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all photos: Kimberly Cadena
all words: Svetlana

The idea of the Artini, as both a social and fund-raising event is almost genius: throughout the month of March, 12 of the city’s top mixologists create the most artistic martinis around. Literally: each artini is inspired by a work featured in the current Corcoran exhibition A Love of Europe: Highlights from the William A. Clark Collection, and offered them on special tasting nights during the month (20% of bar revenue on those nights going to benefit the Corcoran).

Then, on the last Saturday of March, the 1869 Society organizes the culminating ARTINI benefit, where the votes for the winning artini will be revealed.

The audience is engaged, it is great publicity for the mixologists and bars involved (especially the newcomers) and the philanthropic feel combined with the inevitable booziness of the event results in people feeling great about themselves and everyone around them.

March 27th being the last Saturday of this month, Kimberly and I took one for the BYT team, donned some party dresses and went to the gala to sample as many of the 12 cocktails that were created (dangerous), take the photos of all the beautiful and powerful people in their springtime best and dance to DJ Chris Nitti and Matthew Hemerlein’s music (which went from instrumental ad-libs early on to full-on 2010 prom music later in the night as everyone and their pretty dress screamed along to Madonna and Michael Jackson).

As always, the event was beautiful. Also, with this not being our first time at the Artini rodeo we knew to get their early, get the lay of the land, drink slowly and not finish every single drink (the obvious beginners mistake) but only the ones we felt particularly enamored with.

Some of our favorites included: Gina Chersevani (of PS7 and last year’s winner) absinthe cotton candy and lime play on Edgar Degas’ “The Dance Class”, Erik Holzherr (of Wisdom) sweet and savory take on “After the Church in the Fields”, Vannara Amnathvong (of J&G Steakhouse) updated Dark & Stormy (inspired by Daubigny’s “Sunset on The River”) as well as Art & Soul’s and Founding Farmers’ miniature works of imbibing art.

Justin Guthrie of POV (at W Hotel) won but I am sad to report we never even tried his drink because the whole cinnamon infused vodka, sugary vibe of the cocktail reminded us a little too much of every bad drink our forever-a go boyfriends tried to get us drunk on (in college). OBVIOUSLY, we were wrong and we apologize for it. Congratulations Justin.

P.S. For those into namedrops, in the photos below and at the party in general, we spotted: Sara Beth Walsh of National Gallery of Art, Fritz Hahn of The Going Out Gurus, the soon-to-be-departing web-editor of Washingtonian Catherine Andrews, Barbara Merola, Richard Dyer and Fletcher Gil of the 1869 Society, ReadySetDC Folks, Betsy Lowther of FW and Miss Spinach, Chandler of Not So Capitol Idea, Tony Cord’s amazing eyebrows, and, of course, the always lovely ladies of the Corcoran: Kristin Guiter (in a drop-dead red number she got from etsy and then reworked for maximum impact), Rachel Cothran and Diana Kaw.