Monday, August 10, 2015

The Scientist

Sheila's Medicine. Oil on panel, 12" x 12".

About the drink:
When I started this new book project, the first person I thought of was Alison Collins, owner of Boots Bakery and Lounge. I had been enjoying her drinks for years at Mizuna, and continued to enjoy them when she opened her own vegan bakery, deli and bar.

Last December, I met up with her to try some original creations. When I arrived at Boots, I here's what I found: Alison, looking like an adorable mad scientist, hunched over a row of ten glasses—each containing a variation of a drink she was designing just for me. When she finished the drink, she named it "Sheila's Medicine," but I want to rename it "The Scientist" in honor of this scene:

The complex drink, adorned with a fresh cocktail onion (how did she know I love painting onions?) has an overall sour cherry vibe. This comes from Amargo-Vallet, a bitter liqueur from Mexico, which stars in the drink alongside its sister liqueur, Fernet-Vallet. Other ingredients include gin and a delicious house-made agrodolce (sour and sweet) syrup containing orange peel, ginger and white balsamic vinegar.  I made this syrup at home and found that once strained, it leaves a pile of amazing candied orange peel. Bonus!

About the painting:
I wanted to capture the feel of the scene I found at Boots the day I tried this recipe. It took me eight months to figure out that I should do what Alison did: put the winning drink in a coupe-ish glass in front of a row of hopefuls. And of course I couldn't resist filling a glass with onions. I love how they reflect back and forth, becoming more colorful with each bounce of the light. Boots has a lot of string lights, so I set some up just above the drinks to reflect on the shiny black "bar" and in the glasses. As I work on this project it's getting more difficult each time to come up with a unique perspective, so I was happy with how different this painting looks from the rest.

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