Cocktails with a side of art

Nightlife — By Jacy Meyer on September 14, 2010 at 4:09 am

In general, I’m a wine girl. When going out with friends, nine times out of ten, I’ll have a nice glass of vino. I do enjoy a well-made cocktail now and again, and my favorite place to sip them is Cloud 9. On the ninth floor of the Hilton Prague hotel, the views are amazing, the décor classy and the service (and cocktails) perfect. Through October 7, there’s another reason to visit, Cloud 9 Contemporary.

Cloud 9 Contemporary is showcasing contemporary art sculptures by young designers, right in the bar. The pieces are fun and imaginative; and the space doubles well as a de facto gallery, with window niches now each filled with a funky sculpture. To make things even more fun, Cloud 9 manager and master bartender Roman Uhlíř has created a cocktail to match each artwork. I had the chance to speak with him at the exhibition’s opening and we discussed how he went from looking at a particular sculpture to making it into a yummy drink.

“For example, Figure of Breakdown, when I saw the figure, I thought of an old distillery, so of course had to choose Scotch whisky,” he said. “It’s common to use whisky and ginger ale, ginger is often added to tea, so I added green tea. With the tea, it’s like a health drink.”

Garnished with mint, the drink is smooth and fresh. The sculpture meanwhile was my favorite, a totally dejected character made from welded pipes and a huge light bulb for a face. It’s interesting to follow Uhlíř’s thought processes.

“When I see something for the first time, I stare at and think, what are its components?” he said. “When I saw Gurmet, I thought of a martini glass with something inside, I’m thinking salmon martini.”

Gurmet (the art piece) consists of two large black plates with lighted red shrimp on one and lit-up blue snails on the other. Luckily, for Gurmet the drink, Uhlíř didn’t act on his original inspiration.

“I chose something similar to an apple martini, with vodka and fresh apple,” he said. “It must be simple because the art piece is simple.”

Another drink that could have gone horribly wrong was the one that matches up with Blastule, a small round piece lit from within.

“To me, this looked like an eye of an octopus, so I used Bols green tea, which is very popular in Japan, where they eat seafood,” he explained.

Uhlíř’s favorite drink and art piece though, is Forbidden Fruit. The sculpture is an apple, created with what looks like hundreds of aluminum cupcake forms. The drink is tart, using Uhlíř’s own orange syrup and Skyy passion fruit vodka.

Cloud 9 plans to continue offering art exhibitions, with a new one planned about every two months. Uhlíř is pleased with the concept.

“It’s nice for our bar and it’s interesting to drink this cocktail which I made after seeing these sculptures,” he said. “People can think about drinks and artwork.”

Photos by Jacy Meyer

Tags: Art, cocktails, Nightlife

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