Lovers of art and artful cocktails gathered at the Corcoran Gallery Saturday night for its fifth annual “Artini” fundraiser.
Mixologist Andy Bixby, who works for D.C. restaurant Smith Commons, drew inspiration from John George Brown’s “The Longshoremen’s Noon,” an 1879 painting hanging in the Corcoran that depicts blue-collar workers enjoying a midday break.
“I love Manhattans,” Bixby said, thinking about what he’d drink on a break, and then revealed the magic ingredient of his “Smoke Over Manhattan”: honey-smoked Jack Daniels.
Bixby and 10 other mixologists shared their cocktails with almost 700 young professionals who paid between $100 and $150 to sample the drinks and support ArtReach, the Corcoran’s educational program.
Sam Haltiwanger from Ardeo + Bardeo mixed apple and brown sugar into his “HANDlebar,” inspired by artist Jane Hammond’s work “Hand Held.”
Haltiwanger said he was struck by the “collage-like” effect of the piece, so he wanted to “have a lot going on ... flavors from different American cultures.”
The party showcased local DJ Chris Nitti and featured appetizers like chocolate-covered strawberries and roast-beef sliders. It was hosted by the 1869 Society, the Corcoran’s organization for young art lovers, and sponsored by Remy Cointreau SA and other liquor companies.
Joe Ambrose from P.O.V. at the W Hotel was anointed the “Critics Choice” winner for his “Theo’s Flower,” featuring 42 Below Vodka. It was his take on Terry Winters’s painting “Theophrastus Garden 2.”
Readers voting in the Washingtonian magazine, Artini’s media sponsor, deemed Ronald Flores of Art and Soul their “fan favorite.” His “Zeitgeist” brewed Mount Gay Rum with rooibos tea. His muse was the Aaron Douglas painting “Into Bondage.”
Lee Brenner, a former MySpace executive who now runs hypervocal.com, said he agreed to serve on the steering committee because the crowd of culturally attuned people between the ages of 18 to 35 falls precisely into his irreverent news site’s ideal demographic.
Public-relations professional Lindley Thornburg, the chairwoman of the event, said Artini exposes the variety of restaurants and bars “all over the city”.
The event also gives people like Thornburg and the Corcoran’s vice president of communications and marketing, Kristin Guiter, a chance to show off their artsy chic.
Guiter wore a bright-red vintage number while Thornburg was radiant in white, which blended well with the luminous alabaster sculptures on the Corcoran’s grand staircase.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)