4 easy ways to improve Happy Hour

No need to tip the bartender with these clever mixology experts

The days of making rum and cokes or pouring a bottle of a syrupy, pre-blended cocktail out of a glass bottle can thankfully be in our past. Cocktail machines can crank out your favorite craft beverages in mere seconds. Some use pods or cartridges that contain all or most of the needed ingredients – even the booze. Other machines focus on delivering the perfect level of crushed or shaved ice while allowing you the freedom to customize the alcohol and mixer options. Either way, your happy hour just became double as joyous. Here are a few machines we recommend.

Drinkworks coffee maker
Forget about stirring and shaking. This unit from the maker of K-cups does the work for you. Drinkworks

What’s your biggest challenge when making a drink? Finding the recipe? Gathering up the ingredients? Making each cocktail consistently delicious? Keurig, the geniuses behind your morning cup of Joe, is back with an offering for beverages in the evening. The key is again the pod, which contains all the ingredients – including the alcohol. (You will have to purchase these separately.) Once a pod is inserted, the machine’s advanced technology determines how much water and/or carbonation to add. Likewise, the unit’s “KOLD” technology adjusts the drink’s temperature. All you have to do is enjoy the final product.

Buy: Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig

A Bartesian cocktail maker machine
Insert a capsule, set the drink’s strength and you’re all set. Bartesian

You supply the spirit, and this Bartesian machine does the rest. It uses capsules to create individual drinks – they’re recyclable and contain real fruit juice concentrates, bitters, extracts, and more. (They’re dated for freshness and sold separately.) You simply fill the glass bottles with the appropriate alcohol – the manufacturer says only five base spirits are needed. Set the desired level of strength, push a button and enjoy a drink.

Buy: Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine

Makes up to 2.5 pitchers thanks to an extra-large ice reservoir.

As far as we know, the king of Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett – didn’t have a song detailing the ingredients of his favorite libation as he did with cheeseburgers. (Generally speaking, most include tequila, some simple syrup, and your favorite citrus-flavored liqueur.) What’s important is that this model can create any frozen concoction you crave. An ice reservoir on top supplies the key ingredient – let your imagination supply the rest. You decide how many drinks you want, and a pre-programmed cycle does the rest.


Buy: Margaritaville Key West Frozen Concoction Maker

This heavy-duty, commercial grade machine can handle any thirsty crowd.

You’ve no doubt seen a similar double-bowled model in your favorite bar or cruise ship. Unlike competing machines, this will take between 30 and 45 minutes to get up to speed, but you’ll have enough drinks to last for multiple happy hours. It can make up to 100 frozen drinks – or simply serve as a cold drink dispenser for days when you need to take your fun down a notch. Eliminate the booze entirely and make fruity slushies for the whole family. The twin drink bowls are virtually unbreakable so your event can be care-free.

Buy: Bravo Italia Slushie Machine


Steve Spears is editor of Florida Travel & Life, an online brand that inspires active, affluent travelers, providing them with insider information on discovering the best of Florida. Informative and engaging, the website showcases travel destinations, arts and cultural venues, vibrant dining scenes, recreational activities, the great outdoors and the revitalized real-estate market. He is based in Orlando and counts St. Augustine, Key West and the Gulf Beaches among his favorite destinations in the state.


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