Cocktails: The History of Choice
Cocktail history is an inherently fascinating topic, and in the context of our newest exhibition, a relevant one. Crafting the Cocktail features almost entirely contemporary work, but there are many examples that pay homage to historical forms and techniques. There are Wyatt Amend’s ceramic goblets, inspired by age-old Venetian glass-blowing techniques; A. Blair Clemo’s redware is a blend of Turkish and Persian revival and Victorian cut-glass; Perry Price’s muddlers recall styles of the pre-Prohibition era.
Our first exhibition-related program was held December 11th, courtesy of cocktail historian Richard Foss. We learned that the concept of mixing drinks dates back thousands of years, where remnants of alcohol mixed with spices can be found in the ancient Near East; the first official cocktail as we know it today was born in 1806. Richard concluded on a promising note with a view into the future: with the advent of molecular gastronomy, cocktail inventiveness is just beginning. As he put it, there is probably a restaurant within 5 miles of us where someone is mixing a drink with liquid-nitrogened beef and spirits.