There are those days where you have a technique you’ve been using, where you are reasonably pleased with the results, and then someone else comes along that reduces your pitiful efforts from Gold Medal to 3rd Grade Participation Trophy. This is one of those days, and the Artesian bar in the The Langham hotel in Hong Kong is that someone.
Their “Seasonal Promotion” this Spring is a series of three cocktails evoking classic, very recognizable works of art. The one pictured atop this post sounds delicious, with saffron gin, Chartreuse, lemon, and grenadine, among other ingredients. But let’s be honest, regardless of how it tastes, Holy Jehoshaphat, look at it! The surface is based on Mondrian’s Tableau series, one of those modern pieces you look at and say, “I could do that,” before realizing that you didn’t think of it.
The other two, expressions of Dali and Van Gogh, at least as impressive. You can read more about Artesian and see a slideshow with these images, counterposed with the original works of art at Blouin Art Info.
Honestly, I want to try approximating this, but I genuinely don’t have the first frigging idea how they pull this off. First off, you would need to make the drink very exactingly. Just to make the “canvas” for these garnishes, you need a perfect foam. It has to have just the right density and durability, and (the hardest in my experience) be formed by perfectly uniform and tiny bubbles. But that’s the easy part. I could manage that.
How on earth does Rajenda Limbu execute those details at that scale? If it is a decal, it’s a technology I’ve never encountered before. I don’t think you could do this with a stencil, or series of stencils rather. It has to be done by hand.
The Dali one extends down the outside of the glass. The Mondrian uses a straight edge. And I’m not sure which would be harder to execute, the zillion little brush strokes in various color of the Van Gogh, or the solid blocks of uniform color in the Mondrian.
And they sell these for 158 Hong Kong Dollars! (About $21 US) That is an expensive cocktail, sure, but each looks like it has at least 45 minutes of work in it. How do they afford to sell these drinks with so much labor cost? And how do they execute them without the drink getting warm by the time the garnish is done? And I repeat, how do they do the garnish in the first place?
No really, I’m asking.