Smoke & Mirrors


DRiNK Magazine - Behind the recipe: Jorge Conde’s Picasso’s Pencil

DRiNK Magazine - August 2019

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. 

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

This adapted article was originally published in Drink Magazine on August 24, 2019.