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

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

The $250 Black & Decker Bev “corded cocktail maker” is sort 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 selection), 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 substances in the cocktail. So a margarita pod consists of lime juice, sweetener, and a few kind of orange flavoring—via 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 greater than 40 flavoring pods, every producing a unique cocktail starting from the easy old school to the advanced intercourse on the seaside and, sure, even the iconic Long Island iced tea. Eight-packs of pods are $20, and be aware you don’t get even a single freebie with the Bev.

The Bev shouldn’t be the most elegant of contraptions, however for those who requested me what a Black & Decker-produced cocktail making system would appear like, this is able to 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 gadget’s limitations. An ordinary Grey Goose bottle is just too tall to slot in the machine’s vodka slot, whereas a Patron tequila bottle has too broad a mouth for the hose’s rubber gasket to connect to it. So positive, you should utilize no matter spirits you’d like … so long as the bottles are the proper dimension. (You may pour that Grey Goose into an empty Popov bottle if you wish to hold it elegant, I suppose.)

The different large catch is that the Bev doesn’t do any shaking or stirring. It dumps the substances—at room temperature—right into a glass, after which you’re by yourself on the subject of chilling them and serving the drink. Initially I distributed all the substances right into a shaker stuffed with ice, then chilled them by shaking and at last depositing right into a serving glass, however ultimately I realized that stirring drinks in an ice-filled serving glass was far easier and produced roughly the similar outcomes with rather a lot much less cleanup. We aren’t speaking about craft cocktails right here, so some shortcuts are usually not going to kill anybody.

This method of working is particularly key for those who use the Bev in the solely method it makes any actual sense: As an attraction for a celebration the place folks make their very own drinks as a substitute of you. Toss a bunch of Bartesian capsules right into a bowl, present some normal directions, and let your friends have enjoyable with it. They’ll certainly take pleasure in the gentle present the Bev places on throughout the dishing out and the skill to “dial your strength” amongst one in every of 4 booziness ranges, together with virgin—although I’d warn you towards 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 gadget, 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 function like this is able to give the gadget just a little 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 individual 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 school. 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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