Crushed Nun cocktail; Photo by Leah Herman.
Ehren Ashkenazi, bar director of The Modern at the New York Museum of Modern Art, often collaborates with Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery on specialty brews (like the French painter–inspired Paul Saison), but he recently unveiled the restaurant’s first project with exhibiting artists. The two avant-garde filmmakers behind "The Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist's Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets," which runs through January, worked with Ashkenazi on a cocktail called The Crushed Nun (Light on the Veil). Its name comes from a scandalous portrait, by 19th-century painter Jean-Jacques Lequeu, of a nun exposing her breast. The dark, herbaceous riff on a Champagne cocktail combines absinthe, fresh blueberry syrup infused with Strega (an herbal liqueur similar to Chartreuse), sparkling rosé and Angostura bitters. Here, Ashkenazi discusses what it’s like to make drinks with artists.
How does the cocktail relate to the exhibit?
You’re imbibing this medicinal cocktail to get you either prepped for the exhibit or treated afterwards if you were shocked by what you saw. We essentially came up with it as an extension of the exhibit.
How were the Quay Brothers involved in the creation of the drink?
They love sparkling wine from northern Italy. So that became our foundation. Then they came up with The Crushed Nun, which provided the framework for a story.