Founded back in 2002, “Tales of the Cocktail” has become an event that focuses on the art and science of cocktails, spirits, and the hospitality industry. We had the privilege to work with our friends at Marriott International to spice up their libations experience at the All Kinds Cocktail Bar in New Orleans – a special pop-up at the W Hotel for Tales of the Cocktail 2023.
Marriott is always on the hunt for new and exciting spirits and tech to test out at Tales of the Cocktail. Each year should top the last, and some of their favorite concepts might make it to Marriott hotels in the following years.
The best of the best are at this event – mixologists, spirit brands, you name it. Everything at Tales is top shelf, so the experiences need to match “the sky’s the limit” mentality. Marriott designed The Singularity for their All Kinds guests – the future coexistence of human interaction and AI. Artificial intelligence is front-of-mind these days with the release of Chat GPT 4 and Midjourney.
While some take a more Terminator style approach to viewing the future with AI, the Marriott team wanted something fun and memorable. One feature of the pop-up was a robot sculpture, printing out AI-generated poetry.
Marriott flies in their top mixologists from hotels across the globe for Tales of the Cocktail annually. They each brought their very own cocktail recipe and style from cities like Brisbane, Miami, and Scottsdale. Supplied with the best liquors from Bacardi, Arbikie, Roku, and more – these mixed drinks were ready to be the talk of the town.
With dozens of masterfully curated drinks to choose from, how are you to choose the best one for you? Marriott was already interested in a Split Flap rental for this event, and the AI concept paired perfectly with our recommendation engine technology.
Now comes the part where we really hand it over to the robots. An interactive control panel, The Algorithm recommends the best cocktail, based on your preferences. Here’s how it works:
- Move the faders to describe the drink you’d like.
- Press a button to select a spirit
- Check the Split Flap display for your recommendation details
- Scan the QR code on the Algorithm for more info on the drink and the mixologist
- Pick up your drink behind the designated door!
The faders do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to figuring out the perfect drink for you. Input your preferences on a scale: dry to sweet, low acidity to high acidity, not bitter to bitter, and easy drinking to spirited. The available spirits are listed as five-button options: whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, and agave. The sixth button is reserved for the truly adventurous drinkers: a complete surprise!
For Tales of the Cocktail, The Algorithm ties to a 7 Row by 24 Column Split Flap Display behind the All Kinds bar. After selecting your spirit type on The Algorithm, the Split Flap rotates to the cocktail that is best suited for your tastebuds. It’ll also inform you of the specific door number where you can pick up your drink. Your cocktail, artfully prepared, then miraculously appears behind an automat-style door. The drink names suited the occasion including the Short Circuit, Ex Machina, and Virtual Insanity.
This is where the robots hand it back over to the humans. Behind these doors are where the mixologists are making the drinks (often in under 60 seconds!) before turning a light on to alert the user that the drink is ready. The guest then opens the door and retrieves their drink.
The results of this activation are fascinating. We quickly found out that people enjoyed exploring the cocktail menu with the use of The Algorithm’s “Surprise Me!” button. Very rarely do we trust ourselves in saying that to a bartender – we found many people were more interested in trying something new after selecting their flavors. In the end, and through all of this technology and mixology, The Algorithm stood out as an engaging, interactive experience.
The All Kinds pop-up was an artfully catered experience utilizing cool, new technology. AI has been taking the world by storm and Marriott capitalized on the concept at Tales of the Cocktail. Their vision for using humans and AI to serve cocktails through a mid-century automat was elegant and intelligent. Did Marriott crack into our utopian future?