Passengers on the Royal Caribbean’s latest luxury liner, Quantum, were treated with the sight of a bar with no bartender once they boarded. Instead, there were two robotic arms connected to a machine, a bionic bartender, which poured the cocktails from orders placed on handheld tablets placed on every table. Such futuristic drinking experiences are becoming increasingly visible, as per The Spirits Business magazine. It lists the existing robots who are replacing bartenders as technology enters the spirit of serving, literally! The one making the most waves is called Monsieur, an artificially intelligent robotic bartender, that its inventors call ‘an intelligent cocktail vending machine’. It does look like a hi-tech machine, something out of ET, complete with buttons and blinking lights. Monsieur is able to dispense up to 25 popular cocktails, but where it scores is in its memory, which allows the robot to remember the personal preferences of regular users. It also has the ability to connect via Bluetooth, so users can actually order their cocktail while en route via their smartphones and it will be ready for them by the time they arrive at the bar, or someone’s house, since Monsieur can be used for domestic use. Further, when cocktail ingredients run out, the machine will automatically email or text a local store to order more. The one on Quantum stores over 200 cocktail recipes and can assemble drinks with exact precision.
Then there is Butler3000, more suitable for homes, which is advertised as the world’s first commercial bar-tending robot. The Butler3000 offers 16 beverage combinations, which can be ordered using any smartphone or tablet. It features four bottles, which create the mixed drinks. Said to have been “created by bartenders, for bartenders”, the machine has a streamlined design meant for easy cleaning. Also in the mix, robotically speaking, is TenderOne, which its makers claim has the ability to create a choice of 200 bespoke cocktails at lightening speed and with incredible precision. Spirits and mixers are dispensed into a shaker separately through different lines and a touchscreen computer provides photos and finishing instructions. Already in use in Germany, the Netherlands and now the UK, the machine can be built into a bar or used as a standalone at parties. Finally, there is the home robot barman called Project Gutenburg, a reference to the fact that it’s makers, the French drinks group Pernod Ricard, have produced a cocktail-making machine disguised as a bookcase. The appliance has been created as part of Pernod Ricard’s “bar at home” campaign. Each book contains a sealed bottle of spirits and the robot, currently a prototype only, links to a smartphone app, which contains cocktail recipes and instructions.