Tuesday, December 8, 2015

London Breezy

London Breezy. Oil on panel, 12" x 12".  $595. [buy now]

London was already calling Camrin Costello when Teya and I met her one summer night at Casper Fry. The bar wasn't terribly busy, and as usual, the subject of the work-in-progress book came up. Camrin, intrigued by the book idea, told the story of a cocktail she invented on a trip to England.

In London for an interview at the University of Westminster, she spent a day at Westminster Abbey. The breeze blowing through the city provided both the inspiration and name for the drink she made that night: a concoction of gin, chartreuse, lemon and lime. I think she must have known the interview had been a success when she finished her new drink off with a splash of celebratory champagne. (Camrin lives in London now. Bully for her!)

For the painting, I wanted to capture the contrast of the citrusy drink with a cool cloudy background that suggested the tradition of an old english pub. I changed the color of the purple flocked wallpaper to a stormy gray, and was quite happy with the result—especially the way the oversized pattern leads into the composition.

The recipe for the London Breezy is available in Mixology With a Twist: The Art of Modern Cocktails,

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Good Humor

Good Humor. Oil on panel, 12" x 12". $595. [buy now]

Seattle-savvy friends from both sides of the state unanimously recommended Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium as a can't-miss cocktail destination in the Emerald City.

So, during the west-side summer-show trip, Paul and I dutifully stopped in. Canon was already busy at around 4pm, but there wasn't time to come back, so the first bartender to hand us a menu got my spiel. That bartender was Sean Johnson. Without missing a beat he whipped up a frothy orange-colored concoction, then proceeded to decorate the foamy drink with a stencil and a spray bottle of bright-red Angostura bitters.

One sip explained the drink's moniker:somehow Johnson had caused a combo of gin, Cointreau, OJ, Licor 43, egg white and Angostura to taste exactly like an orange creamsicle. Minutes later Sean's original recipe appeared on the bar in front of me, jotted down on a scrap of  paper between drink orders. I think Good Humor described the bartender as well as the drink!

A note about Canon's bar: everywhere I looked was a still life setup. So much great stuff! I literally could have brought in an easel and painted right there. Since that was slightly out of the question, I had to recreate it best I could. Which ended up being pretty well, since I already owned some similar items and, oddly enough, the identical vintage art-deco lamp (see photo of Sean making my drink below). Only the base of the lamp shows in the painting, as the lamp itself conveniently provides the lighting for the still-life setup.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Weber

The Weber. Oil on panel, 8"' x 8". $295. [buy now]

In the frenzy of finishing Mixology With a Twist and getting ready for the show at Mizuna, apparently a few things got neglected. Like posting some of my favorite paintings from the new book!

The Weber, invented by Clover's Cameron Walls, honors the memory of former Clover bartender Steven Weber. A friend of Walls, Weber was also a fellow whiskey fan. This drink is a lovely, thoughtfully-layered take on the bourbon-based sour genre. Plum bitters may not be available at every corner store, but their contribution to the Weber is worth the effort of finding them.

I think Clover must have closed its doors the night of the book release party, since so many of its bartenders were in attendance! I was thrilled to have Cameron and Kristy White among the revelers at Mizuna.

As always, Cameron's recipe, along with thirty-two other tasty originals, are available in the new book. Cheers!