The drinks are strong, the lines are long, and fashion takes a surprising turn for the fierce. This year’s Artini event at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which took place Saturday night, challenged 12 area bartenders to create a beverage experience worthy of the artworks—all currently hanging in the museum—that inspired it. A list of participating restaurants and the cocktails they created follows after the jump.
The Fall of Grace
Vodka, St. Germain, creme de violette, lemon and lime juice, rose tincture, stellina di notte prosecco
Art and Soul
Whiskey, mezcal, yuzu-agave syrup, rhubarb bitters, house-made vanilla cola
Daisy If You Do . . .
Leather-infused blanco tequila, rye-infused St. Germain, lemon juice, lagavulin 16, soda water and lemon peel
Church & State
Vodka, Cointreau, house-made dry vermouth, apple juice, bar keep bitters, bison grass
Farmers & Fishers
Harold and Maude
Remy Martin VSOP, rum, lemon juice, fresh squeezed orange juice, toasted almond syrup
Famous Grouse, bison-grass-infused rye, Royal Bombier liquer, scotch, green chartreuse, prairie essence
Mie N Yu
Fifth Ave., NYC Punch
Remy Martin, Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Sublime, apple ginger liquor, house-made steeped lavender, lemon peel, apple-spiced ice
Silver Tequila, Montanegro Amaro, lemon juice, spiced cactus drip, pineapple gomme syrup, Prickly Pear Cactus Suds with honey and fleur de salt, cactus gelee
Between the Lines
Vodka, Cointreau Noir, lemon juice, egg whites, cherry shrub, blueberry shrub, pineapple shrub, mint shrub, lemon shrub
POV at the W Hotel
Vodka, gin, Pummelo grapefruit juice, Pummelo syrup, lime juice, bitters, lava salt, Pummelo grapefruit peel
Fenêtre de Cancale (Window of Cancale)
Vodka infused with lemongrass, rum, Remy Martin VSOP infused with white peach, simple syrup, lemon juice, absinthe coconut water air, lemon peel
Sea Legs Daquiri
Mount Gay Silver, fresh lime juice, cane syrup, crème de Violette, sea salt, Ponche Kuba warm whip
In a new twist on the event, a Critic’s Choice panel—including local Top Chef contender Mike Isabella, with whom nearly everyone stopped for a picture, PX master bartender Todd Thrasher, and The Washingtonian’s Sophie Gilbert—met just before the party to crown one mixologist the winner of the evening. They selected Art and Soul’s Robert Flores for his Coleman Juice, a concoction with mezcal, whiskey, and rhubarb bitters garnished with a house-made Slim Jim. It was the same drink, as it turned out, that was selected as the reader favorite in Washingtonian.com’s online poll.
Because this is one of the few fetes in Washington where more creative dress comes standard, we must pause here to recognize the fashion. Ladies, you killed it in those cocktail dresses. Props to Lesley Benn for her fur-covered stilettos and the ever-gracious Kristin Guiter, the Corcoran’s public-relations director, for her vintage (we assume) butterfly top and leather miniskirt. The showstopping Aureta Thomollari was unusually demure in blunt bangs and a long-sleeved retro cocktail dress and fur wrap. Gents, you cleaned up nicely as well—if there was a pair of khakis in the house, we didn’t see them.
As is the case with nearly every party that has a guest list of more than ten, drinks ran out far earlier than everyone expected. Whether this was the result of poor planning or the event’s excessive popularity is anyone’s guess, but we clocked Café Atlántico folding first at 9:53 (not even 90 minutes into the night!), and Againn closed up shop just minutes later. By 10:30, almost the entire party had migrated to the far less exciting beer-and-wine bar upstairs. Grumbles (both on Twitter and in person) could be heard here and there about the ratio of dollars paid to craft cocktails consumed, but most people were content to down Peronis and book it back down to the dance floor.