Because of my bartending history, I’ve been getting sent articles about a cruise ship adopting a robot bartender pretty often.
It’s pretty adorable looking (sort of something that would be in Wall-E) and is a cool, novel concept.
From Royal Caribbean:
The robot can garnish, shake, and everything. Passengers would order from a tablet.
I didn’t think too much about this because it didn’t shake my bartender sensibilities. Why not replace a bartender at a slower-yield bar with a robot?
After all, when bartending, there were shifts where I made practically nothing. This was offset by my weekend shifts. But apparently no one wants to go to a jazz martini bar on a Tuesday when there’s no jazz.
But then I started researching the concept a bit more and started looking at this through the framework of being a traveler.
There are some prototypes being developed that are more efficient ways of making drinks than this robot. Basically, an instant coffee machine but with liquor instead.
The Monsieur is a boxy tabletop device that works like a vending machine for cocktails. Punch in your order on a colorful touchscreen or order from your phone, and the machine will blend liquor with mixers and pour them into your cup. When fully equipped, Monsieur can make up to 300 types of drinks.
This machine can even recommend drinks to you based on time of year and what type of event you are at.
Irish and love to let everyone know you are Irish? It can make an Irish related shot.
So for someone like me, who enjoys traveling and having accurate cocktails, it seems like this would be a huge plus.
There’s no greater cocktail pet peeve I have than a bartender who thinks a cosmo is a vodka-cranberry served up.
But there’s something about this that makes me feel like I would enjoy my travels less. I don’t particularly chat with the bartender. I drink at bars while reading. And I do love an accurate cosmo.
But something that I can’t quite put my finger on makes this feel a bit empty. Maybe it’s that if I traveled around the world and sat at a bar, only to have my drink made by a robot, that there’s something unfulfilling about it?
I’m not sure.
What do you think? If you arrived in Paris/Hong Kong/Bemidji, Minnesota and had a robot drink made for you–a completely accurate drink that was everything you wanted–would it take away from the experience?