The Lazy Drinker

We test the robo-bartender's prowess at mixing classic cocktails

When we heard about the LazyDrinker cocktail dispensing device, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven. What could be better than a gadget that simultaneously satisfies our geekiest urges and quenches our thirst for delicious alcoholic beverages? So, we hastily emailed the company and asked them to send us one. A couple weeks later (they custom build each unit), we received our fully assembled machine-an Igloo cooler retrofitted with pressurized valves, hoses, a motherboard and data cables, and a CO2 tank.

See how we set it up and put it to good use in the following slideshow.

by John Mahoney

After work one evening, we pitted the machine's prowess against Martha's using three cocktail recipes: a margarita, a classic Manhattan, and a Hearst. The LazyDrinker made margaritas and Hearst cocktails faster than Martha could, but our panel of judges (Ed-in-Chief Mark Jannot and executive editor Michael Moyer) found Martha's to be slightly more subtle and delicate in flavor.John Mahoney

by Megan Miller

Our LazyDrinker was stocked with Rittenhouse rye, Ketel One vodka, Plymouth gin, Patron tequila, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, Cointreau, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, and Peychaud's bitters.Megan Miller

by John Mahoney

When it was time to make the classic Manhattan, however, the LazyDrinker totally choked up. For some reason, it wouldn't allow us to pour that drink, even though we had plenty of liquid left, proper CO2 pressure, and even tried reprogramming the cocktail just in case user error was a factor. We finally decided that the machine would be best used for easier-to-mix drinks like lemon-drop shooters or B52s, and that next time we'd leave fancy cocktails to the pros.John Mahoney

by Megan Miller

The LazyDrinker is an easy enough system to set up if you're into DIY projects. All you have to do is connect the hoses and program the included software with the beverages you plan to use.Megan Miller

by Megan Miller

Then you pour your liquors and mixers into plastic liter soda bottles (so the threads on the included cap assembly match up perfectly) and hook them up to the corresponding tubes.Megan Miller

by Megan Miller

The next step was programming the drink recipes. This was not as easy to do as one might hope. While the software is basically user-friendly, there are a few small glitches. Each bottle had to be calibrated to the weight of the liquid inside to assure that the correct amount would flow forth, and for some reason the program kept defaulting to a user called "Admin" who was apparently not allowed to pour drinks.Megan Miller

by John Mahoney

Overall, the LazyDrinker fared pretty well on a 1-5 taste-test scale with average scores for the margarita (2.5) and Hearst (3), while Martha's drinks earned average scores of 3 and 3.5 respectively.John Mahoney

by Megan Miller

The machine's software came stocked with hundreds of recipes for concoctions with names like "Waborita" and "One-Eyed Slut," but we're a high-brow bunch (and we charged our booze to the corporate card), so we decided to program it with several classic cocktail recipes dredged up by our resident liquor historian, associate editor Martha Harbison, who mixes amazing beverages but admits that she "drinks like an old person."Megan Miller

by Megan Miller

We discovered by trial and error that you can't leave any hoses open or the system will become depressurized, meaning you'll lose CO2 and end up with very small pours when the liquor trickles weakly out of the spigot. Associate editor Joe Brown masterminded this solution-tying off the extra hoses.Megan Miller