The Ackland Art Museum is promoting its first ARTINI — a 1930s-themed evening of style, drinks, and entertainment inspired by the museum’s current exhibition of prints from the period — with Feature Nights at local bars.
Some of the area’s best bartenders were invited to recreate classic American cocktails for the evening on Thursday at the Crunkleton, and the response was enthusiastic. The Ackland staff said “creative juices got flowing” and bartenders “really thought about it,” experimenting with recipes and using everything from old recipe books to historical stories to create new drinks and modify barroom classics. Feature Nights allow guests to sample sponsor-venue’s signature ARTINI cocktails in advance. Half of the proceeds from ARTINI sales on these nights are donated to the Ackland, and museum staff is on hand to sell tickets and answer questions.
Gary Crunkleton calls the early 1900s “the golden age of cocktails.” He answered the Ackland’s challenge by putting his own spin on the classic Chrysanthemum Martini Thursday night, which he describes as “a beautiful drink, very delicate… appreciated by a softer palette.” Crunkleton’s ‘Barrel-Aged Chrysanthemum Artini’ features gin to dull the drink’s original sweetness, and is aged to bring out a subtle mint flavor. He garnishes each ARTINI with a mum, emphasizing that he is concerned “more about quality than quantity.”
Brandon Foste, the Ackland’s development strategist, said that he is most excited for the featured music at ARTINI event on March 14: vintage jazz and blues performed by Tea Cup Gin, a popular local band with a passion for 1900s standards and creating their own music within that tradition.
Emily Bowles, the museum’s director of communications, said she is excited to “see the parts all come together,” and to see “what the guests bring to the ambiance.” While it is definitely not a costume party, Bowles said that guests often dress with a nod to the theme. At a previous Warhol gala, she said, “some people looked like they’d come straight out of The Factory.”
The staff is excited about how the event will attract a new demographic and encourage guests to experience the artwork in meaningful new ways. Foster expects the ARTINI to bring in a mix of museum regulars as well as a younger crowd.
“The event will appeal to graduate students and young professionals,” said Allison Portnow, the Ackland’s public programs manager.
The Ackland ARTINI will be Friday, March 14, and tickets are available at the Ackland Museum Store. Other sponsor-venues include Top of the Hill, The Franklin Hotel, and Sugarland.
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