Five Cocktails From The Creative Time Spring Gala 2017

A bathtub full of Bombay Sapphire gin and a medley of the most uncommon flavors come to life

New York City public art non-profit Creative Time convened this week for their annual spring gala. The organization, forever growing in acclaim for their ambitious large-scale commissions, honored the work of Opening Ceremony founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. They also teased at their Pledges of Allegiance project featuring artist-designed flags with social justice messaging—which properly commences across NYC on Flag Day, 14 June 2017. At the gala five flags were auctioned off—including one from Creative Time alum Pedro Reyes and another by data artist Trevor Paglen. The proceeds from the night ultimately go back to supporting the broader unfurling of Pledges of Allegiance—and other projects like Sophie Calle‘s Green-Wood Cemetery installation. For the second year in a row, however, everyone was treated to the unconventional—from the strange venue (this time City Point Brooklyn) to sponsor Bombay Sapphire‘s mixed drinks. The gin producer’s North American Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward once again crafted cocktails for the event—and delivered concoctions that seemed to come from a different sensory planet.

“Everything I try to do is the opposite of what you think you’re getting,” Hayward explains to CH. “The element of surprise, the value of it is more than fun. When I go out for a drink, I want a wow factor. I want something that I can’t get elsewhere.” This mentality led Hayward to venture well beyond established mixers. Truffle oil gets partnered with coconut. Cantaloupe honey-butter and lavender-infused honey have their place. “Because I travel all the time, I pick up little things from places everywhere. I write them down and develop flavor combinations from these ideas,” he says. Hayward is quick to admit that making cocktails for a highly imaginative arts organization does push him further. “I felt the pressure,” he says, “but I laughed as well.” From a one-of-a-kind bathtub gin punch to two cocktails on tap and two produced through extraordinary means, Hayward runs the gamut. He even had one designed for those who don’t traditionally like gin, at all. In the heat of a signature cocktail movement that seems to know no end, very few come close to the following five.

Bombay Bubble Bath

On the surface, this cocktail clearly references the late 1600s term “bathtub gin,” describing residents of England making their own DIY spirit. The unexpected, however, unfolds from here. “It smells very rich and bright and citrusy—almost tropical,” Hayward says. “Underneath, there is a little demon of savory flavor. It’s coconut and truffle with white cacao in the background.” It’s also topped with a citric acid solution infused with grapefruit peels, lychee and cantaloupe honey-butter bubbles, lightly blended into a foam.

2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin

2 bar-spoons coconut and truffle infused white cacao liqueur

.5 oz orange peel infused Lillet Blanc

6 drops of unsalted melted butter

3 oz of fresh lychee and fresh melon strained through a coffee filter

2 grams soy lecithin

Citric acid solution infused with grapefruit peels, lychee and cantaloupe honey-butter bubbles.

The Emperor Strikes Back

Named for Emperor Shun Nung, who discovered tea when leaves fell into boiling water back in 2732 BC, this tipple will appeal to non-gin drinkers. Between the coconut water and white tea bolstered with ginger, there’s creaminess at play with spice—altogether bound with a bit of pear. There’s enough going on here—substantially—to find an element to love.

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire gin

1.5 oz coconut water

2 teaspoons white tea mixed with diced ginger

.75 oz Asian pear

1 gram Xanthan Gum Powder

All White In The Night

A personal favorite from the night, this cocktail’s use of Maraschino liqueur, pineapple syrup and almond milk creates an almost tropical creaminess. Doubling up on the vermouth lends the drink a clarity and complexity. It’s a sensory delight.

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire gin

.5 oz Martini dry vermouth

.5 oz Martini blanco vermouth

.25 oz Maraschino liqueur

.5 oz clear orange peel and pineapple syrup

.5 oz almond milk

Luxury Chair

We’ve often seen activated charcoal put to good use, but when paired with fresh citrus and gentle lavender, there’s a visceral disconnect that rewards. This is a surprisingly bright and bubbly drink, but the charcoal’s dark coloration truly defies expectation.

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire gin

1.5 oz Pressed Juicery Charcoal Lemonade

.5 oz activated charcoal

.5oz lavender infused honey

.5 oz lemon juice

2 oz club soda

The Buck Stops Here

Arguably the most gin-forward of Hayward’s mixed drinks, here he utilizes Bombay Sapphire East Gin, which incorporates lemongrass and black peppercorn. For the cocktail, fresh lemongrass and ginger juice (as well as bright blue lemonade) punch up a variation on a classic Buck.

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire East Gin

1.5 oz Pressed Juicery Blue Lemonade

2 bar-spoons blue spirulina

.5 oz lemongrass tea

.75 oz ginger juice

.5 oz Lime juice

Garnish with fresh lemongrass

Images courtesy of BFA