101 Best New Cocktails: Absolut Kelly by Ektoras Binikos, 2nd Floor on Clinton, New York
Adapted from a recipe by 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
[See more about Joseph Beuys HERE]
15 ml (5 oz) Becherovka
30 ml (1 oz) lime juice
30 ml (1 oz) yuzu juice
45 ml (1.5 oz) 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.
gaz sez: I’ve been wondering how long it would take before someone created a drink that would be a transformative experience based on Joseph Beuys’ idea of the ‘anti-image,’ and of course, there’s only one bartender in the known universe who would tackle this job. Ektoras Binikos is the most creative bartender I ever did come across, and I’m so impressed that an artist of his caliber chose to use cocktails as a vehicle for some of his work. Get yourself down to the 2nd Floor on Clinton in NYC and be prepared to be impressed. Be prepared to be very impressed.
And in response to a couple of questions, Ektoras added: “The charcoal goes into the shaker like the rest of the ingredients and you just shake and strain into a high ball filled with new ice. No need for a cheesecloth. The active charcoal adds no flavor to the cocktail is purely visual.
“The cocktail is very conceptually based. All components were selected to represent the ethos and sensibilities of the Sean Kelly Gallery which is very much a conceptual based gallery. The visual aspect of the cocktail was very important to me. I wanted to create visually something very provocative . . . [and] I took inspiration from Joseph Beuys, a great German conceptual artist that I admire. J B used lots of gray in his work . . . He had a theory based on the idea of the ‘anti-image’ and by using gray he tried to make you see colors. ‘So it isn’t right to say I’m interested in gray. That’s not right. And I’m not interested in dirt either. I’m interested in a process which reaches much further,’ Beuys said.
“So the goal here was to create a transformative experience. The outward appearance of the drink with its gray muted tones – belies its combination of unexpected complex flavors creating a lucid and colorful experience.
“The medicinal properties of the active charcoal as a natural detoxifier render it a survival elixir in the Beuys tradition.
“Also as a mixologist and visual artist I have this idea that my cocktails are components of a large social sculpture. I love the way people interact around them and [this] is a very meaningful process to me. At the Sean Kelly inaugural gala you had the impression that people were holding little statues referential to a black winged Victory of Samothrace.
PS: Drinking the Absolut Kelly may cause temporary darkening of the stool.”