As reported by The Drinks Business, Smart Spirits is a new drink dispenser, but it's not a cocktail maker. The device holds a grain neutral spirit, and Keurig-style pods are used to change that neutral spirit into tasting like various liqueurs and base spirits. It produces spirits meant to taste like everything from brandy to amaretto to Irish cream to coconut rum.
It's a strange concept because it doesn't make mixed drinks, and includes mixing instructions like, " For the party goer in you try mixing it with sparkling Moscato style wine and strawberry soda. Add more strawberries for a great way to start the evening."
The other thing that stood out to me what that though this is a new high-tech app-controlled device, the concept of using one base spirit to fake the taste of other spirits goes way back.
The second half of Jerry Thomas' Bar-Tender's Guide from 1862 contains "Manual for the Manufacture of Cordials, Liquors, Fancy Syrups, etc." Many of these recipes, like the ones for gin, simply rely on neutral spirit plus flavorings. Others water down other base spirits with neutral spirits, or add flavoring to other spirits.
And to be honest, neither the old method nor the new one sounds too appealing.