Skip to Content

Why Your Next Cocktail Will Be Premixed

Sometimes, we all feel the need for speed—more often than not at happy hour. Already trendy among cocktail bars in Japan, U.S. bartenders are increasingly turning to pre-made and bottled cocktails to cut down on wait times at bars.

New York City’s Existing Conditions has been serving Martinis, Manhattans, and “Cinema Highballs” (buttered popcorn-infused rum and Coca-Cola) in bottles from a vintage vending machine since opening last summer. Partners Dave Arnold and Don Lee say they plan to expand the service to more drinks, but also suggest that bottled cocktails could become popular for at-home entertaining as they’re easy to have ready for multiple guests in advance.

Dante, an all-day café and bar with roots dating back to 1915, has been pre-batching cocktails since the establishment underwent a makeover in 2015. The inspiration, according to Dante’s creative director Naren Young, was speed—especially for the restaurant’s signature negroni menu. Some are stored on the back bar, some in the speedwell, some in the fridge, and some in the freezer.

And customers don’t seem to mind—or even notice—that their cocktails weren’t always made to order. “I don’t think customers care either way,” Young says. “What they want is to get a drink in their hands quickly, which puts everyone at ease and sets up the right pace for their experience.”

A version of this article appears in the April 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Your Next Cocktail Will Be Premixed.”