Drink Like a Jetson: Automate Your Home Bar With Mixology Technology
Drinking is hard work.
There's all that mixing, bottle-opening, and pouring. Luckily, the distance between us and a blissful Jetsons-like future of automated imbibing is quickly closing. Whether you want a robot to mix you a Manhattan when you get home from that grueling desk job or a Japanese-invented contraption to sculpt the perfect ice sphere for your rare whisky, it's all doable. Some of these inventions can be in your kitchen tomorrow, while others require a little waiting. Either way, the future of inebriation is here.
Automatic Cocktail Maker: Somabar
Of the many cocktail mixing machines out there—yeah, there are a bunch, surprisingly not all in Skymall or the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog—Somabar is the only one I'd want to surround with my house guests. Six pods hold your spirits and mixers, and the entire contraption is controlled with an app on your phone or tablet. Drinks are fully mixed and chilled in the Somabar before being dispensed into the proper cocktail glass. There's even a special bitters infuser to keep your cocktail snob friends from sneering. $429 pre-order
Home Brew Made Easy: PicoBrew Zymatic
Maybe you're not much of a cocktail person and you're looking for a new summer beer to drink instead. With the PicoBrew Zymatic, you can make your own. The self-contained brewing machine eliminates the clumsy mix of kettles, tubes, and fermenters that you traditionally need to home brew. It handles whole hops and malt, so you're not limited to extracts and concentrates, either. Best part: You can program it with recipes from the Web and take all the credit when your friends love the suds. $1,999
Carbonate Everything: Sodastream Mix
If you own a Sodastream, you've definitely played the "let me see if I can carbonate that" game—and then blown up your machine. (Don't lie: been there, done that, and no, the wine stains didn't come out.) Luckily the engineers at Sodastream are as bubble-obsessed as you. Behold, the Mix. With a beautiful touch interface, the Mix lets you program the on-demand carbonator to put just the right amount of fizz into whatever you want to carbonate. Turn a bottle of white wine into makeshift Champagne or a Martini into, well, a sparkling Martini. Let the fun begin. Pre-orders starting soon
Jello Shots On-Demand: Jevo
The days of having to laboriously fill plastic cups with a slurry of powder and vodka hours before guests arrive are almost behind us: Jevo is an on-demand maker of Jello shots. It's a simple idea, albeit one that cost $3 million to create. The commercial version will crank out 20 chilly Jello shots from a mixture of booze, water, and Jevo's flavor pods in 10 minutes. The home version is sleek-looking, and while the website markets it primarily as a way to make gelatin snacks for your kids, we know you'll have more fun using it for yourself. Pre-orders starting soon
Home Bar Cred: Cirrus Ice Ball Maker
Leave it to Japan to take something like drinking a glass of whisky and turn it into an art. Chilling whisky with spheres of clear ice, instead of quickly frozen cubes, has been popular there for more than a decade—and ubiquitous at most any high-end cocktail bar. Why? Less surface area means more chill and less dilution. Now you can bring that cocktail cred home with Cirrus ice ball maker, with no carving technique required. You load a chunk of ice and the steel and aluminum press turns it into a perfect sphere. It might seem basic, but this is a serious piece of machinery. Just look at that carrying case. $1,099
Inhalable Booze: The Vaportini
You can now breathe your cocktail instead of drinking it—and you don't even have to go to London's newest pop-up bar. The Vaportini lets you heat up an ounce or two of your spirit of choice and sip the vapor with a straw. The set up is pretty simple: a glass globe sitting on top of a pint glass with a tea light candle. It's a lower-tech (and less impressive) version of the Le Whaf vaporizer, but the latter doesn't seem to be for sale any more. The Vaportini website contains some faux scientific hokum; ignore it and just enjoy your cocktail vapor. Kits from $35