London’s Connaught Hotel Bar – argued to be the world’s best bar – has launched an exclusive limited edition martini cocktail kit inspired by Jackson Pollock in collaboration with GREY GOOSE and the Saatchi Gallery. Ago Perrone, Director of Mixology, and Giorgio Bargiani, Head Mixologist at The Connaught Hotel Bar, have created the exclusive No.11 Martini which was inspired specifically by Jackson Pollock’s series of numbered action paintings. The kits will directly support the arts and cultural sector that inspired the drink, with all proceeds being donated to London’s Saatchi Gallery and its Learning Programme, which aims to make contemporary art accessible for all.
As well as incorporating GREY GOOSE vodka and the Connaught Bar’s hand-crafted Gin, the kit comes with a GREY GOOSE spoon and stirrer, as well as a coupe carefully hand-painted with edible pigments in a drip design inspired by Jackson Pollock’s painting, available outside of The Connaught Bar for the first time. The kits are available to purchase from the Saatchi Gallery for £100, with two special editions that come with a mixology masterclass from Ago and Giorgio available for £1,000. In celebration of the new must-have cocktail, we sat down with Ago and Giorgio to learn all about their very arty cocktail.
How did you bring Jackson Pollock into your cocktail?
It’s a concept that we developed when we launched our menu Vanguard to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the Connaught Bar. We wanted to create a cocktail that would embody the past, present and future of our Connaught Martini, a drink that would encapsulate our story and signature style. We are naturally passionate about visual arts and believe that inspiration, even in the mixology world, can come from every source, person and moment. Jackson Pollock’s action painting reflected our idea of bringing together all of the customisable elements of the Connaught Martini in an explosion of colours, flavours and aromas. So, the No.11 was born.
What makes the Connaught Martini so special?
It is more than a cocktail. For us and for our guests, the Connaught Martini is an experience, a moment to meet, foster connections and create memories. It is so iconic because of the ritual around it. We bring our special Martini Trolley to the table to make the guest central in this hospitality theatre. It is a highly customisable and personalised serve that we tailor to the taste of the drinker, offering a base spirit and a bespoke aromatic bitter that fits the mood. We co-create this cocktail with our guests and each time it is different, because each guest and each moment are different. The only element that never changes is our spirit, our smile.
Why is it important to you to support the arts?
Imagination and creativity are at the heart of our capability to create new combinations of flavours and experiences for our guests. Arts are an incredible source of inspiration for us. We felt the need to pay tribute to the art that inspired our No.11 but also to give back to this industry that has been affected as badly as our sector over the past year. We thought that the best way to celebrate our journey back to being together and being in business would be to foster an initiative in favour of creative and passionate minds in search of opportunities.
What was the process of designing the glassware like?
It was simple in that it was spontaneous, carried by our passion for this project. Each edible pigment represents one of the aromatic bitters of the original Connaught Martini that are distilled all together in the No.11 version. The idea to film the act of throwing paint at the coupe glasses comes from the will to create an association between mixology and art as well as to demonstrate our support and gratitude to The Saatchi Gallery and its Learning Programme.
Do you have any plans for more arty cocktails in the future?
Craftsmanship and art have been a recurring element in our concept creation lately, so we are definitely after new arty ways to express our ideas and work. Where this will take us next, we don’t know…yet.