Find Limited Edition, Art-Inspired Cocktails at These 10+ Triangle Spots

Find Limited Edition, Art-Inspired Cocktails at These 10+ Triangle Spots

——Putting the ART in ARTisanal cocktail——

NCMA’s newest exhibition, The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art brings together 30+ iconic O’Keeffe pieces, along with the contemporary artists she’s inspired. But those up and coming artists aren’t the only ones she’s inspired…

In honor of the limited-run exhibition, bars and restaurants through the Triangle are flexing their creative muscles, premiering specialty cocktails inspired by O’Keeffe paintings. They’ve really stepped up their game here, creating cocktails that are as diverse, innovative and artistic and the artist herself. 

Get ready for wild garnishes, rare spirits and unexpected flavors. Track ‘em down before they’re gone at these 10+ Triangle spots—they’re only available throughout the exhibition, which is now running through January 20, 2019. Cheers!

1. Golden Hillsides at bu•ku Raleigh

What it is: A gin-based cocktail featuring chartreuse and peach-thyme wheat ale syrup made with fresh peaches and Allagash White Beer 

The inspo: “Inspired by Loie Hollowell’s Yellow Mountains work of art, this cocktail is influenced by the large regal curves the painting displays that reminds me of the roaring 20’s driving me to use gin as my base spirit and yellow chartreuse to complement the flavor profile of the Cardinal Gin. I wanted to use orange and peach as a fruit aspect to the drink to reflect the orange and yellow tones of the painting.” – Andrea Chan, Bar Manager

Find it: bu•ku Raleigh, 110 E. Davie St., Raleigh

2. Georgia O’Peach at bu•ku Wake Forest

What it is: A smoky cocktail made with mezcal, tequila, grilled peach puree, egg white and vanilla turbinado syrup. 

The inspo: “This cocktail was inspired by the warm hues, as well as the curvaceous figures in Yellow Mountains, which immediately brought peaches to mind. The desert landscape reminded me of the smokiness found in tequila and mezcal. I chose to grill the peaches and brûlée the garnish as if it were baked in the hot sun of New Mexico, where most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous paintings were inspired.” – Theo Lentz, bartender

Find it: bu•ku Wake Forest, 1228 Heritage Links Dr., Wake Forest

3. Secret Garden at Crossroads at Carolina Inn 

What it is: A refreshingly floral cocktail featuring Rosé vodka, St. Germain and hibiscus syrup, garnished with edible flowers

The inspo: “Springtime makes me feel like a happy kid, and I wanted to use a cocktail to inspire that whimsical joy in others, so I created The Secret Garden [inspired by Petunias]. Named for the classic novel about the magic of nature and childhood, The Secret Garden blooms as elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and just a few drops of house-made hibiscus syrup complement a delicate, off-dry Rosé vodka. I garnish the cocktail with fresh, edible flowers and always make sure to remind folks that if they haven’t eaten a flower since preschool, now is the time. I want people to sip this drink and remember the delight of climbing fragrant Magnolia trees or the careless joy of playing tag near thorny rose bushes. I hope those who order it on a dreary January day feel, for a moment, like they’re daydreaming in a sunny garden.” – Susan Pizzuti, bartender

Find it: Crossroads at Carolina Inn, 211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill 

4. Black Iris at The Crunkleton

What it is: A cocktail made with two types of gin, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Creme de Violette and black sesame syrup, garnished with a single rose petal

The inspo: "Black Iris, a layered painting of Georgia O'Keeffe's, follows in her pattern of enlarged depictions of flowers and petals. With this cocktail, I hope to mirror the complexity and beauty of the original painting. In it's most simplified form, this is a riff on an Aviation, a classic gin cocktail that exudes class and elegance in a bygone era. With a black sesame syrup and Creme de Violette, this cocktail has the seductive floral accents needed to stand up to the brightness of the gin and fresh lemon." – Colin Williams, bartender

Find it: The Crunkleton, 320 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

5. Yellow Valley at Hummingbird 

What it is: A balanced tequila-based drink featuring sherry, elderflower, and grapefruit 

The inspo: “This cocktail is inspired by Yellow Mountains by Louie Hollowell included in the The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art. The combination of Reposado tequila, Amontillado sherry, elderflower, agave and grapefruit oils creates an incredibly well-balanced sipper with nutty, floral, and vanilla flavors. Visually, the deep yellow color reflects the yellow mountains in the painting, and the blue space in the middle of the piece – the “valley,” if you will – relates back to the shape of the coup glass the cocktail is served in, and was the inspiration for the drink’s name.” – Coleen Speaks, bartender

Find it: Hummingbird, 1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd, Suite 111, Raleigh 

6. Mount Song at Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter

What it is: A smoky, spirit-forward Mezcal drink with Benedictine and Green Chartreuse, finished with a sunken layer of coffee liqueur

The inspo: “Working with the color palette of Yellow Mountains, and the painting's art deco feel, the drink’s name references one of China's most dramatic peaks. Located in the Yellow Mountain range, it is the birthplace of Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Temple.” – Justin Sykes, bartender

Find it: Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter, 202 Cochran St. 

7. The Sand Hills at Littler

What it is: Modeled on the the classic blood and sand cocktail, this elevated version has two kinds of Scotch, Vermouth, luxardo, cherry syrup and blood orange puree—finished, of course, with a brandied cherry and orange peel.

The inspo:Small Purple Hills immediately reminded us of the classic blood and sand cocktail. This is our play on it, with a wink to the Pacific Northwest through the Rainier cherries, and a double wink to our North Carolina sandhills home, an ancient beach.” – Michael Kilbridge, bartender

Find it: Littler, 110 E. Parrish St., Durham 

8. Datura at Mandolin

What it is: This fun, foamy bev is made with a combination of peach vodka and mezcal, St. Germain, lemon juice, an egg white and—uniquely—aloe juice, then finished with local Crude grapefruit and peppercorn bitters and an aloe garnish.

The inspo: “Georgia O’Keefe’s subject matter focused largely on local flora and the landscape, including Jimson weed, Datura stramonium, which grew new her studio and she painted often. In 1932, she was commissioned to make Jimson Weed which became the most expensive painting made by a woman to sell at auction. Datura stramonium is a psychotropic plant. It can be lethal, too. This cocktail explores the botanical nature of the desert with the use of succulents, the white/green color palette, and touches upon the simplicity of form to create its presentation. Mezcal reinforces this botanical narrative, since it is produced from a succulent as well, and peach vodka hints at the iconic fruits of the South East. The cocktail has a fresh, linear profile with hints of smoke and peach. Slight lemon adds the acidity to balance this refreshing, minimal and nuanced cocktail.” – Peter Marin, bartender

Find it: Mandolin, 2519 Fairview Rd., Raleigh

9. The Beyond at Iris After Dark

What it is: A refreshing play on a Tom Collins made with gin, homemade lavender syrup, lemon juice and ginger ale. 

The inspo: “Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Petunias, we riffed on a Tom Collins to create “The Beyond.” We partnered with Durham Distillery, choosing Conniption Gin as the drink's base. Adding sweet lavender syrup gave the Collins a burst of purple, connecting the cocktail to the painting. The tart lemon juice and tangy ginger ale balances out the drink for a refreshing treat. Georgia O’Keeffe’s takes on floral paintings and landscapes are iconic. Just as she took beloved genres of paintings and made them her own, we’ve done the same with our take on a classic Tom Collins to create “The Beyond.” Visitors can enjoy “The Beyond” during Iris after Dark, each Friday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm in West Building.” – Head Barista Steph Caronna and Food Service Operations Business Manager Rachel Siegel

Find it: Iris Restaurant, 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., every Friday evening from 5:30 to 8:30p

10. Sedano Fiore at Pizzeria Toro

What it is: A vegetal drink made with botanical gin, celery and pepper juice, Chartreuse, Luxardo and lime. The best part? It's finished with the edible flower of your choice.

The inspo: “This drink was inspired by Jimson Weed. We knew the simplicity of the subject matter, the colors and the one, centric flower would translate beautifully into a cocktail. We just love this drink. Beautiful color and balance, almost as pretty as the painting itself.” – Joey Allabach, bartender

Find it: Pizzeria Toro, 105 E. Chapel Hill St., Durham

11. Petunia de Santiago at so•ca

What it is: A gorgeous pink drink made with white rum, hibiscus simple syrup, Tazo 'Passion' tea with lavender, yellow Chartreuse, lime and local Crude ‘Bitterless Marriage’ bitters.

The inspo: “Georgia O’Keeffe’s Petunias piece stood out to me mostly because I really enjoy natural colors of flowers and foliage. Growing up with a big horticulture background, it’s only natural that I love flowers. Contrasting shades of purple brought many flowers to mind, daisies, hibiscus, and lavender. This cocktail focuses on wonderful purple flowers while also embracing acidity, sweetness, and some herbal notes.” - Beverage Director Tolson Kenney

Find it: so•ca, 2130 Clark Ave., Raleigh


Titled, The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, this exhibition features more than 30 works of art by O’Keeffe alongside 20 up and coming artists that you’ll want to keep an eye on. 

O’Keeffe is probably best known for her distinct flower paintings—but don’t for a second think that’s all she’s about. Deemed “The Mother of American Modernism,” O’Keeffe was a fearless pioneer and one of the most significant (not to mention badass) artists of the twentieth century. 

Juxtaposed next to contemporary pieces, this exhibition shines a new light on her essential works and demonstrates the depth and power of her influence. If you think you know O’Keeffe, this exhibition will challenge you think again. 

The exhibition is open to the public at NCMA from October 13, 2018, through January 20, 2019. Find tickets here. 

Find Limited Edition, Art-Inspired Cocktails at These 10+ Triangle Spots
Find Limited Edition, Art-Inspired Cocktails at These 10+ Triangle Spots