Cocktails with a Curator: Laurana's "Bust of a Woman"

April 2, 2021

This week, Assistant Curator Giulio Dalvit celebrates the 50th episode of Cocktails with a Curator by considering a marble bust by the fifteenth-century artist Francesco Laurana. The bust has no wrinkles or defects and almost seems composed not of flesh but of perfect geometrical shapes. While some have suggested it is an ideal portrait of feminine beauty, it is traditionally identified with the Italian noblewoman Ippolita Maria Sforza or with her daughter, Isabella of Aragon, Duchess of Milan. Look for this enigmatic sculpture in a gallery on the third floor of Frick Madison showcasing three exceedingly rare portrait busts of the Italian Renaissance. In recognition of Laurana’s birthplace, this week’s complementary cocktail is the black pepper-infused Dalmatian.

Cocktail Recipe


1 1/2 oz. Vodka
3 oz. Grapefruit juice
1 1/2 oz. Black pepper simple syrup
Plenty of ice
Combine with ice in a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously
Strain into ice-filled glass

For the black pepper simple syrup (makes 1 1/2 cups):
1/4 cup crushed peppercorns
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine in a small pot
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved
Remove from heat
For a more robust flavor, allow mixture to steep for a few minutes
Strain and chill

Audiences under 21 are encouraged to join with a non-alcoholic drink.


Rosemary Grapefruit Mocktail (makes 6 cups)

1 1/2 cups Grapefruit juice
3–4 cups Club soda
1 cup Rosemary simple syrup
Combine in pitcher
Serve over ice
Garnish with rosemary sprigs and a slice of grapefruit if it strikes your fancy

For the rosemary simple syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3–4 rosemary sprigs
Combine water and sugar in a small pot
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved
Remove from heat, add rosemary
Cover pot and allow ingredients to get better acquainted for 30 minutes




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