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Bartender's Sketchbook is the best thing we've seen on Instagram recently

Sneha Vakharia | Updated on: 27 November 2015, 17:54 IST

Stunning travel pictures on Instagram? Not new. Great food shots? Not new. Recipes? Not new. Themed series? Nope, not new.

The Bartender Sketchbook on Instagram? Nothing like we've seen before.

It's a little bit of everything, and a lot of something new. A series of watercolour paintings mixed with a dash of vacation goals. Add to that creative cocktail recipes, and a pinch of historical nuance.

What you end up with is a carefully-curated, visually stunning (and entirely free) recipe book of cocktails.

In some ways, she's doing the been there.

She's taking you to the Outback and to the Grand Canyon. To Pokhra in the Himalayas, and to rural Russia.

As far as Instagram goes, this is neither novel nor inventive.

We've seen the #FollowMeTo series a few times too many. As well as photographs by Beautiful Destinations, posts from Round the World Girl, every photograph Michael Brown has ever uploaded, and the man who calls himself Expert Vagabond.

But she's doing it in ways we haven't seen

It's a platform that lends itself to lavish shots, so the success of National Geographic, for instance, isn't particularly surprising.

What has been interesting to watch, though, is how a stellar roster of writers, essayists and artists are increasingly taking to Instagram rather than to books or even blogs to build narratives. But perhaps the most inspiring ideas are coming out of accounts like this one, blending the previously-unmixable love of sketching, bartending, travelling and social media into one heady cocktail.

She draws herself, concocts the recipes herself - often using ingredients special to the location she's depicting - and writes the accompanying descriptor, part travel guide, part memory keeper.

Read: Teju Cole's instagram feed just gave us a masterclass on human behaviour

She doesn't have a very large following - with two thousand odd accounts on Instagram and fewer than that on Facebook. And we don't know very much about her. What little we can deduce is from an emotionally charged facebook post where she explains that she works at a private equity firm in Ney York City. And that her sketches begans, and continue to serve, as a form of meditation.

But what is an emotional release for her, is a magical recipe book for the rest of us. Here are a few of her choicest posts:

01
From Russia

You'd expect a cocktail from Russia to be vodka-based. But let the Instagrammer surprise you.

With a cider made from honey.

"The history of the town (Suzdal) dates back to at least 1000 years ago. For centuries it functioned as the capital of several Russian principalities and a religious center with numerous monasteries. It has a remarkable ratio of churches to citizens: at one point, forty churches for four hundred families."

The beverage of choice in Russia is vodka, by far. Suzdal, however, is famous for another drink, medovukha, a Russian type of cider made from honey. Suzdal is a small town about 25 miles away from Moscow. The history of the town dates back to at least 1000 years ago. For centuries it functioned as the capital of several Russian principalities and a religious center with numerous monasteries. It has a remarkable ratio of churches to citizens: at one point, forty churches for four hundred families. Walking through the town, you might get the feeling that every third building is a church. Although having over ten thousand residents, Suzdal still retains a rural look with streams and meadows everywhere and chicken and livestock a common sight on the streets, some of which remain unpaved. This juxtaposition of stunning medieval architecture with its pastoral setting lends Suzdal a picturesque charm and in the summer artists and easels are a common sight. #watercolor #sketch #sketchbook #drawing #doodle #doodling #artist #art #artwork #mixology #mixologist #cocktails #drinkporn #recipe #drinks #russian #suzdal #vodka #cider #artoftheday #bartender #bartendersketchbook

A photo posted by The Sketchbook of a Bartender (@bartendersketchbook) on Sep 14, 2015 at 10:27pm PDT

02
From the Deep Blue

Here's a rum based concoction, and some questions about the creator to ponder while you drink.

"As you descending into the deep sea, the world becomes quiet. It leaves just yourself and the amazing natural images you see in front of you. You are feeling of absolute freedom as you are freed from gravity. You feel weightless as if you are flying. Then it's not just your body flying, you mind start to fly as well."

We've heard of drinks that have the same effect.

04
From Down Under

The architect behind the Sydney Opera House, Jorn Utzon, was publicly humiliated by Australian ministers for the rising costs of constructing the structure he had designed.

A few months before the completion of the project, he resigned, shut shop, and "vowed never to come back to Australia again". When the Opera House was inaugurated in 1973, he was not invited to the opening ceremony. Nor was he mentioned in any of the speeches.

Also read: From basement to world's biggest store - 20 facts about Amazon

The man will now go down in history as the architect of a World Heritage site. (There is only one other known name associated with the design of heritage sites.)

05
From the Philippines

A quick reminder that beach holidays could be about more than just the swimsuits and white sands.

"When you arrive in Boracay one of the first things you'll notice is the friendliness and openness of the local people. People greet you with a smile."€š

06
From Nepal

The woman behind the Bartender's Sketch Book lived in Nepal for three defining months. Pokhra never left her.

"The magic of Pohkara is you bare see any snow here in the city, however it's only 50km to three out of the ten highest mountains in the world: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu and it's the base for trekkers to Annapurna Circuit, mountaineers ultimate promised land and also the most challenge trekking trail on the earth."

Tequila isn't necessarily what you would associate with Nepal. So the bartender's sketchbook added in a glass of chai.

08
From Hong Kong

She writes of holiday nostalgia, alongside her own recipe for a Lichi Martini:

"The trip to Hongkong was my first time traveling abroad solo. I was in the age of 13 (.) I had a lot of firsts. My first time dim sum, first durian, first 3D movie, first time seeing dolphins and most importantly, my first time experiencing another culture."

And a drink to memorable firsts:

The trip to Hongkong was my first time traveling abroad solo. I was in the age of 13. I distinctly remember it being an amazing yet profound traveling experience. I had a lot of firsts. My first time dim sum, first durian, first 3D movie, first time seeing dolphins and most importantly, my first time experiencing another culture. It was a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Till now I still remember that mixed emotions, the feeling of butterflies in the stomach, exhilaration and anticipation. It was like opening a cave of wonders and when you come out, you are changed forever and the world is scrolling out in front of your eyes, no turning back. Sometimes I feel like I am really a lucky kid. I am grateful for the support, trust and freedom my parents always give to me when I attempt something new. Most time my choice may not be theirs, but they respect my pursuit nonetheless even though sometimes those pursuits are selfish. They rejoice for every of my success and encourage me to stand up from every of my failure. I never hear my parents say " I love you" to me. However they taught me that unconditional love is not about what you say, it's only about what you do.#watercolor #hongkong #martini #wanderlust #travel #cocktails #drinks #drink #bar #asian #mixology #mixologist #recipe #drinkporn #foodporn #art #artist #sketch #sketchbook #doodle #painting #drawing #bartenders #bartendersketchbook #artoftheday

A photo posted by The Sketchbook of a Bartender (@bartendersketchbook) on Oct 20, 2015 at 7:58pm PDT

10
From Paradise

She writes of magic.

"In the border of Arizona and Utah, there is a magic place called Antelope Canyon. It's just a normal sandstone cave in most normal days, however when light beams start to peek into the canyon in every spring, the cave demonstrates various magnificent and mysterious colours by the moving of direct sunlight. And it becomes the paradise of photographers and attractions for people from all over the world."

The canyon, the sketch, or the cocktail. We don't know which we like best.

Read more: Heat & Dust: meet the couple who travelled India @500 a day

First published: 27 November 2015, 17:54 IST
 
Sneha Vakharia @sneha_vakharia

A Beyonce-loving feminist who writes about literature and lifestyle at Catch, Sneha is a fan of limericks, sonnets, pantoums and anything that rhymes. She loves economics and music, and has found a happy profession in neither. When not being consumed by the great novels of drama and tragedy, she pays the world back with poems of nostalgia, journals of heartbreak and critiques of the comfortable.

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