We used this automated bartender machine to mix cocktails for a happy hour — and it didn’t disappoint

Barsys 360 mixing drinks during happy hour.
(Image credit: Future)

When you’re hosting a bustling party with thirsty guests looking for a mixed drink, the last thing you need is to stop what you’re doing to put together something for them. After all, robots and automated machines exist for a reason, letting you focus on other host duties, whether it's working the grill or socializing with your guests. That’s why we had the Barsys 360 smart bar fix up drinks for us during a recent office happy hour.

We’ve tried out other automated cocktail making machines, like the popular Bartesian Duet and even the ill-fated Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig, but there’s something much more satisfying about the Barsys 360. After seeing it in action for our happy hour delight, we’re convinced it’s the most practical, cost-conscious automated home bar system around.

Don’t get us wrong — it’s still a pricey investment at $475, compared to its most direct rival in the $369 priced Bartesian Cocktail Maker. But we’ll break down all the reasons why the Barsys 360 is better, especially when you think about the long term cost of owning it.

Barsys 360: pre-order now @ Barsys

Barsys 360: pre-order now @ Barsys
Finally, you can have an actual bartender at home mixing up cocktails with the speed and reliability of the Barsys 360 smart bar. You choose the ingredients you have lying around, it'll create a curated menu and mix those drinks in no time at all. 

You're in control of the menu


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First of all, you’re in total control of what the Barsys 360 makes. Unlike the Bartesian that requires you to use pods that contain the juices and mixers to create your cocktails, the Barsys 360 instead lets you create the menu based on what you have lying around. The average home isn’t stocked like a bar, which is why this is more practical — you can just go fetch whatever you have in the fridge and your liquor cabinet.

There are a total of six stations on the sides of the unit where you pour in your ingredients, and through the help of the companion app, the Barsys 360 will craft a menu that best suits the ingredients you’ve chosen. For our work happy hour, we had the choice of a margarita, tequila sunrise, cosmopolitan, or madras.

No waiting on drinks

Barsys 360 mixing drinks during happy hour.

(Image credit: Future)

Given the total number of people attending our work happy hour, one of the concerns we had heading into it was whether or not the Barsys 360 could keep up with the demand. Simple drinks on other home bars we’ve tested, like a screwdriver, would take about a minute to put together — while complex ones would take even longer. The last thing we needed was a bottleneck of people waiting for their drinks.

Luckily, waiting on a drink wasn’t an issue with the Barsys 360. In fact, we’d claim that it’s faster than a human at times with the way it pours its concoctions into a cup and mixes them. Sure, the easier drinks are dispensed in no time at all, but even a cosmo was just as quick — which is no easy feat to achieve because real bartenders take longer to make them.

Of course, the only thing you’ll need to be mindful about is making sure you’re not running low on your ingredients. With the Bartesian, for example, you need to have a healthy supply of pods — because without them, the bar is temporarily closed. But since you supply the ingredients, the downtime with the Barsys 360 is very minimal.

Long-term savings

Barsys 360 mixing drinks during happy hour.

(Image credit: Future)

As we’ve pointed out, the Barsys 360 doesn’t come cheap. While you’ll pay more upfront compared to other automated home bars, the true value of the Barsys 360 is found with its long term cost. Bartesian capsules average around $20 for an 8-count, whereas you could buy a Jose Cuervo Classic Lime Margarita Mix for around $5 online or at a liquor store.

What we’re getting at here is that you’re going to be saving more money in the long run, just like how it’s more cost effective to buy coffee grinds than K-cup pods. At the same time, you’re getting the same level of convenience because the Barsys 360 is doing all the mixing and pouring for you.

And you know what? The drinks it poured during our work happy hour tasted pretty good because it was using fresh ingredients, like the store-bought orange juice used to make tequila sunrises. We’d argue that it’s a little heavy handed with the liquor, but you can always tone this down through the app. 

When we look at all of these reasons, it really proves that the Barsys 360 is a legitimate home bar system that’s ready the largest of gatherings you might have at home (or work).

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.