A Blog Posting Commissioned by Absolut Vodka
I’ve always wondered about the difference between art and crafts, so I questioned a few people about it recently, and it turns out, as far as I can make out, that the main difference is that crafts are useable—think knitted tea-cosy or a kiln-fired vases, whereas art is to be admired, looked at, and groked, as it were. Both, I’m told, require humans to be involved, so a machine that cranks out 1,000 tea-cosies an hour isn’t crafting them—it’s just making them.
My friend, Ektoras Binikos, manages to combine art and crafts—he’s a very serious artist, and he also crafts some fabulous cocktails. His Absolut Kelly cocktail, for instance, tastes beautiful, and it’s also a joy to behold.
In using Absolut vodka in the drink, Ektoras is using a finely-crafted product. Sure, the stills in Ähus, Sweden, where Absolut is made, produce a great deal of vodka on a regular basis, but without the guidance and expertise of Per Hermansson, the Master Distiller at Absolut, and another personal friend of mine, their vodka wouldn’t be such a finely-crafted product.
Distillation is a very complicated process, and although I could probably ramble on for a couple of hours about how it all works, my knowledge of this subject is miniscule when compared with the likes of Per Hermansson, so I’ll just ask you to trust me on this one.
Try an Absolut Kelly, and taste art and crafts coming together as one in the glass. It’s a thing of great beauty.
Ektoras Binikos, 2nd Floor on Clinton, New York
Picture by Simon Jutras
“I created the Absolut Kelly cocktail to be a transformative experience based on Joseph Beuys’ idea of the ‘anti-image’. The outward appearance of the Absolut Kelly—with its gray, muted tones—belies its combination of unexpectedly colorful, complex flavors. All components were carefully selected to represent the ethos and sensibilities of this great art institution that is the Sean Kelly Gallery.” Ektoras Binikos
1.5 parts Absolut vodka
.5 part Becherovka
1 part lime juice
1 part yuzu juice
1.5 parts gum Arabic syrup or simple syrup
3 shiso leaves (2 for garnish)
2 lime wedges
4 drops of Mastiha water
3 drops of Hella Citrus Bitters
3 drops of Bergamot Bitters
Meyer lemon zest (or lemon/lime zest)
100 mg of activated charcoal powder
Smoked sea salt for garnish
In a martini shaker, muddle 2 lime wedges, one shiso leaf, the gum Arabic syrup and the Mastiha water. Add ice and remaining ingredients except for the Bergamot bitters. Shake well. Strain into a high ball glass filled with ice and rimmed with smoked sea salt. Garnish with 2 shiso leaves and top with 2-3 drops of Bergamot bitters.