Monday, January 11, 2016


MI6. Oil on panel, 12" x 12". Not for sale.

Many homework assignments were given over the course of making Mixology With a Twist, but Ruins' Crystal Bertholic dished out the biggest one of all.

She sent not one or two, but five recipes to try. By the time I collected the ingredients, the book deadline loomed large, and painting time was nearly gone. So we had to narrow it down to one. 

Vying against contenders such as DJ Lance and the Black Yukon Sucker Punch, MI6 stood out. Clean and light, this spiritous drink filled a needed position in the recipe lineup. The MI6 is a twist on the classic Vesper, and is named for the British secret service. It adds a lovely, subtle floral note with chamomile liqueur, offset with a dash of bitters.

Wanting to capture the bright elegance of the drink in the painting, I bought a mid-century stainless mixing pitcher (thanks, Raising the Bar!) as a nod to the 1953 James Bond novel "Casino Royale," in which Vesper Lynde appears. The metallic pattern in the art deco wallpaper reflects in the drink, emphasizing its clarity. MI6 ended up one of my favorite paintings from the book. Lucky for me, as my husband claimed it, and now I will have to look at it for a very long time.

Adriana Janovich featured the MI6 prominently in her article about Mixology With a Twist in the Spokesman-Review. You can read the article here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bad News From Houston

Bad News From Houston. Oil on panel, 12" x 12". 
$595. [Buy now.]

It's January already, and time to ease out of the deadly holiday combo of insanity and debilitating laziness. Naturally, on the first post-holiday Monday, I came down with a cold. Small wonder it isn't worse, given the number and strength of cocktails consumed over the preceding weeks.

On the subject of strong cocktails, I give you Bad News From Houston. (Well, not literally give, but it is for sale.) This is one of my absolute favorite drinks from both books combined, hands down. The mix of rye whiskey, amaro and two vermouths is already right up my alley, but the real kicker is the little bit of salt that makes the whole thing so buttery-awesome.

The recipe came to be in Mixology With a Twist courtesy of Seth Sempere at Spur in Seattle. Seth also happens to be the vice president of Washington's chapter of the national bartender's guild, as if this drink isn't proof enough that he knows what the hell he is doing. (Trust me, it is.) 

This was one of those paintings that I did twice, as the first painting didn't come close to doing the drink justice. Not sure what painting would, honestly, but I was much happier with this one. Both paintings featured the "horn"-handled mid-century bar tools and wagon-wheel-esque fifties coupe found at a second-hand store in Sunnyside. But this painting succeeded with a simplified—therefore strengthened—composition.

If you desperately want the recipe but don't have the book, please click this link to get it. If you desperately want the painting, please find the link under the photo above.

Happy New Year!