There’s basically nothing not to love about Significant Objects, Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn’s ongoing literary project examining the connections between tchotchkes, storytelling, and “the effect of narrative on any given object’s subjective value.” Like Fire has long championed their cause—not only do they partner up with cool enterprises such as Electric Literature, Underwater New York, and Cabinet magazine, but they raise money for good causes like 826 National and Girls Write Now. Plus there’s a brand new Significant Objects book—their third—just out from Fantagraphics.
So I was very disappointed to have missed their most recent event on July 11: Significant Cocktails, sponsored by the School of Visual Arts’ Products of Design MFA program and eBay. The point of the evening was to push the Significant Objects mythmaking thesis into the realm of cocktails, and to this end three professional mixologists were on hand to find inspiration in throwaway knick-knacks. The participants—Martim Smith-Mattsoon, Michael J. Cirino, and Lynette Marrero—found their respective muses in a stamped metal gun necklace, a vaguely scary grinning-head bottle stopper, and a matching pair of toy cars. The resultant drinks, titled the Trinket Gimlet, the Temporomandibular, and the Malibu Beach, made use of ingredients every bit as eclectic as their inspirations, from Goslings Black Seal Rum to buttered popcorn. I can’t vouch for the cocktails’ tastiness, but if the Flickr set is any indication, they did the trick. I’m personally of the opinion that tapioca pearls have no place anywhere in the natural world unless you’re trying to encourage frogs to spawn, but hey, that’s what makes horse races. Or mixed drinks.
If you’re looking to pair up some drinks and literature, there are plenty of easy pickings that will get you where you want to go. But to make up the stories and mix the drinks all in one motion—now that goes beyond just shaking and stirring into a whole new level of synesthesia. I know plenty of people who are inspired to drink by the thought of writing alone. Having to write the story first and then drink about it is some real alchemy.