Royal Academy celebrates the Martini

7th August, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

Described by Ernest Hemingway as “cool and clean”, the Royal Academy in London has put on an exhibition in celebration of the Martini cocktail.

James Bond likes his Martinis shaken not stirred

Launched in collaboration with Belvedere vodka, Legends of the Martini is a multisensory, interactive experience that explores the evolution of the classic cocktail and the stars who made it famous.

Photographers, set designers, film makers and musicians have been asked to reinterpret eight colourful characters from history associated with the Martini via still life images, short films and musical scores.

Visitors will be challenged to match works of art within the exhibition to different Martini-loving celebrities, from Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra to Kate Moss.

Can you guess which Martini lover this piece represents?

Can you guess which Martini lover this piece represents?

Taylor was famous for ordering a Martini as soon as she arrived on set, while Humphrey Bogart’s legendary last words were: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

Guests are also given the chance to writhe around in a giant Martini glass à la burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, watch a short film inside a giant cocktail shaker and sniff Martini recipes from different eras in “smell pods”.

“From the roaring ‘20s, past the swinging sixties, through the ‘90s to the present day, the exhibition will highlight characters who have been known to enjoy a Martini (or two) in their time,” said curator Tory Turk.

Turk’s inspiration for the exhibition came from the Bright Young Things, a group of rich bohemian socialites including Nancy Mitford and Cecil Beaton, who threw lavish parties in London during the ‘20s.

Claire Smith, head of mixology and spirit creation at Belvedere added: “The Martini is one of the world’s most iconic drinks. It is steeped with history and glamour, yet is extremely divisive.

“We want to demystify the drink, helping people work out which Martini suits their palate and teaching them that there really is a Martini to suit everyone.”

Running throughout August, the exhibition is free but guests can buy tickets for the tasting experience, which includes three mini martinis, for £15.

Among the Martini styles on pour will be wet and dry and shaken and stirred. A pop-up bar will also be selling Belvedere vodkatinis from 6-10pm daily.

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