Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Alexa gets in the drink-making mood with Bar Cart

If you have dreams of being an expert drink slinger at your next party, Alexa might just help.

Most of us aren’t going anywhere this year — thanks Coronavirus — but that doesn’t mean we can’t see our friends and host the odd party or two, at least here in Australia.

It’s not the same in every part of the world, but Australians can now look forward to hosting parties with friends and family over the holidays to see this year off, and that may mean a bevy or two might be served. While you can always crack open a cold one or pour a nice glass of Australian white or red — because there’s just so much to choose from made local — if you’re thinking of having something a little harder, you might be eyeing the idea of making cocktails.

Cocktails can take some effort and time, of course, but if you have a smart speaker, you might be able to call on one of the smart home assistants for a bit of help, thanks in part to something being launched by Diageo, the brand that owns Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Lagavulin, Johnnie Walker, and the Bundaberg varieties of liquor. It’s a concept that sees Alexa become a bit of a bar hand, and encourage folks to assemble drinks on their own.

Called “The Bar Cart”, it’s an interactive bar cart of sorts, essentially providing users of Amazon Echo and Alexa-compatible speakers with a way to mix classic drinks thanks to a set of instructions sent their way over voice. The Bar Cart will include 12 cocktails, including a classic G&T and a Tanqueray negroni, as well as scotch & lemon highball, all of which use the drinks found in Diageo’s brand stable.

Users don’t have to use these specific brands, however, and could use any grade of the spirit to make these drinks, though a representative for Diageo told Pickr that “recipes have been designed and tested in collaboration with drinks experts, using the brands mentioned, for the optimal drinks experience”.

Do with that what you will, but it does mean a cocktail assistant is available on voice assistant once the skill for it is enabled on your Alexa app, and then run when you say “Alexa, open The Bar Cart”. We’re also told there will be Spotify playlists linked to the app.

One thing that Diageo hasn’t thought of is support for Amazon Echo models with a screen, such as the Echo Show and Echo Spot. While there’s at least new model of the Echo Show out in 2020, there are no pictures to show you whether you’re making the cocktail correctly, as this is an all-audio experience, at least at launch.

It’s also only an Amazon experience, with a representative telling Pickr there are no plans currently to make this for Google’s smart devices. That’ll mean if you want to try this take on the assisted bar cart, you’ll need an Amazon device, and only an Amazon-enabled device.

Fortunately folks with one of those can try that now, with the skill enabled this week.

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