ISSN 2052 0603
Issue 38 / Summer 2021 Ingredients for more than just great drinks
THE ART ISSUE
For further information contact Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution Limited. Tel: +44 (0) 333 016 1910 Web: Edrington-BeamSuntoryUK.com
COCKTAILS. SOME PEOPLE JUST SEE A DRINK IN A GLASS, WE SEE COMPLETE WORKS OF ART Like an artist, bartenders use their shaker or mixing glass as a palette to mix their ingredients, and like artists, their canvas is the glass. And let’s not forget the artistry that goes into balancing flavour, colour and aroma, or the inventive ways they bring their creations to life. This issue celebrates all of those things. We start by talking to five bartenders who trained in the arts before answering the call of the bar (p. 20), and head to East London where Remy Savage brings a philosophical perspective to his latest project – a series of carefully conceived venues inspired by entire art movements (p. 28). It’s over to Norway next to find out how Paul Aguilar Voza and Maroš Dzurus from Himkok in Oslo have used art in the ether to create a world’s first with their latest drinks menu (p. 46). But it’s not just about new tech; we doff our caps and highlight some of the most clever and creative menus from the past few years (p. 48). What else? There’s glassware to make your drinks ‘pop’ (p. 38), a look at some of the amazing collaborations with drinks brands and famous artists (p. 52) and bars with art at the forefront of their interiors (p. 60). John Collingwood talks about the art business he started up during lockdown (p. 36) and we showcase a gallery of show-stopping serves (p. 40). Virginie Boulenger, art programme curator at studio be-poles is In The Hotseat sharing details of the outstanding art programme she and the team have brought together at NoMad London and telling us why art and hospitality make the perfect mix (p. 18). We hope you’re as inspired by their work as we are. Happy sipping!
Ms S & Mr G
@cocktaillovers The Cocktail Lovers - 1
5 \ in the know
25 reasons to be a cocktail lover this season
18 \ In the hotseat
Sipping the hits and stirring things up – just a few of the things we’re looking forward to in the next couple of months
With Virginie Boulenger, art curator extraordinaire
20 \ in the spotlight 38 \ indulge 11 \ in the know The drink
Raise your glasses for the perfectly balanced Artist’s Special
13 \ in the know
Art of the matter
Best in glass
Five drinks pros with a background in the arts
Glassware to make your drinks ‘pop’
28 \ in the spotlight Oh, Savage!
Talking Bauhaus, bars and big ideas with the creative force that is Remy Savage
40 \ in the mix
One gin brand where artistry is firmly in focus
14 \ in the know
Drinks with ‘ooh’ appeal
46 \ in focus
Find out how Ago Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani are channelling Jackson Pollock in their latest charity initiative
16 \ in the know The place
Why everyone is talking about the recently opened NoMad London
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Getting digi with it
36 \ in the spotlight Hapney ever after
John Collingwood on his new art business focusing on the beauty of cocktail ratios
Cocktails get sent to the ether in a brand-new menu
Sandrae Lawrence Gary Sharpen
Office Manager/ Tereza Singh
Sub editor/ Laura Hill
James Cheverton at Burnt Studio burntstudio.com
48 \ in focus
John Collingwood Virginia Miller Millie Milliken Jane Ryan
How art has shaped some of the most iconic cocktail menus
52 \ in focus
54 \ informed
Clever brands and cool artists make for inspiring and collectible drinks labels
Restaurants where the drinks are as good as the food
The art of drinks
Mains & Martinis
For all editorial and advertising enquiries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 020 7242 2546 thecocktaillovers.com
56 \ informed Word up
News and views from the cocktail front
60 \ international Drawn to the bar
Printed by Stephens & George Distributed by Gold Key Media Reproduction in whole or part of any contents of The Cocktail Lovers Magazine without prior permission from the editors is strictly prohibited. The Cocktail Lovers Issue No. 38 Summer 2021
Drinks destinations where art is top of mind
64 \ in parting
All details of bars featured in this issue were correct at time of going to press. Please see individual websites for up-to-date information.
All hail the Bartist!
Spotlight on the gorgeous work by Dan Collins
The Cocktail Lovers magazine is published by The Cocktail Lovers Ltd in London, UK PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
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Millie has been writing about the hospitality industry for 10 years. Formerly deputy editor at Imbibe UK, she now writes for both trade and consumer titles including Club Oenologique, Master of Malt, VinePair and Whisky Magazine, and is also a judge for the People’s Choice Drinks Awards. She is the Community Manager for The Drinks Trust charity’s new member platform, the Drinks Community.
Jane cut her drinks journo chops working with the Difford’s Guide UK team in 2012 and has been writing about drinks and the people making them ever since. As well as writing, she’s worked in some of the best bars in London, if not the world, including Satans Whisker’s, Callooh Callay, Milk & Honey and Cub. Now living and working in Australia, Jane contributes to a variety of publications including CLASS, Drinks International and The Cocktail Lovers.
In this issue Millie takes a look at some of the most imaginative menus – past and present, at home and abroad (p. 48).
With her arty hat on, Jane highlights some of the many great artist/drinks brand collaborations (p. 52).
John started his career working for a wide range of bars in the north of England before joining the team at Brown-Forman, where he worked for six years. In 2012 he joined Fling Bar Services as a consultant and is now Operations Manager, conducting over 90 contracts, developing and opening the world’s luxury hotels, resorts and bars in 27 countries.
Virginia regularly covers dining, spirits, cocktails and bars globally for a wide range of publications, including Liquor.com, Where Traveler, Haute Living, Time Out, Distiller Magazine and Gin Magazine. Having visited over 20,000 bars around the world, she’s regularly called on to judge cocktail, spirits and bar competitions.
John’s latest venture sees him embracing his passion for the arts in a brand new business. Find out more on page 36.
For this issue Virginia highlights bars where art is very much on the agenda (p. 60) .
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in the know
Reasons to be a cocktail lover this season...
No one does bonkers quite like Lewis Carroll in his classic children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Which makes it the ideal reference point for creative minds to run riot. And we’re not just talking children. ‘Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser’ showcases works from some of the biggest names from a variety of mediums, including paintings by Salvador Dalí and Peter Blake, fashion from Vivienne Westwood and costumes from the National Theatre and the Royal Ballet. The team at Paradiso in Barcelona (paradiso.cat) are renowned for creating drinks with equal measures of escapism, wonderment and joy. Put them on your travel wish list, and lose yourself in the theatrics of their serves as you marvel at the inventiveness of the drinks. Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser is at the V&A, London until 31 December. vam.ac.uk
A Mad Tea Party, Salvador Dali, 1969. © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS 2019
01 \ Taking a trip to wonderland
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in the know
Sharpening our pencils
Hey popsicle lovers, keep the heat off this summer with a cocktail, frozen on a stick. Cooloo Cocktail Pops come in five flavours: Piña Colada, Paloma, Mai Tai, G&T and Cosmo, sold in packs of 12. Get yours from cooloo.com
Building up to painting on canvas? Start with Angas & Bremer’s Colour in the Wines labels. Dig out your pens, decide on your colour scheme and get arty filling in the stylish monochromatic lines – there’s a glass of wine in it for you when you’re
…or make them for yourself. Check
…and the gizmos
out With Alcohol Anything is Popsicle:
to make them in?
60 Frozen Cocktails by Jassy Davis,
Get kitted up with
…and the next step? An online art class.
these Absolut Icy
With drinks. Book your two-hour slot
Martini Moulds from absolutelyxboutique.
and, as well as the paints, you’ll receive
your drinks delivered before the virtual
07 \ Drinking apples from cans Eating apples is great but sipping them from the delicious new cans from the team at London’s Coupette is even better. Blending five varieties, all pressed, filtered and carbonated, with extra appley-goodness coming from Calvados, it’s the perfect picnic tipple. coupetteshop.com
EIGHT Lying back with a drink
See those curves? See that special angle of the lip? The Relaxx Mug has been designed with horizontal drinking in mind. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep while your cup is full. relaxxmug.com
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09 \ Calling the shots
Don’t settle for any old coffee in your cocktails. Taste the difference in the Single Estate Espresso Martinis from Harvey Nichols, taking in beans from Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Nicaragua…
in the know
…but if you want the gist of an Espresso Martini without the alcohol, try these. Espresso Martini Suckers, both from harveynichols.com
TWELVE Getting the party started
Checking into Hampton Manor To check out the Sipple Cocktail Tasting Menu. Comprising six drinks created to highlight the life stages of plants, it takes in everything from seeds and roots to stem and fruit, served with a platter of treats in the stunning walled garden. hamptonmanor.com
Forget faffing around batching cocktails for your summer parties, The Drinks Drop have you covered. Their new three-litre Bag-in-Box sharing cocktails provide 20 serves – and as they’ve been created by six top UK bars, rest assured, your guests are in for a treat. thedrinksdrop.com
Keeping hydrated With a classy but cheeky water bottle. Seletti Wears Toiletpaper Printed Thermal Bottle, amara.com
Going designer retro For this brilliant new contraption: part robot vacuum cleaner, part beer cooler, it will certainly be put to good use. molsonbrewmboni.ca
Sipping the hits Never mind the bollocks, we’re talking That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Greatest Hits of Whisky, a finely tuned collection of 10 miniature drams packaged up in one of our fave gift sets. Now that’s what we call a number one choice. amazon.co.uk
Putting our names on the waiting list
We’re loving the selection of carefully restored cocktail trollies and cabinets at Conscious Cubby. Choose from what’s on offer online or commission a piece to match your interior; either way, you’re in for something unique. conscious-cubby.com
SEVENTEEN Refreshing our walls
With some cocktail art. Find yours at printedoriginals.co.uk
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in the know
Forget the traditional Americano, this year it’s all about The Australiano: two parts Regal Rogue vermouth and one part modifier, topped up with soda water. Find the recipes at regalrogue.com/theaustraliano
eighteen \ The Chocolate Smiths make nextlevel bars. Fact. Our latest obsession is Bahama Bizarre: creamy white chocolate guarding a gooey, rich rum, coconut and caramel centre. Yum! thechocolatesmiths.com
twenty ONE Being cool with hot bevvies
Like, really. Afro Cool Mug and Coaster Set, gardenofdelights.co.uk
22 Stirring things up The key to getting your cocktail mixed justso. Unlock Trouble Bar Set, oka.com
Reliving Legacy The catchiest tune of the year? The Dixon Brothers and Dukus track for Bacardí Legacy 2021, no question. Watch the video, hear the song and see if you can stop yourself moving. youtu.be/vUyPcmZFQ1s
Enlisting a helping hand Like this. Helio Hand Bottle Holder, audenza.com
24 \ Turning Japanese
Part memoir, part drinking guide, part recipe book, The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and
Laying it on thick Spreadable Mojito: the taste of summer on toast. firebox.com
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Michael Anstendig is a must-read for anyone interested in the art of Japanese bartending. amazon.co.uk
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in the know
Artist’s Special \ Taste, colour, texture, the Artist’s Special has it all. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its name. Created in the equally delightfully sounding Artists’ Club in Paris, circa 1927, it’s a drink with real depth in flavour, hue and history. If you like whisky sours, you’ll love it. 30ml blended scotch 30ml oloroso sherry 15ml fresh lemon juice 15ml redcurrant, grenadine or raspberry syrup Lemon twist, to garnish Method: Shake all ingredients hard over ice. Double strain into a chilled Coupe or wine glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Recipe and image courtesy of Cara Devine. Find out more at behindthebarwithcaradevine.com, youtube.com/behindthebar and Instagram @withcaradevine
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in the know
Ago Perrone & Giorgio Bargiani \ Art has always been a source of inspiration for Ago Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani, not just in their personal lives but in the way they approach the creation of their drinks in London’s Connaught Bar. The Number 11 Martini is a case in point. Taking cues from Jackson Pollock’s numbered action paintings, the drink is presented in bespoke Coupes, each hand-decorated by the team. Enjoy it in the bar and/or buy a limited-edition set for yourself, available from the Saatchi Gallery *. the-connaught.co.uk saatchigallery.com *Proceeds support the arts and cultural sector.
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Join us as we share what we’re drinking, where we’re going, products we’re trying, the drinks books we’re reading and all manner of cocktail-loving goodness. Plus, we’ll be talking with top movers and shakers in the cocktail world. And giving away some fab prizes. To find out how to listen and subscribe visit thecocktaillovers.com/podcast or scan this QR code.
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in the know
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in the know
NoMad London \ As if the exquisite food and drink offering and cool, sexy interior design weren’t reason enough to have NoMad London on your radar, know this: with over 1,600 collected and commissioned works by a cross-section of British and international artists, it’s as much a gallery as it is a sumptuous five-star hotel. Whether you’re mulling over a Martini, chowing down on the tastiest chicken dish or relaxing in one of the opulent rooms, you’re never far away from an original artwork. Discover pieces from Swiss artist Catherine Denervaud, who uses her body to paint, photography from Martin Parr and specially commissioned works from the Royal Opera House across the road. For more on its curation and to find out why art plays such a pivotal role in hospitality, see p. 18.
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in the know
The bottle Purist Gin \
Bruce Walker calls his Purist Gin ‘The Art Gin’. With good reason. Each batch features a label designed by an emerging independent artist. Exciting for fans of the gin but great for the artists – not only do they have a platform for their work (you can also purchase prints from the Purist Gin website), they receive a percentage of the sales. puristgin.co.uk
in the know
In the hotseat
Virginie Boulenenger, art programme curator for studio be-poles on telling stories in hospitality through art
Art has become increasingly important in bars, restaurants and hotels. When do you recall this shift first coming into play and what do you put it down to? The shift was probably initiated with the trend of a new kind of hospitality about 15 years ago: smaller properties, inns and guesthouses that had a greater residential feel to them and forced the larger properties and industry to review their offer and reconsider their approach. They realised that their identity could not only be conveyed through good graphics and marketing but should be felt as a whole 360-degree experience that encompasses a more global and personal visual impact on guests throughout their stay. For be-poles it all started with NoMad New York in 2010.
Apart from visual appeal, what are the benefits of a bespoke art programme in hospitality venues? For the guests, the experience is more intimate, residential – the stay is emphasised via the art journey. It’s more enriching and distinct than being in just another hotel room. For the brand, the opportunity for expressing its identity and storytelling becomes broader. It gives the brand a new medium for expressing its narrative besides the brand identity, the architecture, the interior design. The bespoke art programme becomes an opportunity to invite guests further into the brand storytelling, giving them the opportunity to feel more emotionally invested and connected.
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in the hotseat
The hotel’s public spaces aim to evoke the feeling of walking through a collector’s home
And what’s more important, curating an art programme that makes a connection with the guest or one that conveys the philosophy of the brand? The whole challenge of a bespoke art programme is to combine both – convey the philosophy of the brand and establish an emotional connection with the individuals who experience it. You work to a process that you’ve coined ‘narrative design’. Describe what it means and how it sets you apart… ‘Narrative design’ describes how we translate the brand philosophy, history and pillars into a story that is deployed via perceivable and non-perceivable experiences throughout the guest’s relationship with a brand. The selection of artworks displayed on the wall or laid on the floor, the materials that make up the space, the choice of paper, the logo, the lighting, the crockery, the furniture, the proximity to others, the quest for sincere emotions, serenity or creative effervescence, the sound of the sea or a turntable, the colour palette used – all these points of contact, though they may seem anecdotal, are considered and designed with the same energy to form a distinct narrative. How does the process come into play in your work for the NoMad properties? Tell us about the way you approached the US outposts to unite them but also give them their unique personalities… be-poles’ partnership with Sydell [the group behind the NoMad hotels] began a decade ago when it was developing the first NoMad in New York City. Sydell CEO Andrew Zobler
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was captivated by the Johnston Building, at the time an unpolished gem of BeauxArts architecture at 28th and Broadway, and sought to highlight the design dialogue and cultural interchange between New York and Paris in bringing the hotel to life. He selected celebrated French designer Jacques Garcia for the interiors and in searching for a studio to create the visual identity for the brand, he was drawn to the work, philosophy and overall vision of Paris-based studio, be-poles. (Virginie works freelance for be-poles as art programme curator). The studio was called upon to bring its French sensibility and modern eye to the NoMad brand identity in 2010, and a fruitful collaboration began. As they began to explore the identity design together, Zobler fell in love with be-poles’ Portraits de Villes series and together they began to explore how art curation could add layers to the story and experience of NoMad. The NoMad art programme was born. With the growth of the brand, both Sydell and be-poles realised how the bespoke art programme had been a grounding pillar for the success of the property and the brand. As NoMad has grown into Los Angeles, Las Vegas and London, be-poles has continued to have a deep influence on the expression and evolution of the brand and of the meaningful stories that contribute to the soul of NoMad. We curated collected and commissioned works for each hotel, telling a rich and layered story centred around a sense of place and a passion for exploring the world, uniting the properties together. Among the other pillars of the brand were the building and the neighbourhood, which became an inspiration within this storytelling, allowing each property to be a part of the brand yet have its own identity. And on to NoMad London… Again, there is harmony in the narrative but a completely different energy to the US sites. What was the story that you wanted the art here to convey? The art programme for NoMad London celebrates the influence of post-war
American art and European avant-garde, exploring the exchange of creative ideas between London and New York. Old-world references are inspired by the origins and rich history of Covent Garden, as well as by Victorian-era artists, including Turner who was born in the neighbourhood. The hotel’s public spaces focus on an intimate point of view, as seen through the lens of a New York art collector, emphasising stand-alone masterpieces, collections and series of works. In a continuous narrative from the public spaces, the art programme in the guest rooms and corridors focuses on the post-war American art movement and its influence on today’s emerging artists. The lens of a New York art collector is pursued through a rich and eclectic collection of art, both in its content and display. In NoMad London, you’ve brought together an incredible 1,600 pieces of art. How do you go about sourcing on such a massive scale? With the same passion and intensity as for a small art programme – just with a larger timeframe. Our first art programme was curated for the NoMad New York property, with 168 guest rooms. Knowing that we could curate and custom-frame individual pieces at such a scale gave a strong sense that it was possible at any scale. It was lucky in a way; if we had started with a small project, we might never have launched ourselves into anything massive. Which three pieces/collections in NoMad London are you most proud of and why? The large piece by Caroline Denervaud near the reception desk – this was produced in situ at an early stage when the building was in full demolition works, which brought a special energy to it. Denervaud’s work is an iconic part of this art programme. Her pieces are an homage to the action painting movement, exploring the process of creation and the performance in making art and linking the surrounding neighbourhood of performance spaces, including the Royal Opera House and the theatres nearby. The series of artwork by American artist Julie Green in the Magistrate’s Bar is the
in the hotseat
most powerful. From the viewer’s point of view, they seem to be beautiful paintings of Victorian china dishes, yet they are depictions of the first meals prisoners have when they regain their freedom after having spent years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. Their layers and depths are incredible. A more confidential artwork would be a 1972 pencil drawing, Two Different Views, by Louise Kramer, an American artist who was known for working in a wide range of media, from printmaking to drawing, sculpture and site-specific installation. This piece is situated in the basement area and epitomises the pleasure of treasure hunting – we bought it in a warehouse in a remote place in Queens, New York. Which piece would you most like to add to your personal collection and why? The question is difficult as each piece is carefully and purposefully curated and a coup de coeur. Among a long list of pieces I would love to own, the triptych commissioned from the Australian artist Kristian Hawker, which is installed behind the reception desk. Approximately 90,000 small ink circles represent an embrace in an abstract way, almost like a mapping. It was finished a few weeks before the pandemic started and carries a sense of time gone by. Please describe how the art has been curated to change the mood/energy flow throughout the various communal spaces in NoMad London. The hotel’s public spaces aim to evoke the feeling of walking through a collector’s home. The main foyer, lobby and reception area showcase two large masterpieces by Caroline Denervaud. Such a performance combining dance and drawing, her art pays homage both to the proximity of the Royal Opera House and the post-war expressionist movement. Denervaud’s pieces show graphic traces left by deliberate dance movements, a perfect introduction to the expansive collection of unique pieces featured throughout the hotel and in every guestroom.
salon groupings that aim to celebrate the connection with the Royal Opera House and capture the neighbourhood’s nightlife. The Magistrates’ Courtroom (right), a tall, internally focused, historic room, showcases a large-scale mural commission by French artist Claire Basler, whose subject is gestural rather than pictorial and conveys a sense of beauty and tranquillity during those magical moments at dusk or dawn. The photographs in the Side Hustle display a series of Californian vibes through the work of photographers Travis Jensen, Megan McIsaac, Kevin Weinstein and Julien Roubinet, to complement a series of police force photographs by British documentary photographer Martin Parr. Parr is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, documenting the social classes of England, and more broadly the wealth of the Western world. The Magistrate’s Bar showcases Julie Green’s poignant and brightly coloured ‘first meals’ series, while the private dining rooms’ art programme continues the conversation with the neighbourhood, reflecting on past and present Covent Garden through a mix of archive photographs by Clive Boursnell, 18th- and 19th-century verdure tapestries and architectural drawings, and gestural abstract and constructivist drawings. Any tips for choosing art for creating the best environment for hospitality? Besides contacting/hiring be-poles? Think of the overall narrative you wish to convey: how is this collection telling a story? How do the pieces connect to the viewer and overall space in which they live? Do the pieces coexist and breathe on their own?
The hotel’s public spaces focus on an intimate point of view, as seen through the lens of a New York art collector, emphasising stand-alone masterpieces, collections and series of works
be-poles.com thenomadhotel/london To read our full review of the NoMad London, see thecocktaillovers.com
The library presents a series of photographs, drawings, sketches and oil paintings in
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in the spotlight
Art of the matter
It should come as no surprise to learn that many bartenders have a background in the arts – just like the drinks they make, art is multifaceted and comes in many forms. We talk to five movers and shakers who always have art on the agenda
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in the spotlight
Laura Brady Co-owner of Groovy Fluids, World Class Netherlands Winner 2021 and Bartender at The Duchess, Amsterdam
Tell us about your artistic talent/passion: what is it, when did you discover you had a talent for it and who, if anyone, inspired you in the early stages? There are many things I enjoy about art. It’s so multifaceted. It’s engaging, critical, provoking and moving, and it comes in so many different formats. You can both escape reality and be forced to face it with art. I wanted to be an artist because I wanted to feel part of a community that doesn’t set boundaries. I can’t tell you where the initial inspiration came from or the exact moment that I decided that oil was the media for me, but my childhood bedroom still smells like turpentine and I find fresh motivation every time I enter an art space. Did you study the subject to university level, or take it to a professional level?
LB \ I like to think I use
my art background to elevate my profession wherever I can, which happens subconsciously more than consciously
I began with a BA in Fine Art, which I took to an MA in Contemporary Curating at Manchester School of Art. It was 2017 when I finished my MA, the same year I started bartending. Why did you make the transition to drinks? For a very similar reason that I transitioned into curating from fine art: I enjoy working with people. Curating was a way of meeting and conversing with more artists while working within a creative community. Bartending was a way of building a diverse community around me, meeting new people every day, and supporting my own creative output through cocktails. How has your art background translated into your career as a bartender? I like to think I use my art background to elevate my profession wherever I can, which happens subconsciously more than consciously. Recently I’ve been linking the two by taking an art school method of making paints and applying this process to food waste, from cocktail production, to make dye pigments – meaning I can make paints from leftovers. This is the first time I’ve intentionally linked art and bartending.
How, if at all, do you think your artistic background translates into your drinksmaking style? As a painter I transitioned into colour layering and reduced expressions of detail, by stripping back scenes to their main structural elements and emphasising these. I feel like I apply a similar process to cocktail creations, by manipulating flavours from a select few ingredients and building a profile based on these. A classic ‘less is more’ approach, with a layering of thought behind it. Do you have any other artistic outlets? I love to paint, I always have. I understood my love for it when I read Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, this idea of doing something to find a void. When I paint, I don’t think about anything other than what I’m painting; it’s a perfect way to find peace and balances out a profession that at times can be consuming. With cocktail creation I’m essentially considering others, while painting is thoughtlessly instinctive. Where are your favourite bars for artistic expression? Growing up my father used to tell me that “everything is art” and he’s right. You can find artistic expression in most bars because the output can be so diverse. I remember feeling blown away by the Artesian Moments menu [in 2018]; it carried so much sentiment with it and united a room full of strangers by prompting their conversation topics with the selection of a cocktail. Like an artwork is the centrepiece of an exhibition, the cocktail became the centrepiece of the evening. Here in Amsterdam, Rosalia’s Menagerie put similar thought into their menu creation and their cocktails strongly reflect that. groovyfluids.com
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in the spotlight
Patrick Fogarty Co-owner, Doctor Ink’s Curiosities, Exeter
When and why did you make the transition to drinks? My art foundation tutor said that to study jewellery at CSM “you need a doublebarrelled surname and a trust fund”. While this is not strictly true, the course is certainly not cheap; to pay my way I took a job in a club called Legends, in Mayfair, and trained under Richard Hargroves (LAB co-founder). On returning from Australia in 2000, I returned to Legends and then progressed on to its sister venue, Abigail’s Party, as a manager. Alongside this, during the day I had a workshop in Hatton Garden and pursued my jewellery. How has your art background translated into your career as a bartender/owner? As my bar career progressed – and slowly took over – designing always stayed with me, working with architects, designers and bar owners to create unique bars and drinks. In 2008, I assisted with conceptualising Bureau in Kingly Court in Soho, spending a year from start to launch on every detail.
Tell us about your artistic talent/ passion: what is it, when did you discover you had a talent for it and who, if anyone, inspired you in the early stages? As a kid I was obsessed with nature and was always drawing it – nature has always influenced my design. While studying an art foundation course, I couldn’t decide on my speciality subject to study at art school. I was torn between choosing product design, sculpture, or jewellery and silversmithing. However, after visiting the Musée des Arts Décoratifs on an art trip to Paris, I came across the ‘Beyond Time’ exhibition of Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe, a designer/goldsmith for Georg Jensen who had realised all three disciplines using silver as a medium. Did you study the subject to university level, or take it to a professional level? I studied jewellery at London’s Central Saint Martins (CSM) for three years. On leaving, I was offered an opportunity to work at Georg Jensen. This led me to Australia, in 1998, where I met Vivianna Torun a year later when she was exhibiting in Sydney. I later left Georg Jensen to work alongside Torun as her assistant – this experience, both with her design and work ethos, has influenced my career ever since.
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I left Soho to take over – with my wife Dee (at the time, a singer) – a jazz restaurant and bar called The Naked Turtle in Sheen near Richmond. After six years, we then moved to the West Country, where I designed and built an American bar/restaurant called The Bronx Bar & ‘Cue. Following this, with my new business partner Tom Cullen, I have designed and built Doctor Ink’s Curiosities in Exeter and Halulu Bar in Teignmouth, with plans for a new seaside restaurant in late 2022 in Torbay. Building bars uses the same skills as making jewellery but the tools are bigger and I have a greater tolerance for error in measuring when making. How, if at all, do you think your artistic background translates into your drinksmaking style? Having a jewellery background gives me an almost obsessive attention to detail and research; every drink has layers of hidden meaning and narrative. This translates not only into the actual drinks themselves but into creating some of the serveware and the design of the menus for Doctor Ink’s Curiosities. Take Iolanthe’s Lantern [right], for example. This was made by myself and is a replica of Sir Joseph Swan’s original electric light experiment. Swan invented the light bulb (not Edison as popularly misconstrued)
and he had the first electrically lit private house. London’s Savoy Theatre was the first commercial building in the world to use his revolutionary bulbs to light the stage, and the first performance to premiere at the Savoy was Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe, a tale of forbidden love and fairies where their wings and wands were lit with tiny bulbs (and the term ‘fairy lights’ was born!). The drink we serve in Iolanthe’s Lantern is an aperitif cocktail of the type you’d have prior to watching a performance. Hidden at the base of the glass vessel is a fairy light bulb that lights up, dimming or brightening on touching the metal, giving the guest the surprise and wonder that people would have experienced on first witnessing light bulbs. Do you have any other artistic outlets? I am constantly being creative with every part of the business, whether conceptualising new drinks lists, designing new bars or developing new products and brand designs – alongside spending time with woodwork, metalwork, ceramics and upholstery to achieve all of the above. Where are your favourite bars for artistic expression? Three bars that have influenced me most over the years are The Savoy’s American Bar, PDT (Please Don’t Tell) in New York and Oslo’s Himkok. All three are so different visually but all have exuded an attention to detail, from their venue design and drinks to their menus and staff training, that just makes my inner geek swoon! doctorinks.com
in the spotlight
Soran Nomura Drinks and Bar Consultant, Tokyo
Tell us about your artistic talent/passion: what is it, when did you discover you had a talent for it and who, if anyone, inspired you in the early stages? Since I was a kid, I loved drawing and painting all the time. I was really inspired by the movie, Yellow Submarine by The Beatles; I watched it when I was in primary school and was blown away by the bright colour combinations. Did you study the subject to university level, or take it to a professional level? I studied arts when I was in high school in Tokyo and at an art college in London. When and why did you make the transition to drinks?
Do you have any other artistic outlets? I like to take photos with film. I prefer film over digital because, although it’s harder to master, it’s always exciting to see how it turned out in the end – you can’t control the outcome. Where are your favourite bars for artistic expression? In Japan, there are many bars that are very artistic and conceptual but I think the best is Bar Benfiddich, in Tokyo. This place is Mr Kayama’s art world! The glassware, lighting, all the herbs he uses, the homemade liquor… every single detail is spot on. If you haven’t been yet, you must! abvplus.com
I spent (nearly) all my savings when I was studying English and art in London. I desperately needed to make money so I started bartending.
SN \ I realised I loved
the way you can layer flavours and thought that was very similar to painting. When you are painting, you mix the colours on your palette and that exact same thought process was always in my head when creating cocktails
How has your art background translated into your career? I think it was the garnish game that felt very similar to the art-making process. Then a few years later, I realised I loved the way you can layer flavours and thought that was very similar to painting. When you are painting, you mix the colours on your palette and that exact same thought process was always in my head when creating cocktails. How, if at all, do you think your artistic background translates into your drinksmaking style? I like sculpture and three-dimensional objects, so glassware and garnish position are important. I also approach taste threedimensionally, like the balance of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and umami flavour.
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in the spotlight
Ivy Mix Co-owner of Leyenda, New York, Cofounder of Speed Rack and author of Spirits of Latin America, published by Ten Speed Press was a sculpture project discussing the falsities of photographic representation. I moved to New York in 2008 after I graduated, thinking I was going to be an artist. I had several studios and did a number of residences. I thought I was going to go to grad school and get an MFA [Master of Fine Arts]. But after working at the Gagosian gallery for a few months, I was incredibly turned off by the art world. When and why did you make the transition to drinks?
Tell us about your artistic talent/ passion: what is it, when did you discover you had a talent for it and who, if anyone, inspired you in the early stages?
How has your art background translated into your career as a bar owner? I can argue that my drinks can be too cerebral. Frequently I want to get across an underlying thesis in a simple drink. But drinks should be tasty and beautiful. I believe that I think about flavours in different ways. We are taught from an early age to describe a million shades of green but we have a limited vocabulary when it comes to considering taste. My art background has made me more fluent in describing flavour and using that to create drinks.
Did you study the subject to university level, or take it to a professional level?
Do you have any other artistic outlets?
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I recently went to Handshake in Mexico City and loved how they put little spotlights on their drinks rail to highlight the gorgeous cocktails. They are already beautiful but the way the directed ray of light shines through the liquid really elevates them. I loved it! Mostly, though, I like my bars a little more low-key.
As I was living and working in NYC, working at the gallery, I had to bartend and serve at night to make money. When I finally got a job as a cocktail waitress, I had an ‘aha!’ moment: I could be creative and make money, what a novel idea! It was a different art form, less for the eyes and ears, more for the mouth and nose. And that doesn’t begin to take into account the art form of simple hospitality.
I was raised by two artists: a glassblower and a textile designer. I was also raised in a Waldorf school that specialises in teaching through creativity. Rather than standardised tests and rigid teaching, we were taught through colouring, movement and painting. The result is I am horrible at maths and spelling but I think I’m well versed in thinking things out creatively. Between my parents and my education, I ended up an artistic soul.
I went to college to focus on photography and ended up with a degree in fine art and philosophy. My interests in art became less about simple photography and more about fine art; I was particularly into minimalism and abstract expressionism and started treating my photographs as such. My thesis
Where are your favourite bars for artistic expression?
I got rid of my art studio when I opened Leyenda. I still take photographs but it’s not the same. I really scratch my art itch by going to galleries and reading art reviews. I find that viewing and discussing art can be just as rewarding. Writing my book was also a great creative outlet.
IM \ I was raised by two artists: a glassblower and a textile designer. I was also raised in a Waldorf school that specialises in teaching through creativity
in the spotlight
La’Mel Clarke Bartender at Lyaness, London
Tell us about your artistic talent/passion: what is it, when did you discover you had a talent for it and who, if anyone, inspired you in the early stages? I think I was one of the last generations of teenagers who grew up with MTV being a major part of their cultural influence. There was a show called America’s Best Dance Crew that aired on MTV and it was during the first season I decided I wanted to pursue professional training, so I took myself down to Pineapple Dance Studios and started classes. Did you study the subject to university level, or take it to a professional level? I studied dance for two years at The BRIT School. While I was there, I also joined two dance groups where I was able to venture out into the professional world of dance and choreography. At university I actually studied English literature.
LC \ When I’m making
art, I always like to think of the ‘why?’ and that has definitely been an approach that has bled into the way I make drinks
When and why did you make the transition to drinks? I got my first bar job while I was at university, after being fired as a street charity fundraiser.
How, if at all, do you think your artistic background translates into your drinksmaking style? When I’m making art, I always like to think of the ‘why?’ and that has definitely been an approach that has bled into the way I make drinks. Deconstructing inspirations, influences and technical processes, in order to understand how to transform them into the final product, is a thread that links my dance career to my bartending career. Do you have any other artistic outlets? I occasionally write poetry and spoken word. Where are your favourite bars for artistic expression? In no particular order, London’s NoMad, Tayer+Elementary and A Bar With Shapes For A Name. They’re all pretty stylish in their approach, whether it’s the physical layout, presentation of their drinks or even the staff uniforms. I really appreciate a strong visual that is carried throughout a brand and venue. @lalalamel_
How has your art background translated into your career as a bartender? I think having a completely separate pool of experiences to pull from has been the biggest win. I definitely see things in a different way.
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Mastering the way “There’s a reason classic cocktails are classics, they’re great drinks right?” So says James Bowker, House of Suntory UK Brand Ambassador Sushi Instructor Izumi Nakamura and Japanese seasoning expert Stuart Turner create a sushi masterclass to explore balance and seasoning.
“We’re not looking for bartenders to reinvent something that already works. It’s about subtle changes.” It’s this insight that is at the heart of the programme he was instrumental in creating last year and which, in 2021, is helping bartenders refine their skills in unique ways.
During the Toki day, Erika Haigh, Sake Sommelier and owner of London’s Bar Moto, joins with Jonathan Kleeman, Head Sommelier at Restaurant Story, to teach the art of flavour matching. Concluding the series, the Hibiki session sees Urasenke Grand Master, Genshitsu Sen, curate a tea ceremony masterclass, centring on hospitality and the guest experience.
“When we were talking about the things that great bartenders wanted it all came down to a desire to grow their knowledge within their community.” The result is the House of Suntory programme, Dojo, which literally translates as ‘a place to master the way’. And that place is to be found via a series of very special online and in-person bartender masterclasses. Inspired by the three key pillars of House of Suntory – Hibiki (in harmony with nature), Omotenashi (the experience of Japanese hospitality and culture) and Monozukuri (elevated Japanese craftsmanship) Dojo is a first-of-its kind programme. Engaging with bartenders, it aims to improve their skillset and deepen their understanding of the philosophy and customs that embody House of Suntory. It originally launched online last year with sessions as diverse as science and philosophy, and indeed continues to reach an online audience through the Dojo Academy. For 12 hand-picked bartenders it now also means an exclusive experience as Dojo Senpai, or ‘senior students’, as they join four unique oneday masterclasses at the inspirational Japan House in Kensington, London.
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Crucially, Dojo is all about practical application, which brings us back to James’s observations on classic cocktails and how the Japanese approach can be subtly applied to them.
Each of the four masterclasses is aligned with a product from the House of Suntory portfolio: Roku and Haku, craft gin and vodka, respectively; and Toki and Hibiki, two exceptional blended whiskies. The sessions are led by James himself, and he is joined by traditional Japanese craft masters who will be inspiring the bartenders with their experience and expertise. The Roku masterclass focuses on Japanese aesthetics and beauty, with ikebana artist Keiko Smith. In the Haku session, Master
“At the beginning of a Japanese bartending apprenticeship,” he explains, “every bartender must choose a classic cocktail as their signature. For instance, Hidetsugu Ueno at Bar High Five in Tokyo is known for a White Lady.” It’s no insignificant decision, as this will be their signature drink for life. While it may not be quite as definitive, this idea inspired James as a key part of Dojo. Each of the 12 bartenders must also choose their signature. Then, at the end of each of the four days, they must take a learning from that particular masterclass to refine that drink. For instance, aesthetics might mean a change of glassware, while seasoning might result in the addition of something like a dash of soy sauce to the drink.
Importantly the emphasis is on subtle changes, which participants can demonstrate through the Kaizen Classics Challenges – kaizen meaning ‘continual refinement’. At the end of the Dojo programme, three bartenders will be selected via these challenges – two from the Senpai and one from the Academy. But, as James is keen to point out, this is not about presentations or creating completely new drinks; it’s about selecting the three bartenders who have most improved their craft as a result of what they have learnt during the masterclasses. The recognition itself would be considered reward enough, but for these three bartenders it also means a personal invitation to visit The House of Suntory in Japan. Crucially, the ethos of continual improvement is something that all bartenders around the world will be able to benefit from, as each of the masterclasses will be available to view online, captured in a series of mini documentaries. And, of course, it’s the guests who ultimately benefit from the bartenders’ continual improvement. It could be in the shape of an even more authentic Japanese experience at one of the participating bartenders’ venues, such as Roka or Sexy Fish. Or simply by being served a classic cocktail that has been subtly changed and made even more pleasing thanks to the inspiration of Dojo, as each bartender continues to master their own way.
For more details of The House of Suntory Dojo visit suntorydojo.com
“At the beginning of a Japanese bartending apprenticeship every bartender must choose a classic cocktail as their signature. It’s no insignificant decision, as this will be their signature drink for life”
Please enjoy House of Suntory products responsibly.
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Inside the mind and cool new art bar space of creative thinker Remy Savage
or someone very playful, Remy Savage goes deep. “I’m not interested in the object of art,” he says, before quickly qualifying with: “I mean, I am interested in art but what interests me more is the process. What I find fascinating is the mechanism that creates the object of art, be it a painting, sculpture or building – what problem is it trying to solve?” Some people do art in bars as a concept to be ticked off their cool things to do list. Remy does it as a matter of course. He’s a thinker, a visionary, a dreamer; a bartender, now bar owner, whose analytical process is reminiscent of a curious child. Not in a bad way. More in the way that, like the brightest children, he’s always asking questions. And like an inquisitive, some might say naughty child, forever trying to work out how far he can push boundaries. We’ve witnessed the consequences manifest in his thoroughly imaginative menus and increasingly inventive drinks. Whether it be creating a syrup to replicate the taste of paper (which saw him crowned the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender in 2014) or designing an entire drinks menu exploring the metaphysical power of flavour and its influence on our senses (witnessed in the groundbreaking Evocative Menu, which he created at Little Red Door in Paris in 2016 – see p. 59), the results are always as thought-provoking as they are delicious.
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The ideas that ruminate in his everwhirring mind have formed the basis of a brand-new venture: a collection of bars inspired by entire art movements. The first is Bauhaus. Not an art movement per se but a school established by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany in 1919. Its aim was to bring beauty into everyday life through purposeful design, adhering to the idea of form following function. All well and good as a principle for architecture, design and art – but in a bar, is it a tad, how can we put this… pompous? In the wrong hands it could have been. “What we try to do is take an artistic vision and bring it to life in the least pretentious way possible; we want to make people happy through our drinks experience,” Remy explains. He’s found an equally high-spirited, enquiring mind in collaborator and business partner Paul Lougrat. They intended to start their vision with Art Nouveau but destiny had other ideas. “This space came up and it so clearly leant itself to Bauhaus,” says Remy. “It was small, functional and there was the opportunity to strip it out.” Together, they’ve transformed a narrow, dingy 1950s kebab shop in Hackney, East London into something sleek, stylish and thoroughly seductive, where the interior is cleverly modular, the drinks are minimal in presentation and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Scandi-chic showroom.
Photograph: Keila Urzaiz de Calignon
FAR LEFT, l-r: Maria Kontorravdis, Paul Lougrat, Jack Coppack, Elena Urbani, Remy Savage; BELOW LEFT: The ‘classroom’; THIS PAGE ‘Kazimar’ from the House Drinks
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It’s a fine example of the Bauhaus principles of simplicity, functionality and form. Plain white walls, smooth, clean lines and multifunctional, honey-coloured plywood panelling are the canvas. Drama comes from the steel-framed uplighters and table lamps casting shadows on the walls, and the superslick track lighting running overhead. Where colour does appear it makes its presence felt, namely in the tubular steel-edged, primarycoloured nesting tables perched in front of blue low-level seating, and the bright utilitarian boiler suits worn by the team.
The duo met while working at the Artesian in London, Remy at the helm and Paul one of the bartenders. “Once we realised that we wanted to open our own spaces and shared the same values, the rest flowed naturally,” Paul begins. Values such as? “We both love art, wanted to use the bar as a platform and reduce the number of bottles on site.” He goes on: “We spoke in more depth and both agreed that we wanted to promote something bigger than the drink. Remy came up with the idea of one bar, one art movement, and everything has flowed from there.”
The venue doesn’t have a name, or at least not an official one. Instead, drawing on the Bauhaus principles of focusing on simple shapes and colour, there’s a yellow triangle, red square and blue circle hanging above the door; as a result, it’s now known as A Bar With Shapes For A Name.
While Remy and Paul are the protagonists, they’ve brought in Maria Kontorravdis, formerly of London’s Sexy Fish, to front the bar. “They’d never actually seen me work,” she says laughing. “We just enjoyed our time together and as a result, it’s all come together very organically – it’s exactly what we all wanted a bar to be.” It’s Maria who greets you, stops at your table for a chat and mixes your drinks behind the untypical bar – more of a kitchen-style set-up, with no visible bottles or discernible cocktail paraphernalia. It works wonderfully, feeling like less of a bar, more like chilling in a serene living room.
Inside, every last detail has been carefully considered but doesn’t feel forced. “Paul and I have worked for different venues where the walls were already in place and we had to make our vision fit within those walls, sometimes successfully, sometimes not,” Remy offers. “For the first time we had the opportunity to start the other way round. We were at the genesis of it. I used to create menus to try to express what I wanted to say, now I can even design the angle of the chair and the way the light is going to hit the table. The design came into its maturation based on the way we discussed every single bar experience, from the moment you come in to the moment you leave.”
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“It’s a fine example of the Bauhaus principles of simplicity, functionality and form. Plain white walls, smooth, clean lines and multifunctional, honey-coloured plywood panelling are the canvas”
LEFT: ‘Pastel’; ABOVE: ‘Kazimar’ both from the House Drinks
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ABOVE: Remy and Paul, photographed by Global Bartending; RIGHT: Ice, Bauhaus style; BELOW RIGHT: ‘Nouvelle Vague’ from the House Drinks
That’s the front. Up a few steps, to the rear, things get a bit more esoteric. The area is purposely austere, set up like a primary school classroom. Remy explains the rationale: “Bauhaus is an art school, which gave us an opportunity to follow the same process. For example, the idea of the perfect chair started in the classroom, it was made in the factory or the lab, and eventually people could enjoy it in their home. Here we follow that same structure. At the back we have the classroom, which is dedicated to learning [the plan is to have masterclasses here but the space can also be used for guests who want a different set-up]. Once the session ends, we set up for shift and go into the manufacture room, or what you might call the lab [a small section in the middle where the team prepare the drinks]. Eventually, when service starts, people come in to sit at the front, in the showroom, the house, the museum or whatever you want to call it.” Not that it matters a jot whether you get the artistic ambition they’re following. “At the end of the day, people are just out to have fun – we get that,” Remy says. “We want people to come in and look at the design and the uniforms, see the way the menu has been designed, even little details like
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the way the water has been poured; we want them to witness the entire experience and understand the fact that there’s an ambition behind it, an ambition that we’ve invented and educated ourselves in. In this case, we looked at Bauhaus and applied it to the drinking experience – we asked ourselves, what did they try to do? What have we learned and how can flavour fit into the equation?” In terms of the menu itself, the answer is effortlessly and rather elegantly. True to Bauhaus form, said menu is a lesson in egalitarianism. There’s no room for the superfluous, resulting in a pared-back selection of just 12 drinks on the menu – six under House Drinks, the remainder under Classics. All are priced at a uniform £9.50 – another nod to Bauhaus. Worth noting is that only 20 spirits are used and each bottle has earned its place in the line-up by way of a blind tasting undertaken by the entire team. The House Drinks section is where you get the theatre – understated as it is. The geometric shapes so prevalent in all things Bauhaus are integrated in stacks of circular or rectangular ice, some with edible dye stamped into its frozen form, while there’s one which is presented in an artistically ‘splashed’ Murano-style glass. Other than
that showstopper, the glassware is suitably minimal. The Classics are pre-mixed twists on, well, classics and are served in dinky bottles adorned with yellow, red and blue brush strokes and crowned with a primarycoloured wax cap. Everything is there for a reason, nothing jars or feels out of place. “Once we opened the doors I felt this conceptual coherence that was always missing when I worked in other people’s bars. It doesn’t mean they weren’t great,” adds Remy tactfully. “I can talk as much as I want to about philosophy in a New York-style speakeasy in Paris but the walls are not going to be sweating philosophy, they’re going to be sweating New York-style speakeasy in Paris.” Where did it come from, this love for bringing deeper meaning to the bar experience? “I didn’t start at Little Red Door thinking I wanted to do philosophy,” Remy says. “I wanted to make cocktails, I just thought it was going to be fun. In fact, the Bombay Sapphire competition was the first time that I did something stupid and for some reason people enjoyed it. Before that, my drinks were not at all conceptual and, to be honest, I didn’t have the credibility to do anything like that so people wouldn’t have let me do
“We want people to come in and look at the design and the uniforms, see the way the menu has been designed, even little details like the way the water has been poured”
All drinks and venue photographs: Remy Savage
it. Once the Evocative Menu was successful, I had a platform to be more creative.”
old designers to older established artists – and some know more about it than we do.”
Was he nervous about opening his own bar? “No,” he says vehemently. “Sometimes you just know that things will work,” he pauses, then adds: “I’m fully aware that everything I say may sound pretentious, but the way we operate during service is definitely not – service always prevails. The projects can seem intimidating on paper but once you’re in the room being served by our team, that all goes away,” he goes on. “Essentially, it’s a nice concept that’s understandable and really cool, with a nice aesthetic going through from the uniforms to the look and feel of the room. Our rule is not to throw dates or German names or crazy art references; if people show an interest, obviously we can interact, but it has to come from the guest asking about the bar.” Which they do. “People stop and ask if it’s a Bauhaus thing. It’s so stripped back, it’s very enjoyable and it takes a stand from anything else. We’re in an area surrounded by artists – from 19-year-
This is just the beginning of their journey. “The dream is that in three years you’ll be able to go around London and there will be 20 different bars with 20 different art movements,” says Paul excitedly. They’ve already secured their second site, a stunning, light and airy corner building overlooking the Regent’s Canal, within walking distance of the Bauhaus bar. “This one is all about Art Nouveau,” says Remy. “The two bars actually mirror each other,” he continues. “One is day, the other is night; one arrived just after the other. This bar poses the question, how do we connect back to nature? We will be doing it with a building and physically bringing the nature back – not just in a white room with plants but posing the question, what would happen if everyone left and nature took over?” Find out when the bar opens, name tbc, in October. Personally, we can’t wait.
A Bar With Shapes For A Name @ a_bar_with_shapes_for_a_name_
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TALES OF THE COCKTAIL®
The world’s largest cocktail conference is back! Tales of the Cocktail® is equal parts cocktail conference and family reunion, featuring a schedule of educational seminars, tastings, competitions, and networking events — representing the latest the drinks industry has to offer. Tales of the Cocktail® returns for its 19th year in a hybrid digital and in-person format from September 20-23. Headlining the program will be the conference’s signature educational initiatives featuring more than 60 digital seminars, Beyond the Bar activations, the Dame Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, an all-new pre-conference event – Diversity Distilled Career Fair – in response to widespread industry labour shortages, the return of Meet the Distillers, and the annual Spirited Awards®. The festival will feature FREE digital programming that supports the global spirits industry and access to some in-person events in cities around the world – including Tales’ host city, New Orleans. Although we’re not all able to meet in New Orleans this year, you can still catch up with old friends, learn new techniques, and further your career at Tales of the Cocktail 2021!
Headlining the program will be the conference’s signature educational initiatives featuring: • Toast to Tales 2021 hosted at the Sazerac House in New Orleans • The Science of Enduring Happiness Keynote Address featuring Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas interviewed by Sandrae Lawrence • More than 60 digital educational seminars, roundtable discussions, and Q&A sessions • The return of Meet the Distillers • Beyond the Bar activations • Virtual Sponsor Booths • An all-new Diversity Distilled Career Fair in response to widespread industry labor shortages • Dame Hall of Fame • Spirited Awards®
September 20-23 REGISTER NOW
Themed “Community,” Tales of the Cocktail®is now available for free registration through talesofthecocktail.org.The full schedule and talent line-up for Tales of the Cocktail 2021 will debut August 9, 2021. You must be of legal drinking age to register and attend this conference and any associated events. Tales is proud to partner with conference sponsors to bring a premier festival experience to New Orleans and beyond. 2021 Underwriting Sponsors include: William Grant & Sons, BACARDÍ, Beam Suntory, plus official partners: Perrier, and Q Mixers, the Official Mixer for Tales of the Cocktail Foundation in 2021.
in the spotlight
Hapney ever after Having spent the past decade working for international consultancy Fling Bar Services, during lockdown I found myself with the luxury of time – but no creative outlet. In June 2020, I decided to do something about this: I bought some canvases and picked up a paintbrush and my new business was born… By John Collingwood
y love of art started at an early age, as my mam was an art teacher and my dad a painter and decorator. Over the years they’ve been very forthcoming in sharing their collective knowledge and technical wisdom with me. In more recent times, the Bauhaus and modern artists like Mondrian and Rothko have fascinated me, and I have a deep-rooted appreciation for street artists like Heath Kane, Hush and Pure Evil. They’ve all played a huge part in influencing and developing my own, individual style. One day during lockdown, I can remember searching for ‘cocktail art’ online and being flabbergasted about how dull the prints were. The recipes were all over the place and I thought to myself, I’ve got to do something about this. I began doodling and I kept coming back to the principle of using cocktail ratios. Within a few days I decided to decipher my rough drawing into three canvases, which I called Substitution, featuring the Side Car, White Lady and Margarita. I thought they’d look awesome reproduced as highresolution digital prints, but I was wrong! So I started to play around with shapes –
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primarily rectangles – on PowerPoint (of all things) and began to see that this was a really good way of visualising cocktails in a totally new way. This led to the development of my signature Negroni Collection, which is where I began to explore ‘hard-edging’, a technique that’s now the hallmark of all my originals. It involves using layers of acrylic paint to create eye-catching pieces with crisp lines that have real depth and texture. I knew I was onto something, but I wanted to explore the digital world further too. I took the plunge, bought an iPad and downloaded Adobe Illustrator. This was a revelation, as I felt like I was a barback again and the only way to get better was to fully immerse myself in it – which is exactly what I did. I experimented with shapes and typography while delving further into the importance of scale and colour. It enabled me to broaden my horizons and expand my cocktail ratio concept in ways that are simply not possible with acrylic paint.
“I began doodling and I kept coming back to the principle of using cocktail ratios”
in the spotlight
My time spent teaching bartenders across the globe has made me acutely aware that people learn in different ways. Much like taste and flavour, colours and shapes can transcend cultural and language barriers. In my art, key cocktail families have been reimagined using ratios as a simple framework, with colours replacing ingredients and shapes replicating measurements. Twists are created by simply substituting one or more colour(s) for another. This can transform a piece from being elegant and understated to bold and vibrant, mimicking what happens in the drink’s world. The process of creating my art has reinforced the idea that there is beauty in simplicity, and this applies to both art and cocktails. It’s also taught me that to move forward in life, it’s essential to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things. Creativity can manifest itself in many ways, but to allow it to rise it is paramount that you remain calm and patient – you cannot be in your creative zone 24/7. The world of bar consultancy is slowly coming back online, which is amazing to see. We have some super-exciting projects lined up that are keeping us all very busy, including launching a couple of ultra-luxury cruise ships, and our own development space and bar. As for my art, it gives me a real sense of accomplishment; for many years I knew there was an artist within me, but I had never had the opportunity (or time) to nurture and develop it. I’m excited about collaborating with like-minded bartenders-turnedcreatives, as I know there is huge scope to diversify and develop my skills further. I don’t want to be a one-trick pony; I’m in this for the long haul. hapneystudio.com
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: ‘Boulevardier’; ‘Margarita’, the ‘Negroni’ collection; close-up of the hard-edging technique; ‘Americano’
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Best in glass
From pared-back and simple to bright, bold and visionary, here’s our pick of the artisans adding flair and know-how to transform an ordinary drink into a real experience
More than a glass, the clever Witt collection from Emilien Jaury combines measuring, smoking and layering tools to deliver perfect cocktails every time. POA at emilienjaury.com
Minimalist magic Six classic glass shapes explored, redefined and elevated into things of sheer beauty, courtesy of bartender Remy Savage for NUDE. From €20 for a set of two, eu.nudeglass.com
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The Float Martini glasses have been designed by Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen to intensify the taste, colour and experience of the drinking ritual. €90 for a set of two, molodesign.com
4\ Shape shifters
Designed by Joe Colombo in 1968, the multifunctional Sferico glass collection brings retromodern geometry to everything from wine and water to whisky. €20 each, karakter-copenhagen.com
Subtle swirls of colour add wonderment and delight to these hand-blown Candy glasses designed by the Campana Brothers. POA at lasvit.com
Inspired by vials, test tubes and cylinders found in the chemistry lab, Simone Crestani’s Alchemica collection brings intrigue and drama. From £90, artemest.com
Form and function
A lesson in form, function and style, the award-winning Revolution Rocks/Martini glass designed by Felicia Ferrone can be filled from either end. €170 for a set of two, eu.fferronedesign.com
Floral-inspired Calypso Martini glasses by Serena Confalonieri add a touch of Art Nouveau glamour to the cocktail hour. £225 for a set of two, artemest.com
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in the mix
Creative juices Decidedly modern cocktails created to make a big impression – in looks as well as flavour
by Luca Manni \ Florence Ingredients Top layer: Whisky salted honey syrup Citric and malic acid Red fruit sugared salt Bottom layer: Watermelon with tomato syrup, edible flowers lightly smoked over softwood
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“These perfect hands offering the cocktail bring to mind a drink from the future – I was inspired to create it from a weird dream that I had. The glass is futuristic, fanciful and dreamlike – it seems to say the future is in our hands.” moveonfirenze.com
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in the mix
by Joshua Ivanovic, Jungle Bird, Kualar Lumpar \ Ingredients Diplomatic Planas rum
“Included as an addition to our Trains, Planes & Automobiles menu that celebrated countries and cities JungleBird visited over the course of our first two years of operation, Cascade replicates the crystal clear water of a New Zealand stream running over frozen stones.”
Mancino Secco vermouth Kiwi fruit Manuka honey Citrus New Zealand Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc
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in the mix
“My intent is to engage the senses to create an unexpected ‘wow’ effect. As a garnish for this cocktail I thought of an olfactory gift with the scent of rain, which I sprinkled on the newspaper that wraps around the glass. The leaves are a food pairing flavoured with Jerusalem artichoke and Piedmontese black summer truffle – super umami!”
Nothing Special by Dennis Zoppi, Turin \ Ingredients I talian Lady Lame Gin infused with honey cress sprouts Tonic syrup Tomato water Champagne
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in the mix
by the team at Nightjar, London \ Ingredients Schrodinger Katzen Gin Seasonal apple citronette Lacto cranberry & acacia shrub Sassy Cider Rosé Lacto croissant garnish (Glass painted and hand-etched by Nicholas Colombo)
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“The inspiration for this drink is from ‘Cocktails and How to Mix Them’ by Robert Vermeire (1922). Named after a famous French gun, it was a popular cocktail in Paris during the First World War. Vermeire’s version substitutes lemon for absinthe for a lighter, refreshing tipple, while our version introduces easy flavours such as apple and berries in a more complex yet pleasant way.” Tony Pescatori, bar manager barnightjar.com
in the mix
“Notes of mellow mint and a half-moon garnish pay homage to the Connaught Bar’s crescent glass tables and the rich, green hue reminds me of the elegant leather tones of our sofas. All of the drinks on our current menu are inspired by the shapes that surround us.” Giorgio Bargiani, head bartender
by the team at the Connaught Bar, London \ Ingredients Hendrick’s Gin Acqua Bianca Liquor
Cocoa husk cream Jasmine and peppermint tea Lemon juice Mint soda
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Getting digi with it
Promoting cocktail menus in a digital space
ust when you thought bartenders had explored every possible way to embrace art in the drinking experience, along comes another medium to blow your mind. Enter the world of NFT. NF what now? We’re still not sure we fully understand it either. But very loosely explained, it goes something like this. NFT is shorthand for non-fungible token. The easiest way to think of it is as a certificate housed in a digital ledger – the Ethereum blockchain – which proves you own a one-of-a-kind asset that lives, well, in the ether. It could be an original artwork, a music file, video game or GIF, for example, but essentially it’s something that doesn’t exist in a physical space. How does that even work and perhaps even more poignantly, why would you want to own such a thing? That’s not for us to say, but while it may seem a little gimmicky, precarious even – it’s not like you can touch it – know this: NFTs are incredibly serious and the number of crypto collectors are growing every day. To get shopping, all you have to do is wait for the latest ‘drop’ of cryptocurrency Ether, or ETH, load up your crypto wallets, sign up to one of the NFT marketplaces and you’re good to go. Even the big guns like luxury giant LVMH, Nike and the major banks are getting in on the action. They’re increasingly being used in the drinks world too, particularly during lockdown when quick, clever and
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creative bars, brands and bartenders took to the fast-growing space to sell everything from whisky and wine bottles to cocktail recipes. Heck, there’s even an NFT Crypto Bar. But at Oslo’s Himkok bar and craft distillery, Flavour Developer Paul Aguilar Voza and Head Bartender Maroš Dzurus have taken things up another level. Instead of merely focusing on the drinks, in July this year they became the first bar in the world to connect their cocktail menu launch with covetable, original artworks and money-can’t-buy brand experiences. The idea came to Paul in December last year. “I’d been speaking to a friend who has a hedge fund that has been investing heavily in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology,” he begins. “He was explaining the way NFTs work (his company was later involved in the sale of the Sophia artwork, a self-portrait by an AI robot that sold for the equivalent of $688,888 earlier this year). Listening to him talking about this technology got me wondering how we could do something with our menu.” After discussing his vision and its viability with his hedge fund friend a little later, “I called him at 1am, really excitedly, and asked him if he thought it would be cool to launch a cocktail menu in an NFT format,” Paul confirms. The answer was yes. Buoyed on by the fact that it hadn’t been done before, Paul then teamed up with Maroš to put the
wheels in motion. The first thing they had to do was find an artist to partner up with. “We needed someone who was open to working on a cool, new project, but they also had to have a good profile and distinctive style for the collaboration to attract enough interest,” Paul admits. He was directed to Esra Røise, a freelance illustrator based in Norway whose bold, yet delicate line drawings incorporating dramatic use of inks and watercolour have been sought out by fashion icons including Vogue, Stella McCartney, Burberry and Elie Saab. “I couldn’t believe it when I looked through her portfolio,” he says enthused. “She was the artist who had worked on our new snake logo! I pitched her the project and within 30 minutes, she was on board.” The rest is now NFT history. “We worked day and night on this for six months,” Paul says. During this time, not only were he and Maroš working on the alcoholic and non-alcoholic readyto-drinks for Himkok and developing a strawberry wine, they were creating the cocktails for the new menu too, as well as genning up on the inner workings of NFT and getting drinks brands on board to add even more clout to the offering. “The art was the most important part because it was the key to unlocking the entire experience,” Paul says. “We wanted to offer an exciting, one-off package consisting of three things: something nontangible [the digital artwork]; something
TOP: Esra with the Himkok snake logo and finished NFT artwork; ABOVE RIGHT: Maroš Dzurus, BELOW: Paul Aguilar Voza
tangible [a signed copy of the art for the owner to have on their wall]; and a moneycan’t-buy experience including distillery visits, accommodation or a session with a master blender, which would be made possible by the participating brands.” There were 14 artworks on offer – 13 of the drinks and one of the Himkok snake logo – all animated and uploaded to one of the largest NFT auction platforms, Foundation. “It usually takes one and a half years to get accepted on Foundation but they loved the fact that we were offering something completely different,” Maroš says proudly. One artwork was uploaded every day, with interested parties having 24 hours to place their bids. Each sold for on average 0.50 ETH ($1,090.66), with 30% of sales going to help rebuild the bar after lockdown, 25% to Esra, 30% divided between Paul, Maroš and their hedge fund friend, 10% to a local mental health charity and 5% to a global charity. All of this tech and new way of doing things should take nothing away from the drinks. True to Himkok form, they’ve collaborated with local, independent producers to support them while creating cocktails with an authentic Nordic taste and sustainable production methods. There are no fancy
names; instead each drink heroes a single ingredient – walnuts, sea buckthorn, cloudberries and rhubarb, for example – and it’s that simplicity that allowed Esra’s illustrations to be even more powerful. From static black-and-white line drawings, the artworks come to life as washes of colour seep into frame. “Esra has also included subtle references to the participating brand in the picture,” says Paul, mindful of the fact that due to the state-governed Vinmonopolet system, overt promotion of drinks in Norway is strictly verboten. “NFTs are coming to our industry no matter what. They’re already accepted on the Hong Kong bar scene and we’re super-proud that we’re the first to use them in this way,” Maroš concludes. Paul agrees: “We want to evolve our industry and showcase how you can use this technology in a different way. We’re at the very beginning. It’s so exciting to have an idea like this – to be pioneering instead of being mainstream. It’s a oneoff for Himkok but Maroš and I have ideas for future projects. Watch this space!”
Himkok bar and craft distillery became the first bar in the world to connect their cocktail menu launch with covetable, original artworks and money-can’t-buy brand experiences “The art was the most important part because it was the key to unlocking the entire experience”
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From surrealists to expressionists, artists and their creations have unwittingly been the source of inspiration for bartenders and their menus. Millie Milliken takes a look at how the two worlds collide on menus – past and present, at home and abroad
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“Sometimes when you’re drunk you can see better,” once said British artist Damien Hirst, perhaps most famous for suspending a tiger shark in formaldehyde. A quick Google of artists on drinking throws up plenty of quotes on their (oft over-) consumption of alcohol, but artists and cocktails can also come together to create some of the bar world’s most playful and good-to-look-at menus. In recent years, the theme of art has appeared regularly as a source of inspiration for both menus and bars alike – from the Elements of Art menu at Hong Kong’s Artesian at The Langham through to London’s A Bar With Shapes For A Name. (p. 28). Of course, the joy of menus being inspired by painters, illustrators, graphic designers and sometimes tattooists often means the menus themselves look like a piece of art. In 2019, the mavericks at San Fran’s Trick Dog launched a menu in collaboration with Idle Hand tattoo studio. The artists designed and named 13 original pieces of traditional tattoo art, the bar team created 13 matching cocktails and the menu was presented as a sheet of tattoo flash. Fitz’s bar at the grand Kimpton Fitzroy in London bought the rights to Jazz Age artist John Held Jr’s famous illustrations, while another London favourite, Scarfes Bar, is named after cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe, whose work adorns the walls and menus. Head to Vegas and the aptly named Art Bar has created menus featuring drinks inspired by Salvador Dalí’s The Burning Giraffe, Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Damien Hirst himself has been the inspiration behind cocktails, alongside peers including Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo and Takashi Murakami. In 2017, Joaquín Simó and his team at New York City’s Pouring Ribbons created the Revolutionary Artists menu. “Great art can be just as inscrutable at first glance as your typical craft cocktail menu,” started his brief to his team. “Surely there must be a secret decoder ring that allows you to instantly understand how all these elements (most of which you are completely unfamiliar with) are coming together into something not only coherent, but brilliant.”
“In recent years, the theme of art has appeared regularly as a source of inspiration for both menus and bars alike”
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“A bolder take on Dick Bradsell’s famed Vodka Espresso”
We actually gave up and delegated it to Laura, our researcher/office manager, and a couple of hours later she came back saying, ‘Have you heard of this group called the Colourists?’ They were perfect.” ‘Damien Hirst’ at Pouring Ribbons. Photo by William Aaron
Featuring 22 cocktails based on 22 artists, the menu splits the artists into groups such as Iconoclasts & Provocateurs, Pop & Lock and The Main Event, using the artist’s name for the drink accompanied by illustrations from designer Dieter Cartwright. The Damien Hirst is described by Joaquín as “a bolder take on Dick Bradsell’s famed Vodka Espresso”, created at Fred’s Club in the 1980s. The drink was renamed the Pharmaceutical Stimulant when Bradsell consulted on the bar menu for Hirst’s Pharmacy restaurant in 1998. Pouring Ribbon’s version substitutes two oak-aged spirits for the vodka and a spiced coffee amaro for the espresso shot. Elsewhere, Jeff Koons is represented with a colourful twist on an El Presidente as a nod to his pop art style. For Joaquín, Revolutionary Artists “might just be my favourite menu we’ve ever done in our nearly decade of operation”. He likes it so much that when the bar reopens in September this year, a new menu comprising
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some of the bar’s greatest hits will no doubt feature some of the art-inspired creations. Back on this side of the pond, and coincidentally in the same year, the team at Edinburgh’s (now closed) Epicurean bar at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel launched a menu inspired by the Scottish Colourists, four post-impressionist painters who brought French and Mediterranean influences into the Scottish city. Julian de Féral, then drinks consultant for the Gorgeous Group, worked with the team to create the menu – although the theme didn’t come easy. After being briefed by the hotel team to create something akin to the hotel restaurant (itself designed using a myriad of colours and Mediterranean in style) and in line with its arty hotel vibe, Julian and co found themselves “racking our brains, and we came up with the idea that we wanted it to be based on art. We went away and did research, but we were struggling to find some connection of art, local history and the Med without singling out one artist.
Ingredients were laid out in a colour wheel and cocktails created not just using flavour as a starting point, but also colour. Vibrant, standout ingredients included orange sorbet, peach wine, crème de violette, lemon and basil sherbet and celery bitters. The team found that often ingredients of the same colour ended up being flavour bedfellows, much to their surprise in some cases. They used a slow juicer to extract as vivid a colour and flavour as possible and even invested in an Evogro, their own little greenhouse, to grow some of the ingredients – sometimes even having guests pick their own garnish. The menu itself was illustrated by local Colourist-style artist Joanna Srokol and the photos of the drinks were taken by one of the floor runners who, it turns out, was pretty nifty with a camera. Art, drinks and the people behind them, it seems, are a natural combination.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The tattoo menu at Trick Dog; colour in focus at Epicurean; cocktails from the ‘Elements of Art’ menu at the Artesian, Hong Kong
“Ingredients were laid out in a colour wheel and cocktails created not just using flavour as a starting point, but also colour”
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The art of drinks
Jane Ryan looks at the some of the most inspiring collaborations between artists and drinks brands Claudia Winkleman’s book Quite is the very best thing I have ever read on the subject of art. It’s only one little chapter in a book that gives a lot more time to eyeliner and the importance of black clothing, but it’s awe-inspiring nonetheless. In it she details the first time she saw Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin, painted for a church in Venice in 1516-18, and which brought her to tears. Winkleman goes on to say that art is the answer, that seeing art is the most enriching thing you can do with your time, and that it is even better for your soul than mascara. What’s that got to do with alcohol brands and their collaborations with artists? Hold on, I’m getting there. You see, The Assumption of the Virgin was Titian’s first major commission and it did wonders for his career, but better still it did wonders for the Church. Art, it turns out, has always been used to sell things to us, whether it was religion, a can of soup or a bottle of Campari – which seems like an excellent place to start. It was Campari, in the early 1920s, that became one of the first brands to forge the link between art and alcohol when it commissioned Fortunato Depero to produce adverts with his graphic style of broken lines, strong use of colour and attention to lettering. Depero was not the only artist on Campari’s books, but all those called on shared his modern style – many were futurists, like Depero, and all were incredibly innovative. Depero’s remit was extensive, from the design of the Campari Soda vending machine signs to his 1926 painting Squisito al Selz (Delicious with Seltzer), which straddled the world of advertising and high art. It was this same image Depero chose to illustrate his manifesto, Il futurismo e l’arte pubblicitaria (Futurism and Advertising Art), where he
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Jean-Michel Basquiat’s bottles for 1800 Tequila Essential Artists Series 6
considered the idea of industrial leaders like Campari as parallel to the great art patrons of the Renaissance. You can still see Depero’s work for the brand to this day, with his colourful designs gracing limited-edition bottles, and in the elegant simplicity of the Campari Soda bottle, first produced in 1932, which he conceived in 1927 by reversing the shape of the traditional bitter glass. Almost 50 years after Campari first worked with the Futurist artists, another artist making waves for their progressive pop art style placed the following advert in New York’s Village Voice: “I’ll endorse with my name any of the following: clothing, AC-DC, cigarettes, small tapes, sound equipment, ROCK N’ ROLL RECORDS, anything, film, and film equipment, Food, Helium, Whips, MONEY!!” That artist was Andy Warhol, and while he doesn’t specify alcohol, I think we can say it definitely falls under the remit of ‘anything’, has a lot to do with money, some ties to food and could be held responsible for quite a bit of rock ‘n’ roll. No surprise then that in 1985 Warhol endorsed with his name and his art a Swedish
vodka brand trying to stand out in the USA. There are several iterations of Warhol’s paintings for Absolut, but the most famous would be his chalk-like black bottle with the striking K and A of ‘vodka’ coloured pink and yellow, and the rest of the lettering in Absolut’s tell-tale deep blue. It’s playful but still recognisable, distinctly Warhol and distinctly Absolut, yet it was what the brand did after Warhol that made the campaign one of the world’s most successful. Following the triumph of the ‘Absolut Warhol’ ads, Warhol was asked to suggest other artists who could be used to continue the campaign. Rather than relying on the one artist, over the years more than 350 have been commissioned by Absolut, including Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst and Ed Ruscha, all invited to re-envision the clean design of its vodka bottle in their own signature styles. It’s produced some enchanting, some bizarre, always subversive art. Just three years into the campaign Absolut had another stroke of genius when it began selecting lesser-known artists, positioning the commission as an
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Zhang Huan for Hennessy; Andy Warhol x Absolut; Sir Peter Blake at work on The Macallan
opportunity to foster young and under-theradar talent with, perhaps, the chance to launch a career.
Hennessy co-opts their punk, outsider image and effectively stands out from the crowd of old-world cognac houses.
Fast forward to 2021 and Absolut’s brand identity is synonymous with progressive art, street art, neo-pop, tattoo art and even performance art. “Absolut has a long history with artists,” said Anish Kapoor when he was selected in 2014 for a collaboration. “It is a strange notion, but one that I felt I could at least go in pursuit of.”
In 2008, 1800 Tequila launched its Essential Artists project, an annual release of bottles designed by young artists including UrbanMedium, Shepard Fairey and Gary Baseman. Perhaps even more subversive than the art on the bottles though, Hennessey, 1800 Tequila and Absolut aren’t charging the end drinker any more than you’d expect to pay for cognac, tequila and vodka. It’s the accessible end of their product line that’s chosen to be decorated and given these edgy new personas, unlike Dom Pérignon’s 2003 collaboration with artist Jeff Koons, whose Champagne holders retailed at $20,000.
Of course, Absolut isn’t the only brand harnessing youth trends of street art to shift liquid. They might not have started back in the 80s but Hennessy and 1800 Tequila are both making up for lost time. For Hennessy’s part, it’s completely sidestepped traditional art forms and made connections with artists like Futura, KAWS, OSGEMEOS, Ryan McGinness and Shepard Fairey, who have all designed their own bottle of Hennessy V.S Cognac. What’s the purpose of these bright, disruptive labels? Art plays an interesting trick on us here, communicating a new personality for the brand that keeps us engaged, that of an edgy outsider. The liquid inside is still the same V.S, and the brand’s core values haven’t shifted – we’re talking about a traditional brandy made under luxury goods giant LVMH – yet through the collaboration with artists who made their names with countercultural (and often illegal) artwork,
It’s not always graffiti, bold graphics and metallic balloon animals though – perhaps thankfully. Somewhere in the middle of Titian’s Virgin and Koons’ Balloon Venus is the four-decade-long partnership between pop artist Sir Peter Blake and The Macallan whisky. Beginning just a year after the Absolut Warhol ads, Blake was first asked to design the label for 12 remarkable 60-year-old single malts from 1926. Their collaboration was most recently celebrated by The Macallan when, in 2012, a set of eight miniatures, each with a label reflecting a particular decade of Blake’s life, was released to celebrate 80 years of the artist.
“Fast forward to 2021 and Absolut’s brand identity is synonymous with progressive art, street art, neo-pop, tattoo art and even performance art” The value of tying a brand to art has yet to lose its appeal. It’s now 90 years since Depero published his manifesto suggesting brands could be the new patrons, and the fairly new Italicus aperitivo – made in Depero’s home country – is currently running its annual Art of Italicus competition, asking new and established artists alike to create an artwork inspired by a major city. We’ve brushed over a good century of art, dropped in a mere seven brands, and gone from classical paintings to graffiti and back to pop art. I doubt the previous 1,200 words could possibly do justice to the time, the effort and the sheer creativity alcohol brands have asked from artists. But at least we’ve spent some time observing art – better than bath salts for the soul, remember – and isn’t it wonderful to be celebrating an industry that has such a rich history for supporting art. Even if it’s with the purpose of selling, these collaborations keep artists doing what they do best. So now, when you order your next cocktail, you can say, I am a patron of the arts. And that’s got to be better than any mascara.
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Mains + Martinis Sumptuous drinks and dining in what was once an old London police station. The last word in luxurious bar food at a London landmark. And the chicken dining experience that keeps on giving… Claridge’s Bar Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR. claridges.co.uk (£££) The vibe: Yes, you should head to Claridge’s Bar for a birthday or an anniversary, but the thing is it makes every occasion, with friends, partners or parents, feel like a celebration. Smart red leather bar stools, comfortable cub chairs, natural wood and discreet Lalique lighting combine for pure elegance. Add in the inviting informality, and dressing up or keeping casual both fit the bill.
the Duck Rolls with peppered blackberry sauce are ideal cocktail accompaniments. But for sheer decadent indulgence we suggest sharing the Lobster Wellington with sauce Américaine, green salad with avocado and truffle French fries. Its arrival is jawdropping – the pastry is perfectly lobstershaped and within lies all the sumptuous meat of a whole lobster. One of the very best things we have ever tasted.
The food: One of many reasons we love this bar is that you can order any dishes from the hotel’s Foyer & Reading Room restaurant, and enjoy them without leaving the comfort of your table. Canapés like the Prawn Tempura with carrot, chilli and soy dip and
The drinks: Order your favourite classic cocktails here and rest assured they will be exceptional. Hence we started with a couple of sublime Dry Martinis, impeccably balanced and chilled. But make sure you also try some of the bar’s original creations. We
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went for The Royal Stag (Dalmore 15-YearOld Whisky, Campari, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, chocolate bitters and roasted almond) and The Mayfair (Rémy Martin XO, Carpano Antica, Laphroaig 10-YearOld Whisky and Disaronno Amaretto). Both were rich, luxurious and delightfully in keeping with the surroundings. And both were utterly delicious.
Atrium Bar at NoMad London NoMad London, 28 Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7AW. thenomadhotel.com (£££)
Happily, the entire restaurant menu is available to enjoy seated at the bar
The vibe: Taking up residence in a listed building that was once the Bow Street Magistrates Court and Police Station, NoMad has arrived in London in wholly original style. It feels like London viewed from a New York perspective, with the exemplary NoMad attention to detail. The hotel itself, restaurant and bars, are all beautifully designed, adorned with countless original artworks, and it’s a joy simply to be there. But our destination was the intimate and elegant bar that adjoins the NoMad restaurant. The food: Happily, the entire restaurant menu is available to enjoy seated at the bar. The small plates are a dream. Take the Avocado Soup with crab and lime granita: how can something this simple be so sublime? Or the Sea Bream Crude with radishes, mint and pickled strawberries, a masterclass in how to bring together ingredients in a way
that makes you feel as though you’re tasting them for the very first time. Again, absolutely faultless and highly recommended. The drinks: NoMad Classics, Classic Cocktails, Atrium Cocktails and Soft Cocktails combine to offer nearly 30 drinks, and there will be ongoing seasonal additions too. From the NoMad Classics, the Walter Gibson (Boatyard Gin, Absolut Elyx Vodka, viognier, pear eau de vie, beeswax and picked vegetables) was an example of NoMad’s hallmark attention to detail, as the pickled vegetables served on the side as garnish choices were bursting with flavour and took the drink to another level. Meanwhile, the En Pointe (Plymouth Gin, manzanilla sherry, Lillet Blanc, kirschwasser and dill) from the Atrium menu brought together flavours with the deft touch of an accomplished chef, to sensational effect.
Humble Chicken 54 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4SJ. humblechickenuk.com (££) The vibe: Although there are a handful of tables outside, we preferred the main option of sitting at the counter to enjoy this Japanese-style tapas experience. It’s bustling, energetic, and part of the entertainment is watching the multitude of staff effortlessly weave around each other, while at the centre of the action chef Angelo Sato skilfully prepares a succession of skewered delights.
It’s bustling, energetic, and part of the entertainment is watching the multitude of staff effortlessly weave around each other
The food: Divided into Small, Ocean, Yakitori, Bigger and Sweet, the menu is designed for sharing. From Small, the Endomame Korroke is a cute and tasty pea lollipop with sansho salt. And from Ocean, an oyster served with fermented persimmon, citrus kosho and burnt fat is a small work of art. The Yakitori section, though, is where things get really interesting. With options that include Neck, Breast, Shoulder, Tail, Wing, Inner thigh, Soft Knee and Cartilage,
it’s the chicken that keeps on giving – all enhanced with a selection of spices and sauces. All subtly different and equally delicious. From Bigger, we chose the Hakata Pork Belly with daikon, egg yolk and mustard, an interactive dish as you mix the egg yolk in to create the finished, extremely delicious sauce. The drinks: The cocktail selection is fairly limited but seeing the Lychee Martini (sansho peppercorn vodka, bianco vermouth and lychee cordial) made us smile. It was too sweet for us but we did love the ShishoHi (London Dry Gin, distilled shisho leaves and tonic water), a delightful take on a G&T, and the Lemon Turbo (barley shochu, yuzu sherbet, lemon, lemongrass soda and Asahi Super Dry), a refreshing half-cocktail, halfbeer creation. There’s also a range of five sakes. Give them a try to switch things up a bit. We liked Ancient Mountain.
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CREATE A STIR EACH MONTH
NEWS, VIEWS AND REVIEWS
9 August World Baijiu Day \
NEW BARS ON THE BLOCK
(Prepare ahead) 15g walnuts 100ml Fenjiu Fen Chiew 10-year-old baijiu 1 tsp date syrup
The hot, new openings to have on your radar…
2 dashes walnut bitters
1 Jujube Chinese date (if available) Method: Cover the walnuts with the Fenjiu baijiu and leave for 6-7 hrs; strain and store the walnuts and baijiu in separate jars. In a glass, combine the date syrup and walnut bitters. Add 50ml of the walnut-infused baijiu and stir to dilute. Serve with a date and one of the walnuts on the side.
Fat Schmuck \ American comfort food is at the heart of this latest addition to the Two Schmucks family, and for cocktails to go with, it’s all about long drinks and spritzes. Expect over a dozen cocktails on tap, served from the terrace and dining room. Who’s behind it: Two Schmucks founder Moe Aljaff and co-conspirators Juliette Larrouy and Pom Modeste fatschmuck.com
Notable nibbles Stop everything. We’ve found the perfect cheesy bites to keep your Martinis company. Even the name is a joy: Pea Green Boat Cheese Sablés. Thank us later. peagreenboat.co.uk
SIPS \ Located in the upscale Eixample area, this long-awaited outpost isn’t a mere cocktail bar, it’s a ‘drinkery house’ – this translates into a democratic drinking space where beers, wines and vermouths are allowed to shine as much as the cocktails, all made at the open bar. Who’s behind it: Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez
It’s got to be the mighty Grasshopper, the grown-up, liquid version of an afterdinner After Eight mint.
DRINKS IN ART HISTORY
Bacchus by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1595) Gin Lane William Hogarth (1751) L’Absinthe Edgas Degas (1875) The Absinth Drinkers Edvard Munch (1890) The Drinkers Vincent van Gogh (1890)
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15 September National Crème de Menthe Day \
Grasshopper 30ml green crème de menthe 30ml crème de cacao 30ml single cream Mint leaf to garnish Method: Shake all the ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled Coupe glass and garnish with a mint leaf.
BUY THE BOOK Alcohol has inspired/fuelled (delete as you wish) many an artist and The Art of the Cocktail: From the Dalí Wallbanger to the Stinger Sargent, Cocktails with an Artistic Twist pays homage to the best of them. The liquid art tour includes recipes such as Cézanne’s Fruit Bowl, Stinger Sargent and Rembrandy Crusta – all accompanied by notes on the artist and suitably eye-catching illustrations by Charlotte Trounce. amazon.co.uk
The clue to what’s at the heart of Discarded Grape Skin Vodka is in the name: all of the bits that usually
get thrown out of the wine-making process are heroed in the bottle – we’re talking skins, stems, seeds, the lot. And the alcohol that’s sucked out and abandoned in the dealcoholising wine process? That’s included too. So far, so good on brownie points but what of the taste? It certainly gets our seal of approval. We love its bright fruitiness and long, lasting finish – give it a try, even if you consider yourself a nonvodka fan. discardedspirits.com
YES YOU CAN This may just look like a can, albeit a very stylish one, but there’s a whole lot of artistry going on inside. It’s the third in the line-up from the flavour gurus at Empirical Spirits in Copenhagen and, like the colour on the outside, it’s inspired by the taste of the Med. Ingredient-wise there’s lemongrass, lemon myrtle and Andaliman pepper, balanced with carob, coffee chaff, fig leaf and golden Yunnan tea. And the taste? Delightfully dry, refreshing and all-round bloody gorgeous. empirical.co
BEST IN SHOW Looking for some art to brighten up your walls at home or in the bar? Check out these works from two former bartenders who have rediscovered their passion for painting.
Thief \ Inspired by 1980s New York, notably its graffiti, art and music scene, this elevated dive bar with its black and yellow interior takes in classic cocktails, frozen drinks, an extensive wine list and a no-nonsense food menu. Who’s behind it: John McNulty thiefnyc.com
Formerly of Callooh Callay and Ace Hotel in London, Ian McIntyre now flexes his bartending muscles working for events company Twist London in between painting his digital portraits. “My images are painted digitally, but as if they were on canvas. I work by painting onto a single layer and don’t use multiple layers like most digital artists. The reason for this is because I like to keep it as close to traditional mediums as possible, so replicating oils and gouache paints.” For commissions, contact him at email@example.com
From global bars executive for Jason Atherton’s Social Company to director of drinks at Scotch + Limon, thanks to lockdown, World Class GB 2018 winner Jamie Jones has returned to his first love, art. His bright, bold and distinctive style embraces his passions, notably cartoons, toys, skateboarding and hip-hop. Check them out at Come See Comme Ca at INNSiDE by Melia, Manchester until 5 October (see commecaart.com). Better still, add one of the prints to your collection, available to buy at theartofbeingjones.com
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WATCH \ Freepour
THE HIT LIST.
What we’re watching, reading and listening to right now
Created with the bartending community in mind, this mighty app is packed with tons of fabulous content. There are detailed courses on spirits, cocktails and bartending skills; spotlights on trends and inspiring bars around the world; tips on levelling up extra-curricular activities like photography and speed pouring, plus plenty of chat from bartenders – all filmed and edited in an engaging and entertaining style. We love it. Download from the App Store or Google Play.
LISTEN \ The Cocktail Lovers podcast ‘Scuse us for bigging up our own pod but if you’re reading and enjoying this magazine,
we think you’ll like it too. Essentially, it’s The Cocktail Lovers magazine in audible form, i.e. book, product and bar reviews, plus essential tips, cocktail hacks and how-tos from industry experts. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
READ \ The New Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Think Like a Master Mixologist, with 500 Recipes (revised edition) A long title but deservedly so – this is a banger of a book from the godfather of the cocktail revival, Dale Degroff. The recipes are fab but so too are the tips and background info upfront and the glossary at the back. An absolute must-have.
HONG KONG \ ARGO \ The brand-new addition to Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong takes its name from Argonauts (as in, Jason and the…), basing its raison d’être on their journey of discovery and exploration. Expect a focus on innovation in spirits making, plenty of collaborations and some of the most creative drinks in the city. Who’s behind it: Beverage Manager, Lorenzo Antinori fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/lounges/argo
You only need three hours to make yourself this outdoor bar. Apparently. All it takes is some pre-cut timber, a few bits of kit and a knack for following instructions. Find all the info at cuprinol.co.uk
DID YOU KNOW? The oldest inn in England is considered to be the Old Ferry Boat at St Ives in Cambridgeshire. According to legend, the inn has been serving alcohol since 560AD.
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Christina’s \ A large-scale, hand-painted mural by Fred Coppin is the backdrop at this all-day space, where the cocktails are centred around Italian aperitivo culture with a British, often wild ingredient, twist. Think Birch Bark Martini, Wild Nettle Spritz and Yuzu Negroni. (Opens August) Who’s behind it: Marcis Dzelzainis sbe.com/restaurants/christinas/shoreditch
Hacha Brixton \ Part temple to agave spirits, part training and mentoring platform, the second Hacha outpost is bigger, more ambitious than its East London counterpart. As well as a rotating menu of tequilas and mezcal, there will be a Mirror Margarita bottle shop. (Opens August) Who’s behind it: Deano Moncrieffe and Emma Murphy hachabar.com
Abajo \ Promising the colour and sounds of 1980s underground Buenos Aires, there’s nothing we don’t like about this destined-to-be-hotspot in the heart of Soho: regular vinyl DJs, live music and long drinks like the Pink and Bitter. We’re there. Who’s behind it: Tato Giovannoni @abajo.london
THINGS THAT MAKE US GO “OOH”
Is it a coincidence that ‘art’ figures prominently in the word ‘bartender’? Not as far as we’re concerned. Here are five drinks menus from over the years that are still stand-outs now
DID YOU KNOW? The oldest pub in America is the White Horse Tavern, established in 1673 in Rhode Island.
The Pop-Up Menu, Beaufort Bar, London (2014) Two years in the making, Chris Moore’s lavish pop-up menu brought the cocktails and their ingredients beautifully and artistically to life. “We wanted to create a sharing experience, a voyage of discovery. The pop-up element allows guests to tap into their inner child, to query, be intrigued and explore,” he told us. And it did the job perfectly.
#Surrealism2015, Artesian, London (2015) Inspired by Salvador Dalí’s cookbook Les Diners de Gala, Alex Kratena, Simone Caporale and the Artesian bar team’s ambitious menu celebrated the surrealist symbols and created surrealist flavours, or what they called “flavours that don’t exist”. The vessels they were served in were equally ambitious – everything from an elephant made from Lego to a giant copper cootie. As Alex explained: “We wanted a theme that gave us enough creative freedom and as nothing has to be logical with surrealism, that really excited us.”
DATES AUGUST 6th International Beer Day 25th Whisky Sour Day
SEPTEMBER 1st-30th Bourbon Heritage Month
Mirage, City Social, London (2017) Art appears in bars in manifold ways but Jamie Jones and Tim Laferla brought drinks to life in the world’s first augmented reality cocktail menu. On first impressions it looked simple enough, as Jamie told us: “It’s something you can see but isn’t really there.” Guests were sent a link to download the Mirage app ahead of their visit. Once in the bar, each cocktail was presented on its own special coaster which, when activated, unleashed a world of 3D delights that customers could share straight to social media feeds.
Evocative Menu, Little Red Door, Paris (2016) “The image draws you in and your imagination is the garnish,” Remy Savage explained as he presented us with his first conceptual menu. Consisting of 11 drinks, it featured images from a range of artists, all with different styles, who were tasked with creating visuals based on the mood each particular cocktail evoked.
The Mural Project, Trick Dog, San Francisco (2017) The team at Trick Dog are renowned for their imaginative menus, all of which support charitable causes. The Mural Project saw them take on their biggest project at the time: a series of 14 specially created murals dotted across San Francisco, with a cocktail created and named after each artist featured on the Trick Dog menu. The results were also documented in a limited-edition series of books.
2nd International Cabernet Sauvignon Day 10th International Canned Cocktail Day 13th-14th Imbibe Live (Olympia, London) 20th-23rd Tales of the Cocktail (virtual event) 23rd Spirited Awards (virtual event)
For the full stories behind all of these menus, see thecocktaillovers.com
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in the spotlight
Drawn to the bar by Virginia Miller
Drink and art feel like destined companions in bar form. At the best bars, art lovers can contemplate a piece of art with drink in hand, while novices soak up the atmosphere or even get hooked, often on local artists. Some of these bars are cocktail destinations, others are low-key spots where you can grab a beer, glass of wine or basic cocktail while immersed in everything from urban art to historic murals. Here are 10 unique art bars, from Israel to Indonesia
scarfesbar.com Housed inside the Rosewood London hotel and sporting the tagline, ‘Where Paintings and Potions Meet’, Scarfes Bar has been a London bar destination since 2014. Lined with art from British artist and caricaturist Gerald Scarfe, Scarfes feels like it has been there a century, aided by marble walls, a roaring fireplace and live jazz. But it’s as eccentric as it is elegant, thanks to humorous paintings and whimsical menu books, like the recent 18-drink cocktail menu based on the Enneagram personality test, with two drinks representing the two extremes of each personality type.
Palette, San Francisco palette-sf.com Palette’s large space is a dining destination and art gallery, centred around chef Peter J Hemsley and team’s artful-yet-playful food (think broccoli kimchi dip scooped up with beef tendon chicharrones). In late spring 2021, they opened their art gallery/cocktail lounge. The striking, lofty space is marked by velvet couches and chairs, and decor
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that’s tailored to the changing exhibits from local artists. Bar Manager Trevin Hutchins’ cocktails are thoughtful, often inspired by rare classics, and also delicious. Case in point: the Alvear, inspired by 1965 cocktail A.M.B.A. 65, a combination of Laphroaig 10-year-old scotch whisky, Rhum JM VO rum, sweet vermouth and Clément coconut. Bonus points: the extensive absinthe collection, absinthe fountain and absinthe cocktails (like the Absinthe Frappé).
“At the best art bars, art lovers can contemplate a piece of art with drink in hand, while novices soak up the atmosphere or even get hooked, often on local artists”
TOP: The Whiskey Library at The Vagabonf Club; RIGHT: Madrone Art Bar
Scarfes Bar, London
in the spotlight
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in the spotlight
Bemelmans Bar, New York rosewoodhotels.com/en/the-carlyle-newyork/dining/bemelmans-bar Turning 75 years old in 2021, Bemelmans – the iconic piano bar in the 90-year-old Carlyle Hotel – is truly a legend. The creator of the Madeline children’s books, Ludwig Bemelmans’ famed murals have been a backdrop for countless movie scenes and celebrities gracing this space over the decades. Drinks are steeply priced and not the first draw but delightfully elegant service is. So too are the old-school dishes, from stainless-steel snack caddies to fancy andouille pigs in blankets and caviar service. With its location off Central Park and those warm, glowing walls, each home to Bemelmans’ enchanting pictorials, the entire space is art.
Beit Kandinof, Tel Aviv-Yafo kandinof.co.il A beloved restaurant with Mediterraneaninspired food by chefs Yogev Yaros and Shami Golomb, Beit Kandinof is also a bar and art destination set in a historic building in Jaffa’s Old City. Opened by Amir Erlich and Arianna Fornaciai, it combines their experience in restaurants, nightlife and art in a roomy complex that features changing 62 - The Cocktail Lovers
exhibits, an artists’ studio and art events. The space is packed with art books, antique chandeliers, photography and paintings, and five galleries feature changing exhibitions from Israeli artists, both established and upand-coming.
Madrone Art Bar, San Francisco madroneartbar.com A San Francisco fixture since 2004, Madrone is a neighbourhood gem that makes multimedia art both playful and hip. Evoking an eclectic artist’s studio, it’s lined with local art (paintings, photography, sculpture, video and more), showcases performance art with rotating, mixed-media art installations and regularly erupts into a dance party with DJs – from Motown on Mondays to its Prince and Michael Jackson nights. With the tagline, ‘Because the highest form of art is drinking with friends’, Madrone has become a locals’ bar that keeps art alive and approachable.
Duddell’s, Hong Kong duddells.co With its expansive indoor space and rooftop patio, Duddell’s is a chic-yet-relaxed destination for modern dim sum, changing dishes like pan-fried Hokkaido scallops
in crab roe sauce, absinthe service and refreshing cocktails like a Rhubarb Smash (bourbon, Nardini Rabarbaro liqueur, cinnamon syrup, orange, lemon and mint). But Duddell’s is also an arts stop with a dedicated art programme that includes lectures, talks, screenings and rotating artwork exhibitions – many on loan from the rarely seen archives of private collectors. A recent collection, Inspired by Ink, showcased 36 works by 13 Hong Kong artists.
Doodle Bar, London thedoodlebar.com In London’s Bermondsey ‘hood, this industrial, brick-walled bar under railway arches serves craft beers and gins alongside popular burgers and rosemary fries. The casual, cavernous space uniquely allows guests to doodle on massive blackboard walls, in between rounds of cocktails, table football and ping pong. First starting as a pop-up in Battersea in 2009, Doodle Bar moved to its current home in 2015. This bar represents a hands-on take on the art bar – one that keeps it fun and down to earth.
in the spotlight
The Vagabond Club, Singapore hotelvagabondsingapore.com Housed in a 1950s Art Deco building, Singapore’s luxe Vagabond Club is the first hotel in the city-state to feature an artist-inresidence programme, as well as art tours, featured artists and video installations from artists like Marco Brambilla. The hotel’s gorgeous interiors are designed by acclaimed French designer Jacques Garcia. Think dramatic gold banyan trees and animal sculptures (like life-size elephants hoisting up the main elevator). Take in art from rotating artists, then dine under the gold tree in the restaurant, Yellow Pot Little India. A monkey sculpture centres the Vagabond Bar, while live jazz sets the tone in the Salon. In The Whiskey Library, home to a collection of over 1,000 rare whiskies, the arts theme continues with intimate jazz storytelling, readings, theatre sessions, independent film premieres, musical showcases and artist evenings.
Ruci Art Space, Jakarta @ruci.art Melin Merrill cofounded Ruci Art Space in 2014 in a design-forward industrial building in South Jakarta’s Senopati neighbourhood. Housing a cafe with alcoholic drinks on offer, the venue hosts changing exhibitions by new and emerging local artists across two floors, ranging from paintings and photography to fashion exhibits. Local DJs and online art sales expand the community and youthful vibe. This sleek gallery/cafe has already done much to engage those outside the art world with Indonesian artists, photographers and fashion designers.
Section 8, Melbourne
“Some of these bars are cocktail destinations, others are low-key spots where you can grab a beer, glass of wine or basic cocktail while immersed in everything from urban art to historic murals”
section8.com.au An all-day outdoor party set in a former vacant car park, Melbourne’s Section 8 (aka the ‘container bar’, as drinks are served from a shipping container) has been a gathering place for live music, DJs, drinks and urban art for 15 years. Graffiti wall art and framed art are celebrated here, while even wooden pallet seats are vibrantly painted. Whether serving mulled wine when it’s cold or throwing 13-hour block parties, Section 8 has become a local institution and prime example of bringing art to youthful crowds.
ABOVE: Beit Kandinof
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In parting All hail the bartist! As a former bartender turned artist catering to the hospitality industry, Dan Collins couldn’t have picked a better moniker for his business than the Bartist. His striking style first captured attention after he worked on the menus at Callooh Callay and he’s been called on to illustrate a variety of cool projects around the world ever since. His latest menu for L’Fleur in Prague is a stunner. “Every page of the menu evolved from concept, to sketch, to full gold-leafed watercolour, and finally to a veritable gallery of a menu that came out more beautiful than I could have ever hoped.” Find out more at bartist.com
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