Here’s Cheers to Our 2022 Limited-Edition Mardi Gras Bottled Cocktails and Artist
Being the Official Gin Partner of both the 2022 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and WorldPride Sydney 2023 is an honour on many fronts, including on the cocktail front where we are able to collaborate to produce two new 2022 limited-edition bottled cocktails. We’re been therefore super proud to reveal Watermelon Riot and Espress Yourself, our latest kaleidoscopic coming together of minds, hearts and spirits, concocted by our in-house cocktail virtuoso Rocky Hair and illustrated by comic-enthusiast, Sydneysider and LGBTQIA+ artist @claudinsky. Party with them, gift them to your loved ones but most importantly of all, enjoy them. Here’s how.
Both bottles are based on our Signature Dry Gin, so they’re a guaranteed good time. First, dip into Watermelon Riot, a watermelon gimlet featuring a generous splash of fresh watermelon, lime, passionfruit, agave and, of course, the main event: our Signature Dry Gin. Pour this juicy number over ice, top with soda and a wedge of fresh melon, and paint those nails with glitter already.
To keep the party going, jump on board a bottle of Espress Yourself. We like to think of this a stepping stone between a gin-based Espresso Martini and your all-time queer fav, the Iced Vanilla Latte. What could be better? Golden roast cold brew combines with butterscotch, vanilla and a serve of our Signature Dry Gin in this robust, layered cocktail. Pour over ice or serve chilled and neat, this baby will keep you dancing.
The artwork for both of these bottles is as vibrant as the artist who created them. Claudia Chinyere Akole (aka @claudinsky) chats to us below about her process in bringing them to life.
How does your art in these labels reflect your own experiences, or what do they mean to you personally?
With these designs I tried to cover the feeling of overwhelming love and acceptance that I experience and witness in queer spaces. From the queer warehouse parties of my youth, to public LGBTQ+ events in Sydney leading up to the same sex marriage referendum, to queer arts events like YES Exhibition in Sydney with other LGBTQ+ art heros, to queer performance spaces for pole dance, aerial arts & burlesque – no matter which parts of my life happen to overlap with LGBTQ+ communities, I always wonder how so much ire and misunderstanding can be directed at these spaces that are so filled with joy for life, acceptance of every kind of body, and willingness to understand other experiences.
How important is representation in your art, and in the project?
As soon as I started working on this project, I really wanted to incorporate colour inspiration from a few contemporary Pride flags, including the Philly Pride flag, and the Progressive Pride flag, and the Intersex-Inclusive Progressive Pride flag.
I know we all fit under the rainbow but I intended to keep Black and Brown, trans and nonbinary people at the front of my mind while working. With that in mind I wanted to reflect the celebration of all kinds of bodies I see in queer spaces – fat bodies, trans bodies, hairy or smooth, covered or nude – I love to see it!
How would you describe your style of drawing and approach to using colour in both of these labels, and also on the label you created for our Tailored range?
My creative process (even when digital) is centred around my longest and truest love of drawing traditionally, specifically with POSCA markers on multiple layers of tracing paper. I love working within the constraints of my traditional mediums i.e. limited colour palettes, bright highly saturated colours, semi-transparent texture, and marker mark making.
The pattern featured on the Tailored label design is something I call ʻRestlessnessʼ. It started as a drawing exercise I'd do to channel my anxiety by drawing a continuous pattern and keeping my hand moving continuously; I would fill sketchbook pages with it. Over the years its become a visual signature of mine, and I've featured it in so many types of work: as a mural, on outdoor signal box art (you may spot a few of my boxes on Newtown, Chippendale, and Rockdale streets), as design elements in comics, in illustrations. Its like a fingerprint that's different every time - so I've created a pattern for this Tailored label by drawing a sequence of lines changing to Philly Pride colours
What does Mardi Gras mean to you?
Mardi Gras to me is a massive expression of every varied way we love each other; a way to forge bonds with every generation of queer folks before us who dared to be themselves despite the danger and misunderstanding that comes with it.
Enjoy Mardi Gras this year, we’re so proud to be on the team.