit bottles and a removeable bar mat.
Less Food Waste
I don’t know how many times I’ve bought a bunch of cocktail ingredients only to throw them out later because they were purchase for a specific recipe. If you like variety, the Bartesian saves so much food waste.
Perfect for Entertaining
Rather than having to spend time mixing drinks for guests the Bartesian makes it easy for anyone to make their own drink. The time saved is a huge perk!
Makes Bar Quality Cocktails at Home
If you’re a beginner or not into making cocktails this machine takes away the temptation to go out simply to get that perfect cocktail.
Mess and Hassle Free
We can’t state enough how easy this machine is to use. Not only that, it’s also super clean both when you use it (no accidental spills) and for clean up (almost none).
While the Bartesian is cheaper than going out and comparable to the cost of making cocktails at home, paying for the machine and a variety of pods upfront does make it a big purchase. Tip: watch for sales or ask for it as a gift.
We love our Bartesian all year ’round, but summer is where it’s at. Especially because it makes a mean Margarita! Because it’s all self contained, the Bartesian is a natural fit for the patio, camper, or even the boat. The only issue? It does need power to work. Keep that in mind when planning your purchase and set up location.
While I really like the subscription model for the capsules it definitely could be improved in terms of options. Right now you can only order a set number (2-8) of the 8 capsule boxes, shipped monthly.
It would be nice if they added higher quantities since the 32ct box is a better value, as well as a “create your own” bundle that lets you choose the individual pods. I’d also love a mystery box option!
I’m not always very good at planning ahead and currently Bartesian doesn’t have their pods in a wide variety of retail stores. The subscription is designed to mitigate this, but if can still happen if you have last-minute guests coming over.
Bartesian Cocktail Machine FAQs
Bottom Line: Is the Bartesian Worth It?
As you can see, we definitely recommend the Bartesian. Everything about this machine is perfect for cocktail lovers of all skill levels. That includes both beginner mixologists and seasoned cocktail fans.
Thanks for checking out our Bartesian cocktail maker review!
The Bartesian is the ideal way for you to achieve that cocktail lounge feel in your home! It comes highly recommended from us for its ease of use, and ability to introduce you to lots of cocktails with minimal fuss. For an easy night in, this cocktail machine is one of the easiest recommendations we can make! To share pictures of your Bartesian machine in action, tag us on Instagram (@aspiringwinos)!