The Magic Ingredients Behind Bartesian Cocktail Capsules

Who says you must go bar-hopping or visit cocktail lounges to enjoy a decent mixed drink? In this era of high-end coffee and tea pods and capsules, with brands ranging from Keurig to Nespresso and beyond, it was only a matter of time before on-demand cocktails became a reality. This is exactly what happened in 2019 when the Bartesian Cocktail system debuted its first machine and capsules, aiming to deliver tasty, classic cocktails at the touch of a button.

What's inside those capsules, whether Bartesian or other similar instant-cocktail machines, matters a lot when it comes to taste. Many "real cocktail" aficionados are hesitant to dive into these booze-laden waters, leading to the question: What, exactly, is sealed beneath those mysterious foil-sealed capsules — and what isn't? 

To start, let's get this one out of the way: There's no alcohol whatsoever in the flavor-filled Bartesian capsules. Instead, you add the liquor of your choice to a tube-style container, along with water. Then, the Bartesian machine mixes it all into a cocktail. To maintain a bar-quality taste, the capsules contain genuine bitters, extracts, and juice concentrates instead of synthetic versions, and they're free of artificial sweeteners, ingredients, or coloring agents.

Flavors and ingredients

Ingredients in each capsule are concentrated, designed for reconstitution with your added water and alcohol. The Bartesian machine automatically chooses and measures the proper amounts based on the capsule you insert, and the cocktail options include margarita, Long Island iced tea, tequila sunrise, mai tai, and more.

The exact ingredients in each capsule vary, but each one adheres to the basic premise of using real flavors, extracts, and fruit juices. From there, the list spans different concentrated flavoring possibilities, with nutrition and ingredient details individually posted on the Bartesian company's website. 

For example, a classic amaretto sour capsule contains water and sugar, along with apple and lemon juice concentrates, natural flavors, fruit juice for color, citric acid, and two preservatives. A cupid's arrow features both fruit and vegetable concentrates, including clarified guava juice, while a ginger peach iced tea contains peach juice concentrate and black tea essence. You can also build your own bar by selecting cocktail capsules based on your preferred spirits.

You can still customize your cocktail

The Bartesian flavor capsules are shelf-stable, but they won't necessarily replicate the same taste as fresh ingredients used by a professional bartender. However, if you already use liquid cocktail starters, this can be a big step up, as the flavors are natural and haven't been sitting in pre-mixed concoctions chosen by manufacturers. Compared to ready-to-drink bottled cocktails that include the liquor, the Bartesian and other similar systems offer more choices. For example, you can instantly elevate the drink by using your own premium or craft-style liquors. Adding your own fresh fruit or herb garnish can further enhance the flavor and visual appeal.

Customization is an integral part of any cocktail-making experience. The Bartesian offers five spirit options, which include tequila, rum, whiskey, gin, and vodka. A barcode on the capsule informs the Bartesian machine which cocktail you wish to make, allowing you to choose one of four desired strengths, ranging from mocktail to light, regular, and strong.