At the forefront of cocktail innovation, drinks stop even looking like drinks anymore. They resemble pieces of art, or bowls of food, or science experiments. While showing up to a bar serving confusing, modern art-like drinks might be more stressful than enjoyable, gawking at those same cocktail creations on Instagram is a fun way to admire cocktail innovators—without having to actually deconstruct an over-the-top cocktail before you can even drink it, as if you were disarming a bomb. Don’t quite follow? Here, these eight Instagram accounts for crazy artistic cocktails will show you exactly what we mean.
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Driven by Grant Achatz’s gastronomic wonders in the kitchen at Alinea, the famed Chicago restaurant’s bar, The Aviary, has developed a reputation as the go-to molecular cocktail destination. While the bar doesn’t have its own account, drinks from The Aviary—especially their awe-inspiring porthole infusions—constantly pop up on the Alinea Group feed, fitting in neatly among the edible science projects.
Aki Wang is considered the godfather of the Taiwanese cocktail scene, an appellation that may not mean much to Western drinkers—that is until they see his breathtaking boozy art on display. Dry ice is a common feature in many of his drinks, as are sculptural pieces of glassware and flowery garnishes that draw on natural ingredients.
The Walker Inn
The omakase-style cocktail flight at The Walker Inn is best experienced in person where several drinks take you on a complete cocktail journey, but you can still marvel at the ingenuity of individual creations through the hidden bar’s Insta feed. Taking inspiration for rotating thematic menus from the Pacific Coast Highway, global ecospheres and even In-N-Out, the bar puts a lot of time into their wondrous presentations for their cocktail creations.
This London speakeasy often appears on roundups of the world’s best bars, and that’s thanks in part to their insane, over-the-top garnish game. Many drinks resemble vegetable bowls, English desserts or even savory, mushroom-strewn soup, all of which make for a weird and wonderful Insta feed.
Anvar Iskandarov (U Afanasicha, Kazakhstan)
If you knew there was a high-end molecular cocktail bar in Kazakhstan, you were way ahead of us, until we discovered Anvar Iskandarov’s feed and caught on to the trippy cocktail art he’s making at U Afanasicha in Almaty. Unless you’re fluent in Russian, you won’t be able to read any of Iskandarov’s descriptions (without the help of Google Translate), but every picture of a boozy stone garden or behatted Easter Island tiki drink is worth a thousand words.
Hidden Harbor, Pittsburgh
Tiki bars are often stuck in the past, evoking the mid-century styles of Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber, but Hidden Harbor looks forward to the future of Polynesian drinking with their Weird Science Wednesdays. Past technologic-meets-tiki creations include boozy Dippin’ Dots, a cotton candy-garnished Swizzle and a dry ice-punched Strawberry Daiquiri.
Josue Romero, bartender at Odd Birds in St. Augustine, Florida, has made garnishes his forte, and he proves it through his Instagram handle. Constantly churning out eye-catching beverages, Romero has featured drinks served in tea canisters, sea shells and gas tanks, but our favorite posts involve his affinity for small figurines hanging out around his cocktails.
Club Deco, Milan
Club Deco may exude a stylish art deco vibe, but the bar’s cocktails are anything but passé. Cocktails in beakers are not a rare sight at the Italian bar, but some drinks are even more mysterious, like the appropriately named Area 51 that looks like something not of this world. The bar’s feed provides a good mix of the trendy Italian crowd that frequents the bar and the venue’s oddball creations.