Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig
"The drinks aren't particularly expensive, but they aren't that good either."
Makes drinks fast
Pods are recyclable
The mini CO2 canister is a nice touch
Long time to cool the water
Makes a buzz when switched on
Every now and then a product comes onto the market that makes us curious. Case in point: The Drinkworks Home Bar, which uses pre-mixed drinks in Keurig-style bowls for making classic cocktails. Fascinating, no? It's the kind of fancy machine you might see at a party that gets the host to mix it up instead of standing at the bar making drinks for guests. Just who is having a party these days? Not us. Still, could this be the answer for those of us looking to supplement our beer and wine consumption while locked down with cocktails at home?
Full bar service design
The black Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig looks stylish enough and has a black body, a shiny silver pod dispenser with a start button surrounded by a blue or red light (depending on what is happening). It's the type of appliance that would fit nicely on a Carrara marble countertop that's just above the wine cooler in a chic new kitchen.
At 13 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide and 13.5 inches deep, and weighing in at a whopping 27.9 pounds, the Drinkworks machine looks more like a Porsche Cayenne than a 911, so expect it to be takes up quite a bit of space on your counter. Remember, it shouldn't be placed too close to a stove or oven. If you don't have a lot of counter space, you may have to free up space by sacrificing another device (heaven forbids, not your coffee maker). You cannot use Keurig coffee pods in this machine. So just forget about the two-for-one idea that may be brewing up in your head.
The bar in stock
Once you've found a home for the Drinkworks, it's pretty easy to set up. There are three parts: the machine, the water tank and the drip tray. In the packaging you will also find two mini CO2 cartridges (they are really pretty cute), two water filters, cleaning tabs and a set of cardboard coasters with the name of a classic cocktail, a description and a little story.
In total it took us about an hour to assemble the machine and get it running. Setting up is more time consuming than difficult. For example, you need to run a water tank through the machine, immerse the filter in water and rinse it (change every two months) and insert the CO2 cartridge. You know, standard stuff. Make sure the CO2 cartridge is firmly in place, or you will hear a hissing noise. There isn't a ton of CO2 so you don't want to waste it on a bad installation.
Preparing cocktails hardly took any time – some call it a neat party trick.
Of course, like so many devices these days, there is a Drinkworks app. The app syncs with the device via Bluetooth, but there's not much you can do with it at this point. With the app you can register the device, watch videos, read tips, send recommendation codes and of course order more pods.
Once you have everything the way you want it, it's time to make a cocktail … right? Before using the machine, you must fill the tank with ice water and then wait 18 minutes for it to be ready for use. Don't worry, the countdown clock on the LED panel will keep you informed of the progress. When the device is switched on, it emits a low humming sound of 53 dB (similar to the sound of an electric fan).
Is there a bartender in the house?
As of this writing, there are 27 drink offers and a Stella Artois cider pod (I personally would like a bottle of this bowl, not a pod). Most cocktails only contain one to three ingredients and are admittedly quite easy to make at home. Think: Belarusian, Moscow Mule, Gin & Tonic, Vodka Soda with Lime. There are also some that are a bit more complex, contain more ingredients, and are time-consuming to make: Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Long Island Iced Tea, and a Margarita.
The pods come separately and you can recycle used ones through the company's mail-back program. We received our canister of pods as a delivery, and since there is really alcohol in the pod, you have to be of legal age to sign for it. Once you have the pods and the machine is set up, you can start making drinks. Simply pour into the pod, place a glass under the stout, follow the instructions on the display and watch a cocktail pour into the glass. It really is that simple. The drinks came out pretty quickly and we were able to make six cocktails on a full tank.
As with a Keurig coffee maker, getting the pod into use isn't always easy. Admittedly, it took us a few tries to understand how the sleeves must be inserted so that the machine can dispense its liquid into a glass. There was some confusion after reading the instructions on how to align the pod. Once we figured it out, cocktails barely took time to make. Some might even say it's a neat party trick.
Our test model contained three cocktails: Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned and Margarita. There are four pods in each container. Of the three drinks, we preferred the margarita because it tasted best like something a bartender would make. The Moscow mule was too cute and the Old Fashioned had a strong orange flavor. Typically this orange flavor is more subtle or just comes in the form of a side dish.
If you haven't tried a drink from the Top Shelf collection, you may not know the brand of alcohol in the pod. If I have an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, I definitely want to know what kind of whiskey I'm drinking.
We spent hours thinking about why you'd want a Keurig-powered cocktail maker and pony for up to $ 300 for it. Here's what we came up with: For those with disposable income, the machine is a novelty that would be fun at parties. Some people who like cocktails but may not have the confidence or know-how to make them at home might find the machine useful.
The pods aren't particularly expensive at $ 17 for four pods (just over $ 4 per drink), but ordering a few different mixes can get expensive very quickly. It's not the best cocktails we've had so the price is ok but we wouldn't call it a deal. In general, the cocktails aren't all that exciting for those who really know how their drinks taste, but others will appreciate the convenience they offer when making a drink. If you have to wait that long for the machine to prepare a drink from a hard stop to the end, the whole experience becomes a breeze. On the other hand, a drink can be dispensed quickly in about a minute if it is kept switched on and the water tank is full.
Is there a better alternative?
As this is a first of its kind, there is no other machine that we would call a better alternative. For those with a more refined taste, it's better to stock up on your own drinks and make some of the simpler drinks the old fashioned way … or, as you know, go to a bar.
How long it will take?
There is no information about how long the machine should last. The pods have a best drink date which is around nine months. The Keurig Drinkworks Home Bar comes with a one-year guarantee.
Should you buy it?
At $ 299, the short answer is no. Unless money is not an issue. At $ 16 for four pods, the drinks aren't particularly expensive, but they don't taste the best either. It's certainly expensive for a small countertop device that can get you in a distress if you need to drink frequently.
The convenience of making drinks at the touch of a button is sure to appeal to some people – even more to those who want a quick quick treat at home. The beverage portfolio continues to grow and includes more complicated cocktails, wines, and even beer.