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Cheers to infinity

April 16th, 2018

A photo of the AGO Bistro drink "Obliteration Fizz" with red and blue dots in it.

Obliteration Fizz is on the menu at AGO Bistro. Image by the AGO.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors invites visitors to imagine what infinity looks like. The AGO Bistro’s bartender and mixologist Stephen Gaessler wants you to try and taste it. It’s why Gaessler has created a menu of Kusama-themed cocktails for art-goers looking to extend the experience.

Stephen has been making art-themed cocktails since the fall of 2016, and continues to amaze us with how he combines artistic influences, colours and styles – as well as cultural history – into his drinkable creations. Check out what he did for Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mystical Landscapes.

For Infinity Mirrors, Stephen took cues from the patterns and colours Kusama uses in her work, the era of 1960’s avant-garde New York in which she rose to fame, and of course, the flavours of her home country of Japan.

One drink Stephen created to celebrate Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is inspired by the final artwork in the exhibition, The Obliteration Room, which gets increasingly covered in bright dot stickers as more and more visitors go through the show. To capture the whimsy of The Obliteration Room, Stephen uses raspberry and blue Curaçao flavour pearls in this cocktail, Obliteration Fizz, which he shows us how to make step-by-step in the video below.

Another cocktail on the menu, A Love Letter for Nixon, recalls a letter Kusama wrote to then-president Richard Nixon in 1968, protesting the Vietnam War. She wrote, “Let’s forget ourselves, dearest Richard, and become one with the Absolute, all together in the altogether. As we soar through the heavens, we’ll paint each other with polka dots, lose our egos in timeless eternity, and finally discover the naked truth: You can’t eradicate violence by using more violence.”

Inspired by the letter, Stephen’s concept for Love Letter is beautiful and layered. The cocktail is sweet with a bit of acidity, combining shochu, yuzu liqueur, lychee cactus pear juice. As a final touch, Stephen adds an edible flower for a romantic offering of peace.

A pink cocktail with a purple flower on top, called "Love Letter for Nixon."

Order A Love Letter for Nixon at AGO Bistro. Image by the AGO.

AGO Bistro also offers a Yayoi Kusama-themed prix fixe for lunch and dinner, as well as brunch options and an Omakase-style chef’s tasting menu, which can be ordered 36 hours in advance. Also special to Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors are two daily-baked sweets available at shopAGO – a matcha mousse cake, and yuzu and black sesame macarons.

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