Jorge Conde, head bartender of Smoke & Mirrors in Singapore, shares his cocktail tribute to Pablo Piscasso. By Holly Graham.

I really wanted to create a cocktail that inspired by Pablo Picasso as a person, as opposed to just an artist, so I began researching his life and his Spanish roots. I discovered that Piscasso’s first word was piz, which is short for lápiz, the Spanish word for pencil, and made this the main driving factor of my drink.

I decide to sous vide cedar wood from a pencil in a neutral spirit, then vacuum distill that to create a pencil aroma. This woody smell is combined with a Manzanilla sherry from southern Spain, the same region Picasso was born in. Though he was further east than Sanlúcar de Barrameda – the home of Manzanilla sherry – it’s all south nonetheless. This solera wine brings dry and clean notes together with saline, nutty and marzipan flavours. 

Picasso’s Pencil 

A touch of mezcal from agave Tobalá – a single village mezcal – adds earthy and smoky notes, complemented by the bitter lemon flavours of oleo saccharum with a touch of refreshing tonic water and acidity from apple vinegar. I batch most of Smoke & Mirrors’ signature cocktails and age them in a glass solera system, which brings an extra note of complexity to every batch.

Recipe (Click to view)
Picasso’s Pencil by Jorge Conde