Perhaps not the most intuitive of cocktail categories, Futurist cocktails include ingredients both weird and ordinary—from anchovy-stuffed communion wafers to lambrusco to amaro. But the offshoot of the Italian Futurist art movement was often less about ingredients and more about expectations—or rather, the unexpected.
The Italian Futurist art movement (1909 – 1944) radically rejected the past through social, political and aesthetic means. Bolstered by the industrial revolution, much of the period’s art exalted speed, energy and individuality—praising achievement over harmony, and often resulting in pieces that distorted perspective and attempted to illustrate dynamism. Somewhat unexpectedly, the principles of the movement manifested in food and drink giving birth to one of the most bizarre cookbooks in Italian history—F.T. Marinetti’s La Cucina Futurista.
The futurists believed that eating and drinking was an underutilized avenue to manipulating a dream state, as well as a means of dashing expectations. In practice, food would arrive rapidly while perfumes were used to enhance taste and heighten senses. Technology—from electrolyzers to autoclaves—found its way into the kitchen helping to execute techniques previously unseen. Nearly 100 years before the arrival of modernist chefs like Ferran Adrià and Grant Achatz, the Futurists were laying the groundwork for the approach to cooking that has made today’s most innovative chefs famous.
As the movement applies to drink, the element of surprise formed the basis of Futurist Mixology. The cocktail was seen as a temporary creation meant to evoke discussion and challenge expectations in ways that still influence modern mixology. Long story short, you need to know about all of this.
We invite you to join us and Anfora on October 1st from 6 to 8 p.m. for an evening of oddball cocktails inspired by the Italian Futurists. Together, the editors of PUNCH and Joe Campanale have created a selection of unexpected cocktails that uphold the principles of the Futurists—the use of Italian ingredients, the embrace of the oddball—reimagined for the modern palate. Ticket price ($50) also includes an assortment of crostini, cured meats, cheese and more from Anfora. Find Tickets HERE. [Illustration: James Carpenter for PUNCH]