Jill met her future husband, Dale DeGroff, in Hollywood back when he was a struggling actor tending bar on the side. She’s been a witness to the career of the man who would become King Cocktail, not to mention the evolution of the craft bartending movement that he helped pioneer. Lush Life: Portraits From the Bar is Jill’s tribute to her husband and his fellow cocktailians. The artist’s whimsical caricatures of bartenders, brand ambassadors, and other boozy characters have the happy, hazy feel of a world gone, well, tipsy. And the snippets collected from her subjects offer a glimpse into this socially lubricated scene of drink slingers and sippers — from Pegu Club owner Audrey Saunders’s recollection of asking her mentor, Dale, “What’s a Pegu Club?” to King Cole Bar’s Kwaku Nyampong’s recipe for his signature King’s Passion cocktail. In the tradition of Ralph Steadman’s The Grapes of Ralph, Lush Life is what you want to peruse as you proceed to wet your whistle.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 14, 2009