Wine & Spirits: Liquid Inspiration at ARTINI

by Editorial

It was the battle of the most creative bartenders, but which drinkable work of art came out on top at the sold-out ARTINI?
By Sheila Mulhern

Feel the TINI! The Corcoran 1869 Committee (Photo by Kyle Samperton)

Top mixologists from twelve DC area restaurants gathered in friendly competition for ARTINI 2011 to create liquid masterpieces modeled after works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  Feature nights where voters could sample their favorite blends ahead were hosted throughout the month of March and accumulated at the evening event hosted by the Corcoran 1869 Society. The contending mixologists included Arris Noble (Sei), Brent Davis (Againn), Chantal Tseng (Tabard Inn), Gina Chersevani (PS 7’s Restaurant), Joe Ambrose (P.O.V. at the W Washington D.C.), Jon Arroyo (Farmers & Fishers), Jonathan Harris (The Gibson), Josh Berner (Church & State), Owen Thomson (Café Atlantico), Rob Tinney (Mie N Yu), Ronald Flores (Art and Soul) and the Wilder Bros (Potenza).  But who came away with the Critic’s Choice?

(LEFT) William Christenberry's Coleman's Cafe (I), 1982, mixed media, painted wood and clay soil, 18 3/8 x 25 3/4 x 36 1/2 inches. (RIGHT) The winning Artini by Ronald Flores for Art and Soul.

1. Ronald Flores for Art and Soul
Top Shelf Inspiration: William Christenberry’s Coleman’s Cafe (I), 1982

The work’s Alabama origin determined the Gentleman Jack whiskey base along with the inclusion of mezcal for smokiness.  Contrasting lemon lime juice with agave syrup and Flores’ signature rhubarb bitters added layers of tart and freshness. Sweet and salty flavors completed the mixture with a house-made cream soda and beef jerky garnish that one could imagine purchasing at the store front.

2. Brent Davis for AGAINN DC
Top Shelf Inspiration: Daniel Chester French’s The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Man That They Were Fair, 1923

The blend of 42Below vodka, prosecco, crème de violet with the addition of St. Germaine provided the opaque transparency modeled after the marble sculpture. The Fair Daughter beverage was garnished with a white rose peddle and also contained notes of citrus.

3. Owen Thomson for Café Atlantico
Top Shelf Inspiration: Frederic Remington, Off the Range (Coming Through the Rye), 1903
modeled 1902; cast 1903

What better tequila to evoke the senses one might encounter upon crossing a group of wild, reckless, gun-wielding cowboys than leather infused El Jimador Blanco?  A nod to Remington’s love of whiskey was added with Lagavulin 16.  Other ingredients included St. Germaine, lemon juice and club soda for a brightened bubbly finish.

DeeJay Neekola, Barbara Merola, winning mixologist Ronald Flores from Art and Soul, and Mike Isabella. (Photo by Kyle Samperton)

Lindley Thornburg, Kristin Guiter, and Svetlana Legetic. (Photo by Ben Droz)

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