October 25: Picasso

PicassoPablo Picasso, born on this day in 1881 was one of the 20th Century’s most important artists. A master of cubism, Picasso was one of the few modern artists who could do it all and do it well. He painted, he sculpted, he did print work, he made ceramics.

Now some would argue that Picasso’s primitive inspired cubist style was simplistic or amateurish. However, I would say that those qualities are specifically what make his work so great. Picasso’s cubist works are unsettling and otherworldly. Take for instance his masterpiece Guernica, The painting, which depicts the German bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, would lose much of its power if painted in a more “traditional” style. A more classical take on Guernica, filled with death and detached limbs, would just look crass. Instead, Guernica is able to properly capture the horror, fear and confusion the people of Guernica by using cubist distortion.

Today we’re going to pay tribute to Picasso with a cubist take on a classic cocktail. Invented in 2000 by bartender Colin Peter Field at the Ritz in Paris, the Picasso Martini is a funny little twist on a Martini. The ingredients are the same as those of a classic Martini, but the presentation is quite different. Rather than mixing gin and dry vermouth, Field combined Nolly Pratt dry vermouth and distilled water to create a dry vermouth ice cube. To make the cube, place 3/4 ounce Dry Vermouth in an ice cube tray and then fill to the top with water.

Picasso Martini

  • 2 1/2 ounces chilled Gin
  • 1 cube Nolly Pratt Dry Vermouth

Pour the gin into a cocktail glass, and then add the vermouth ice cube.

Tomorrow: The end of the line for the Pony Express.

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